Shepherd to play Stewart in sequel

March 25, 2005|by

Cybill Shepherd, who played Martha Stewart in an NBC movie two years ago, will play the recently paroled lifestyle doyenne again - at a different network.

CBS has approved production on a movie currently called "Martha," which will chronicle the events that led to Stewart's imprisonment on obstruction-of-justice charges, her time in the joint and her release, which happened only three weeks ago. It could be ready to go by May sweeps.

Shepherd played Stewart in NBC's "Martha, Inc." in May 2003, while Stewart was under investigation for her dumping of shares in a biotech firm called ImClone just before its price fell through the floor in December 2001. The movie - which was made while Stewart's syndicated show was still being distributed by CBS parent Viacom - chronicled her rise from a Connecticut caterer to the billionaire head of a media empire.

The CBS movie - which comes at a time when Stewart has signed with NBC Universal to star in an "Apprentice" spin-off and a new daytime show - picks up more or less where "Martha Inc." left off. It opens with Shepherd-as-Stewart celebrating her company going public, then delves into her court case and subsequent five-month incarceration.

'Hell's Kitchen' to air May 30 on Fox

Less than week after the 2004-05 television season officially ends, Fox will begin its summertime programming with the unscripted series "Hell's Kitchen."

The show, in which renowned Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay puts 12 would-be chefs through a culinary boot camp, will debut at 9 p.m. May 30 - five days after May sweeps and the '04-'05 season come to a close. Fox remains committed to offering new shows year-round, though, and "Hell's Kitchen" will fill that bill this summer.

"Hell's Kitchen" is based on a British show of the same name, which drew strong ratings due in part to Ramsay's tempestuous personality.

The dozen contestants in the Fox show have varying degrees of kitchen experience - some in restaurants, some as home cooks. They'll all be working in the kitchen of a yet-to-open Los Angeles restaurant, with Ramsay paring down the field week by week until only one cook is left.

The winner will get a shot at running his or her own restaurant.

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