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Mike Huckabee Spells Out Designs for His New Show

Keith Richards and Mike Huckabee? Well, that's what the former Arkansas Governor cum Fox News personality would like to see. He tells us that the Rolling Stones guitar legend is at the top of his list of dream guests for his new daily "The Huckabee Show" that begins its six-week test run July 26 on seven Fox stations.

"If you can get that to happen, you get to be executive producer of the show," declares Huckabee, who moonlights as a bass player with his Capitol Offense band. As far as political figures? "I've met most of the politicians in the country. I would hardly consider any of them dream guests," he says.

Huckabee's new show will be seen in New York, Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa and Minneapolis-Saint Paul — with prospects for a full network debut as early as the beginning of next year. The once and potentially future presidential candidate, whose modus operandi precludes the strident contentiousness common among cable news personalities, says he'll focus on issues with an emphasis on understanding and solutions.

"I have very strong clarion views on tough topics, but I respect people who have different views," he stresses. "When I have discussions with people who don't agree with me, that gives me traction to increase my understanding."

Such was the case, according to Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, when he debated gay adoption with lesbian mom Rosie O'Donnell on her radio show. "It was a good conversation," he maintains. "Obviously, when it concluded, neither of us changed each other's mind. It's a delicate, touchy subject. The net result is, she still disagrees with me, probably thinks I'm a Neanderthal. But we were not yelling and screaming at each other.

"I had Bill Maher on my show. I can't think of anyone I disagree with more, and it was one of the better segments I've had. It was interesting to find out why he has such contempt for religion. I didn't feel I had to argue with him. I consider my audience intelligent and mature enough to form their own conclusions."

Is having a daily show part of a master plan for his possible 2012 bid for the White House?

"My master plan is just to get up tomorrow morning and do a good job," Huckabee insists. "And it's to take the good opportunities when they come. This is one that I could not walk away from."

NEW MEDIA FIELD DAY: Unlike some of his colleagues in the music world, country heartthrob Blake Shelton says he has a lot of fun with the marketing and promotion aspect of his career, and it shows. Actually, "I have a lot of fun wherever I go," he lets us know.

That includes being one of the most interactive of all the acts jockeying for position on the Internet. Shelton, known for being such an inveterate Twitter user he had to wean himself off the social networking site for a while to focus on the rest of his life, is currently serving as judge of a contest in which fans are calling and e-mailing in their best pickup lines. It's a tie-in to his latest single, "All About Tonight." He's also seen on his blakeshelton.com website humorously riffing in "Take 6 Tuesday" videos (such as "Top 6 Country Haircuts"). The site features choices of "bundles" (note the computerish word) for those who advance order his August-release Reprise "six pak" album, also titled "All About Tonight." This is the site that previously offered users the chance to send Shelton "Kiss My Country A—" video e-mails to a variety of their non-friends.

Mixing it up and being flexible has worked well for Shelton, who took a gamble with his first "six pak" album — a collection of six songs sold at a lower price than a regular CD — and won. "Hillbilly Bone" was released earlier this year and debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top 200 chart and No. 2 on the Top Country Albums Chart.

"Obviously, it was a success for us. It exceeded what our goals were for it," he says. "But there are things we can do better."

THE VIDEOLAND VIEW: Just when you thought all the good superhero abilities had been covered, Fox comes up with a pilot for a series entitled "Three Inches" — no snickering — which has to do with a guy who is hit by lightning and gains the ability to move any object 3 inches with his mind. He's soon snatched by a team of superheroes who want him to join their very special forces. They include Mood Swing, a gal who has the power to shape the emotions of anyone she meets. Casting is under way.

SEEING STARS: Cuba Gooding Jr., Saul Rubinek, Tia Carrere and Eddie McClintock were seen on the same flight from L.A. to Toronto, in first class, of course. With all the series folk based in Hollywood and shooting in Canada, the route is a fertile place for celebrity sightings.

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.


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