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TV Bulletin Board (Jan. 24)

Household names: Lily Tomlin, Aretha Franklin, Barack Obama

***HBO has greenlighted 12 Miles of Bad Road, starring Lily Tomlin as a wealthy Dallas matriarch/realtor named Amelia Shakespeare. Portions of the pilot episode for the one-hour comedy series were filmed in the Dallas area last year. The bulk of the production likely will be in Hollywood, though.

12 Miles is from Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason, principally known for creating Designing Women and Evening Shade. They also produced Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign film, The Man From Hope.

The Thomasons' last TV series was the much-maligned 2001 NBC sitcom Emeril, which indisputably proved that super chef Emeril Lagasse can't act.

***Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin is set to be feted on the 28th annual benefit special for the United Negro College Fund. Formerly hosted by the late Lou Rawls, the program will include performances by Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Smokey Robinson, Natalie Cole and Oscar nominee Jennifer Hudson. Show time in Dallas is Saturday, Jan. 27 at 9 p.m. on KTXA-TV (Ch. 21).

***Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will soak up more exposure as host of The Biography Channel's Crucibles of Courage. Scheduled for Feb. 22nd (8 p.m. central, 9 eastern), the one-hour special spotlights Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Chisholm and Marian Anderson.

***The Disney Channel's biggest hit, Hannah Montana, has tabbed Brooke Shields to guest star in a flashback sequence as the title character's deceased mother. She'll also do a duet with series star Riley Cyrus. Filming on the episode began this week.

***Fox's latest reality gambit is When Women Rule the World, scheduled to air whenever the men who rule the network say so. Premise: Participants will be taken to a "remote, primitive location" where women will build a new society without glass ceilings and with "no need to dress to impress." Newfound male underlings must obey or be sent home to their mamas.