TV Bulletin Board (April 1)
By ED BARK
No, these are not April Fool's jokes. Honest.
Ray Romano will star in Men of A Certain Age, a one-hour drama pilot ordered by TNT.
The former Everybody Loves Raymond star wrote the pilot script with former Raymond co-executive producer Mike Royce.
"Mike and I have always had success writing what we know," Romano said in a TNT news release. "What we know now is that we're middle-aged, neurotic and fat."
Romano plays what's described as "a friendly, 40-something, slightly neurotic, divorced father of two who had dreams of being a professional golfer but instead owns and runs a party store."
In 2006 Romano had a comedy series in development for HBO in which he played a fortysomething billionaire with six months to live. But that one never flew.
Former Raymond co-star Brad Garrett and Romano are scheduled to appear on April 10th at the Nokia Theatre in Grand Prairie, TX.
***NBC has signed Kathie Lee Gifford to co-host the so far little-watched fourth hour of Today. She'll team with incumbent Hoda Kolb.
The former Live with Regis & Kathie Lee co-star says she's "especially looking forward to working with Hoda, a bright and beautiful woman I admire very much." Arrrrgh.
***ABC's just-announced summer prime-time schedule will be loaded with reality and game series, including the return of The Mole on May 26th with new host Jon Kelley (Baseball Today).
Also on the grill are Dance Machine (June 27), I Survived a Japanese Game Show (June 24), High School Musical: Summer Session (July 20) and Wipeout (June 24), in which 24 contenders "compete on an extreme obstacle course designed to provide the most crashes, face plants, impacts and wipe outs ever seen on television." It always pays to aim high.
ABC also has an earlier startup for The Bachelorette, with DeAnna Pappas hoping to regroup after enduring a "painful, last-minute rejection" last season by Austin bar owner Brad Womack. It starts on May 19th.
Somehow trying to fit in amid all this is the six-part ABC News series Hopkins (June 26), a sequel to its Hopkins 24/7 series from eight years back.