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TV News Briefs: Sober Gibson Apologizes, Discusses Alcoholism

Zap2it.com

"It was just the stupid ramblings of a drunkard."

Mel Gibson finally comes face to face with the public on "Good Morning America" Thursday about his anti-Semitic remarks he made when he was arrested for drunk driving in July.

In a partial transcript and video provided by ABC, the filmmaker once again apologizes for his July 28 comments to the officer who arrested him: "The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world," and asked him, "Are you a Jew?"

"This is the last thing I want to be is that kind of monster," he tells "GMA's" Diane Sawyer.

Gibson acknowledges that many people would probably refuse to work with him because of those comments and adds, "Um, and it's their choice. There's nothing I can do about that ... What I need to do to heal myself and to be assuring and to allay the fears of others and to heal them if they've had any heart wounds from anything I said."

Even though Gibson is taking responsibility for his anti-Semitic remarks, he's also blaming his alcoholism for the incident.

"Years go by, you're fine," he says. "And then all of a sudden in a heartbeat, in an instant, on an impulse, somebody shoves a glass of Mescal in front of your nose and says, `It's from Oaxaca.' And it's burning its way through your esophagus and you go, `Oh man, what did I do that for? I can't put the toothpaste back in the tube.'"

Gibson has had a history with drinking problems and said he began drinking again two months before that fateful arrest. Since then, he's been dry for 65 days.

The full interview will air on Thursday and Friday morning on ABC.

___

`ANATOMY' STUDS GET MCPUNCHY

"Grey's Anatomy" began with two surgeons vying for a promotion, and it appears that their has rivalry bled over to the real world.

Patrick Dempsey and Isaiah Washington - who play Dr. Derek "McDreamy" Shepherd and Dr. Preston Burke, respectively - got into an argument that nearly became physical on set Monday, report various news sources.

"We were like two baseball players ... nose-to-nose," Washington tells People. "We had a difference of opinions while working on set but we've resolved it." They were reportedly arguing about "time and (keeping) the production going. The communication was lost in translation."

Luckily, the services of plastic surgeon McSteamy weren't needed since it didn't come to blows.

"Our faces are too beautiful for that," says Washington, who observed after a script read-through, "I've never been that close to (Patrick) before. He has really pretty blue eyes."

This happy picture is a lot more benign than the account reported by the New York Daily News' Rush & Molloy and the National Enquirer. That story has Washington grousing about having to wait around on set and then saying "something mean" to actor T.R. Knight (who plays intern George) when Dempsey came to his co-star's defense. Washington then allegedly grabbed Dempsey by the throat and shoved him a few feet.

The tabloid's unidentified source says that the scuffle was a long time in coming, since Washington is supposedly jealous of Dempsey's "McDreamy" magazine cover status.

"There was an argument on set. In any close-knit family, sometimes people argue," says Dempsey's rep. "But everybody made up and went back to work."

___

ABC MAKES OVER FRIDAYS WITH `EXTREME'

ABC is bringing back the original "Extreme Makeover" on Friday nights, starting next week.

It's a classic story with near-Shakespearean overtones: Once upon a time there was a heart-warming story of plastic surgery and personal alteration that drew decent audiences. The network took that series and spun it off into a similar show about making over homes (and families or communities) to a similar extreme. In no time at all, the spin-off had surpassed and usurped the original and soon there came a generation that knew only "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and had no memories of a simple "Extreme Makeover."

ABC aims to correct that lapse and perhaps return "EM" to its rightful throne, starting Oct. 20, when "Extreme Makeover" moves into the 8 p.m. ET time slot currently occupied by repeats of "Grey's Anatomy."

The following week, "Extreme Makeover" will go back on the shelf, as ABC airs a 40th anniversary version of "It's a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," complete with the bonus cartoon "You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown."

"Extreme Makeover" will return Nov. 3 and the show is expected to continue airing through the November sweeps period, leading into the freshman drama "Men in Trees."

The Friday night limbo was caused by ABC's pre-season decision to move "Ugly Betty" from Friday nights to the more competitive Thursday 8 p.m. slot where it has thrived.

___

HBO REMAINS DYED IN THE WUHL

Granted that "Arli$$" is often used as a punchline, HBO remembers the years of solid viewership and wants to stay in business with Robert Wuhl.

The premium cable giant have given Wuhl a three-year exclusive development deal, extending their previous arrangement. The new pact will include a follow-up to Wuhl's special "Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl." It probably won't include any new seasons of "Arli$$."

"I'm thrilled that HBO has decided to continue with `Assume the Position,'" says Wuhl. "It was one of the most well-received projects I've ever been involved with, and could only have been done on HBO. The network has been my home for most of my career, and I'm grateful and excited to continue my long relationship with them."

The first "Assume the Position" premiered in April and featured the "Batman" and "Cobb" co-star giving his take on American history. Wuhl will write, produce and perform a second special in the same vein for a 2007 premiere.

"A multi-talent like Robert is a perfect fit for HBO, where we can collaborate in many different ways," says Nancy Geller, HBO's senior vice president of original programming. "'Arli$$' was a huge success for HBO, and we look forward to a continued partnership with him."

Wuhl, a two-time Emmy winner, created and starred in the sports agent comedy "Arli$$," which ran on HBO from 1996 to 2002.

___

WILL SMITH BRINGS DRAMA TO CBS

"Smith," the series, may be dead, but that doesn't mean CBS can't seek out a new show from Smith, Will.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, CBS has given a put pilot commitment to a medical drama from Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. The show, set at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be produced through Smith's Overbrook Entertainment shingle and CBS Paramount Network TV.

Smith and Pinkett Smith came up with the initial premise and will produce the series along with Jan Nash and Jennifer Levin ("Without a Trace"). Naturally, the show will revolve around a group of CDC docs who fight all manner of terrifying infectious diseases.

The first series effort for Overbrook was "All of Us," which recently moved from UPN to The CW for its fourth season.

___

© 2006, Zap2it.com. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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