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With P.J. Bednarski, Glen Dickson and Anne Becker

CBS’ Dozier Ready To Go Iran

I’m not ready to go back to Iraq,” says Kimberly Dozier, the CBS News correspondent who was gravely injured a year ago in a car bombing in Baghdad. But Afghanistan, where a resurgent Taliban has posed a continuing security threat? That’s different.

“Oh, I’d love to go back to Afghanistan,” she says. “In a heartbeat!”

Dozier, looking remarkably well and full of life, was on hand for a screening of Flashpoint, a CBS News documentary that follows her recovery but largely focuses (at her insistence) on the stories of those killed in the blast: cameraman Paul Douglas, soundman James Brolan, Army Capt. James Alex Funkhouser and his Iraqi interpreter. (It airs May 29, the anniversary of the incident.)

Although returning to Iraq is a non-starter, Dozier is anxious to get back to reporting from the Middle East, where she spent much of her youth, thanks to her father’s job as an overseas construction worker.

“I was in Iran for the ’78-’79 revolution,” she recalls. “I love that place! We didn’t want to leave so we actually missed all the commercial flights out because we were just hoping that this little revolution would go away.”

Listening to Dozier reminisce about the “riots in the local square after curfew” and how she and her sister “used to listen to gunfire in the distance,” it’s easy to see what drew her to the life of a foreign correspondent in the turbulent Middle East.

“Our school bus got hit with bricks,” she recalls. “I thought it was terribly exciting.”

Time’s Up

When Jordin Sparks was crowned winner on last week’s American Idol finale at 10:03 p.m. ET, millions who waited to watch on their digital-video recorders (DVR) learned the hard way what sports fans and awards-show devotees have known for years: live programming sometimes runs long.

Viewers whose DVRs promptly clicked off at 10 griped on Internet message boards that they were cheated by the overrun. (Fox issued an apology for the inconvenience, but a spokesperson noted that the past four Idol finales had run over.)

But the fact is, until DVR services from TiVo or cable operators are able to get real-time program data that alerts their boxes to overruns, the boxes can only rely on the date/time information provided by Tribune Media Services. And if viewers want to allow for potential overruns, they must use a special setting that enables them to extend a recording’s end time.

Digeo CEO Mike Fidler, whose company supplies DVRs to Charter and other cable operators, routinely sets his box to run long for sports telecasts and other shows. He told us he was actually watching the Idol finale while recording it and adjusted the end time when an overrun looked likely.

Writing last week on the Website of Fox affiliate WNYW New York, producer Luke Funk chalked up the Idol mishap as a learning experience for burned DVR newbies: “Next time, they’ll know.”

E! Sends Paris Up the River

If you happened to be at the beach over the holiday weekend and thought you saw celebutantes Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie parading around sedan-style in a canoe, you weren’t hallucinating.

To promote the next installment of E! reality series The Simple Life, which premieres May 28, the cable network deployed doppelgangers of Hilton and Richie around outdoor areas in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

As in the print, online and outdoor ads for the show—this time set at a summer camp—the ersatz Paris and Nicole were hoisted aloft in their canoe by a couple of buff beefcakes in swimsuits.

Given Hilton’s imminent engagement at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, Calif., for violating her probation over a DUI incident, you’d think E! would shy away from any promotion that may conjure the phrase “going up the river.”

Apparently not. According to Suzanne Kolb, executive VP of marketing and communications at E! Networks, on-air spots might even poke fun at the star’s predicament, urging viewers to watch The Simple Life “no matter where you’re spending your summer.”