Scott Pierce: Celebrity 'Trading'

Published: Thursday, April 10 2003 12:00 a.m. MDT

TLC's remarkably popular (and highly addictive) redecorating show, "Trading Spaces," will go the celebrity route on Sunday.

First up (9 p.m.) is a repeat featuring Dixie Chick Natalie Maines (before she got herself in trouble with that comment about President Bush).

Then (at 10 p.m.) "Less Than Perfect" stars Sara Rue and Andy Dick redecorate a room in each other's homes with the help of designers Vern Yip (yippee!) and Genevieve Gorder (another fave).

Finally (at 11 p.m.), "Trading Spaces" goes to "7th Heaven." Jessica Biel and Beverly Mitchell (who play sisters Mary and Lucy Camden) work on the apartment of real-life brothers Geoff and George Stults (who play brothers Ben and Kevin Kinkirk), while the Stults work on a game room in Mitchell's house. The bad news is that the women will be working with designer Hildi Santo-Tomas — who no sane person would ever let into their home — and the guys will be working with Edward Walker, who's not as scary as Santo-Tomas, but he's no Vern.

STARS IN THEIR EYES: Well, here's a surprise — another one of those "reality show" contestants who insisted he didn't have show-biz aspirations has taken a show-biz job.

Charlie Maher, who was the last guy rejected by Trista Rehn on "The Bachelorette," will be a correspondent for the tabloid entertainment/news show "Extra," covering celebrity doings in a recurring segment titled "Hollywood Nights." He's no doubt qualified for this gig by virtue of the fact that he was a financial adviser who got his 15 minutes of fame by almost winning Trista's heart.

"Extra's" senior executive producer, Lisa Gregorisch-Dempsey — who, by the way, was once the news director at KSTU-Ch. 13 right here in Salt Lake City — issued a statement that, "Trista wasn't the only one being charmed by Charlie — America was. Now audiences can see him use his charisma on celebrities."

That sounds just . . . icky.

FIREFLYING: There may be a bit of good news for fans of the late, lamented and woefully short-lived series "Firefly" — Fox isn't officially confirming this, but there are reports that the studio is going to release the episodes on DVD in the next few months. And that the DVD will include the episodes that never aired.

Joss Whedon's outer-space series had a bit of a bumpy start creatively, but was in the process of becoming a superior series — like his "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel" — when Fox network programmers pulled the plug. "Firefly" was shopped to other outlets (including the Sci Fi Channel), but nobody bought it.

Whedon hasn't forgotten the cast of "Firefly," however. Gina Torres, who played first officer Zoe Warren, is now on "Angel" playing, well, the new big-bad. And Nathan Fillion, who played Capt. Mal Reynolds, begins a run on "Buffy" next week as a really evil character — the new chief minion of the big-bad on that show.

STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT: Word is that Elizabeth Smart's story is no longer the top priority among those seeking to TV movie-ize real-life drama. The current hot story is that of Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old Army private who was rescued from her Iraqi captors and is currently recovering from her wounds and injuries.

Don't be surprised when hers is just one of a slew of war-in-Iraq projects that make their way to various TV channels in the next few months.

WHOOPS: On Tuesday, yours truly referred to the new FX series "Lucky" as an "hourlong drama series." Actually, as I well know, it's a half-hour series that aired twice in a row that night.

As to calling it a "drama" instead of a "comedy/drama," well, sorry, but I just didn't think it was funny.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com