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SANTIAGO-HUDSON SHOPPING MORE 'LACKAWANNA BLUES'

Ruben Santiago-Hudson is hoping to reprise "Lackawanna Blues" with additional episodes about growing up in a boarding house run by the woman who raised him, Nanny.

In a telephone interview during his visit home this week, the Lackawanna native confirmed that he is shopping the idea to produce five or six more episodes inspired by his play and the critically acclaimed HBO movie.

The extra episodes would enable him "to flush out the relationships" in the critically acclaimed February film and give the audience answers "to what everybody wants to know more about."

"That was the intention from the beginning," said Santiago-Hudson, who was in town to speak to students at Buffalo State College and his high school alma mater, Lackawanna High. "I went to HBO (first). They don't seem to be interested."

He said HBO's film and television units are separate and he's learned that the TV unit might not be thrilled about taking a project that initiated with the film unit.

"I'm fighting that whole thing," said Santiago-Hudson. He plans to pursue a deal elsewhere once he is able to get the rights back if HBO passes.

"(HBO) would still be my partner," said Santiago-Hudson. "I'm hoping that HBO will have a change in thought."

He also is hoping that a local theater group would consider producing the play that inspired the movie.

"Hopefully, we could get it here next year," said Santiago-Hudson. "I'm looking for a (theater) that would treat it with respect and integrity. I'd like to get it here for a limited run so people in my hometown can enjoy it."

The Broadway production that he was co-starring in with Phylicia Rashad, August Wilson's "Gem of the Ocean," closed in February. That gave Santiago-Hudson time to write his next film project.

"By the time the Emmys come around I'd like to be in position to do something," said Santiago-Hudson. The nominations arrive in July, two months before the award show airs in prime time.

"Lackawanna Blues," which had an exceptional cast headed by S. Epatha Merkerson ("Law & Order") as Nanny, received great reviews everywhere. With HBO's clout, it is expected to get several Emmy nominations.

"I think it is deserving of any accolades it could get," said Santiago-Hudson. "I would be honored to be included."

Heavenly Ratings for "Revelations": Fox's decision to expand its Wednesday results show of "American Idol" to an hour had little local impact on the premiere of NBC's six-episode series "Revelations." The good and evil story about the End of Days had a 15.0 rating on Channel 2, which is about double what "West Wing" had been getting locally. And it would have been even higher if ratings hadn't dropped in the final 15 minutes when Ryan Seacrest revealed that Nadia Turner was the latest "Idol" contestant to be voted off the show.

"Idol" still won the hour here with a 17.4 rating, but "Revelations" almost doubled the audience for ABC's "Alias" and CBS' comedies, "King of Queens" and "Yes, Dear." Of course, the real test of the heavily-promoted series will be how well its second episode does next Wednesday.

"Amy" to be Judged: Add the long-running CBS series, "Judging Amy," to the list of shows on the renewal bubble. Its fall return could depend on what network executives think of the pilots for next season.

Fontana's Brain is Busy: Buffalo's Tom Fontana is among the big name producers involved with the pilots that CBS is looking at. Fontana and his producing partner, Barry Levinson, are behind "3 LBs," in which Dylan McDermott plays "a brash and gifted brain surgeon" who might be losing his mind. The cast also includes Reiko Aylesworth ("24") and Mark Feuerstein ("Good Morning, Miami").

Fontana also is supervising a pilot for The WB, "The Bedford Diaries." Matthew Modine stars in the series as a controversial college professor who teaches a human behavior and sexuality class.

Buffalo's Christine Baranski is one of the stars of an ABC comedy pilot, "Adopted." It is about an adopted man who gets to know his birth family. Bernadette Peters co-stars.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com