The Ashlee Simpson Show, MTV, JUNE 16, 10:30 P.M.
Ashlee Simpson may be recording an album and starring in an MTV reality show, but she wants to clarify one thing: She is NOT copying her older sister. ”The show is about making a record, not being married,” says Jessica Simpson’s 19-year-old sibling. ”We’re in different places.” The series follows Ashlee as she makes the transition from actress (on The WB’s ”7th Heaven”) to singer – signing a deal with Geffen Records, writing songs, and cutting her teeth in the recording studio. The requisite conflict comes as Ashlee clashes with record execs over the album, which she says is influenced by Blondie and Pat Benatar but has ”a pop element.” There’s also some made-for-TV teen angst thrown in when Ashlee and her boyfriend of two years, an aspiring actor named Josh, break up – and she uses it for lyric fodder. ”Even when I’m 30 I’ll look back and remember my first love,” she says. ”And now it’s on tape.”
The Graham Norton Effect, COMEDY CENTRAL, JUNE 24, 10 P.M.
Erotic toys, naughty websites, deafeningly loud suits: These are the tools of British chat-show host Graham Norton. Now the openly gay star of England’s ”So Graham Norton” is bringing his saucy sensibility Stateside for a weekly New York City-based talk show. ”The interviews are rubbish,” declares the motormouthed Norton. ”But what’s interesting is – because we keep our [celeb] guests for all our comedy bits – learning how they react to things.” In the U.K., Norton’s interviews have resulted in such priceless scenarios as Shirley MacLaine picking out the gays from the straights while watching footage of men running on a beach (”She was so good,” Norton marvels. ”She even spotted a bisexual!”) or Elijah Wood helping reenact Norton’s failed ”Lord of the Rings” audition. Still, he cites one dream guest for his American show (which begins production in late June) who would likely upstage his antics. ”I’d love to have Madonna,” he says, ”but the Madonna I want is from about six years ago…. Kabbalah – how dull does that sound?”
Good Girls Don’t, OXYGEN, JUNE 4, 9 P.M.
The new ”Friends” it ain’t. L.A. roommates Marjorie (”The Wedding Planner”’s Bree Turner) and Jane (”Not Another Teen Movie”’s Joy Gohring) drink too much, smoke too much, and sleep with all the wrong people. It’s about time. ”Good Girls Don’t” is the newest offering from Claudia Lonow, whose Showtime series about a has-been party girl, ”Rude Awakening,” was largely autobiographical. ”I have a real affection for flawed people,” says Lonow. ”I think they’re heroic.” If there’s a breakout character, it’s Jane, a slutty blonde who nevertheless manages to steer clear of stereotype. ”How many whores are there on TV?” Lonow asks. ”SOOO many…[but] Jane is grandiose. She feels great about herself even though people roll their eyes.” The yin to Jane’s yang is Marjorie, a serial-monogamist schoolteacher who tries to boost Jane’s self-esteem but instead inadvertently turns her into a man-eater. It’s a loving, supportive, toxic friendship that Lonow feels is best explored on cable: ”There’s no [other] place where they make jokes about chlamydia.”