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Walton Recalls Old Daze With Coach Wooden

Hordes of hoops fans may be tuning into the NCAA basketball tournament, but many traditionalists still long for a time when the game was about fundamentals and teamwork—not the dazzling aerial feats and post-slam-dunk preening of today.

With March Madness in full swing, that contrast is perfectly captured byThe UCLA Dynasty. TheHBO Sports documentary, which premieres March 26, chronicles the teams that won an unprecedented 10 NCAA titles between 1964 and '75 under legendary coach John Wooden.

At a screening last week on the UCLA campus, former Bruin center Bill Walton spoke reverentially about Wooden's teachings, even though he didn't always understand them at the time.

“Coach Wooden never talked about basketball. He always talked about life, and I didn't understand it. We thought he was nuts,” says Walton, who went on to star in the NBA and now analyzes the league for ESPN. “Showing us how to put our shoes and socks on and saying things like 'Happiness begins where selfishness ends'? We were 18; none of that made any sense.”

And the 6´11" Walton is still scratching his head over Wooden's adage that basketball is not a game of size and strength: “If it's not about size and strength, how come Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar] has all the records, [Shaquille O'Neal] has all the money, and Wilt [Chamberlain] had 20,000 girlfriends?”

A Room For Review

In the latest instance of reverse platform migration,a new feature on HGTV's Website looks to be headed for good old TV.

Launched last month by the home-and-garden network, “Rate My Room” invites amateur home decorators to submit photos of their handiwork for online appraisal by fellow home-décor enthusiasts.

In just three weeks, the site received thousands of photos, some of which got more than 100,000 views. And although the majority of the comments have been kind, one poster advised the decorator of a bedroom titled “Chocolate Dreams” to “dump the ribbon on the mirro [sic] this is not versaills [sic].”

HGTV President Judy Girard told us at the network's recent upfront presentation that the response has far exceeded expectations and that a TV series is in the offing. The network has already put out a casting call for a star designer with plans to shoot in late April.

For the amateur decorator given the lowest marks, the series will likely provide a professional makeover.

Remarking on the overwhelming response, Girard quipped, “People love to show you pictures of their homes.”

Lifetime Show Plames Out

The story of outed CIA operativeValerie Plame may still have legs in Hollywood, but don't look for it to show up on theLifetimenetwork anytime soon.

Long before Plame and her husband, former ambassador and Bush administration criticJoseph Wilson, signed withWarner Bros. for a film about the administration's leaking of her identity, Lifetime began developing a series inspired by the couple.

Conceived and written bySex and the CityscribeAmy Harris, The Honorable and Mrs. used the Plame story as a jumping- off point for a series about a CIA agent whose cover is posing as the wife of the United Nations ambassador.

Lifetime touted the series a year ago when it unveiled its development slate.

What with former vice-presidential aideScooter Libby convicted earlier this month for perjury and obstructing the leak investigation—and Plame herself testifying before Congress—we figured this was a propitious moment for the Lifetime series. Alas, it is not to be.

Harris was unavailable to comment, but according to sources at Lifetime andFox Television Studios, which was slated to produce the series, the show never got beyond the script stage.

Apparently, it never got beyond a partial script, and, according to a Fox source, the studio was unaware of the Plame connection.

No partisan funny business is suspected, of course. But we're certain Karl Rove had something to do with it.

With Ben Grossman, P.J. Bednarski and Jim Benson