HOLLYWOOD

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Wendy Williams

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HOLLYWOOD — Welcome to “Fantasy Island.” Television is overrun with inane reality shows (most of them scripted) that are anything but reality, and our movie screens are filled with escapist superhero dramas. There was a time when comedies were filled with humor — not just sexual innuendo — and drama shows were about relationships, not just cops, robbers, DNA, whodunit or how?

The “Housewives of …” series have untold cities to go through, as do “CSI,” “NCIS,” “Law & Order,” etc. Small wonder that a show like “Downton Abbey” seems like a breath of fresh air amongst all the debris in TV’s vast wasteland. We were sure television producers were trying to drive us back into movie theaters, but when we got there all we found was total escapism.

Already we’ve had “Oblivion,” “G.I. Joe Retaliation,” “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek Into Darkness,” and upcoming we can expect “After Earth” (May 31), “Man of Steel” (June 14), “World War Z” (June 21), “The Lone Ranger” (July 3), “Pacific Rim” (July 12), “R.I.P.D.” (July 19), “The Wolverine” (July 26), “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” (Aug. 7), “Elysium” (Aug. 29), “Thor: The Dark World” (Nov. 8) and a sequel of “Spawn.”

Where are the classic shows like “I Love Lucy,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Golden Girls,” or epic films like “Gone With the Wind,” “The Ten Commandments,” “Ben Hur” and “My Fair Lady”? Do all movies have to be in 3D to get us away from our computers and big-screen TVs?
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Despite the 2002 Best Picture Oscar for the film version, Broadway producers of “Chicago” have kept their show running by constantly adding big names to the show for short runs. The latest star signed is talk-show host and “Dancing With the Stars” celebrity Wendy Williams, who will start her run June 25. Brooke Shields, a former headliner of the show, will direct “Chicago” at the Hollywood Bowl July 26-28. No cast has yet been named.
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The 1955 film “Guys and Dolls,” which starred Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Jean Simmons (of “Spartacus”), is headed for a remake at 20th Century Fox Studios. Let’s see … how about George Clooney, Michael Buble and Britney Spears? LOL.

Also, this summer, NBCUniversal is tearing down The Gibson Amphitheater and Curious George Playland to make room for “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” theme park at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The project will cost $500 million.

Seems you can’t win because the only way you can get back to reality is to watch the evening news … but then, right after that, you’re begging for escapism again!

© 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.

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