Chris Isaak prepares for new TV show

BRAD PITT! There, now I have your full attention. You saw him in Washington D.C. recently, meeting with Nancy Pelosi, Steven Chu and even The Big O. The real Big O — our president. (Some gene experts say that Brad is a distant cousin to the Commander in Chief.) The movie star was in the capital to work further on financing the New Orleans Housing Project. So, now the inevitable rumors arrive that the very serious Mr. Pitt is pondering public office. A source says, “Angelina (well, you knew she’d get in!) feels Brad would make a great politician. He would also compliment Angelina’s own efforts on behalf on UNICEF.” I’d say he’s doing enough, helping populate and adopt the world. More likely he will continue his public service, and in a similar manner to George Clooney — also often urged to run for office. Brad will not place his past life in the hands of the ravening investigative media. Mr. Pitt does have one political type who is encouraging him to change career: actor-producer William Carter. He worked in “Running With Scissors,” produced by Brad’s production company and also served as a member of Sen. John Warner’s staff, post Elizabeth Taylor. You know — she is the woman who helped secure Warner’s senate seat, back in 1978.

The last time I sat and chatted with singer Chris Isaak, we were in a restaurant and during the conversation he kept glancing into his lap, rather affectionately. Just as I was beginning to wonder, should I be concerned or flattered, like a magician he produced an adorable white puppy. He managed to sneak a little carrier into the place. It was his manager’s pet, he explained, but he just loved it. In the new weekly series, “The Chris Isaak Hour,” a nifty mix of chat and music, you can catch an occasional glimpse of the now-adult, but still small dog. It romps or lounges around while Chris interviews the likes of Stevie Nicks, Trisha Yearwood, Cat Stevens, Glen Campbell and other legends. (It airs on the Biography Channel.) So we’re talking again, this time on the phone, and he immediately said, “I just got out of the shower and changed my clothes. I’m on my way to Australia.” (So many alluring visuals to contemplate!) Chris — still smoking hot after all these years — is best known for steamy songs like “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing.” He is a friendly, quirky, self-deprecating guy, and these qualities, along with his passion for music come though in his new show. He’s very respectful and encouraging his guests. “I don’t look to ask embarrassing or rude questions. I hope I’m never intrusive. Really, I feel like I’m a high school kid, meeting my idols.” Chris, who has a beautiful new CD out, “Mr. Lucky,” describes himself as “a nut for music” and his program as an effort to “promote acts and music in general — all aspects. This is a bad time. I know a lot of songwriters who are not making a living. They have second jobs.” Chris says, “I’m no skilled interviewer, so I wanted to make sure there was plenty of music on the show. Listen, you get more music in one episode of my show than in a year of MTV.” Just call me the music industry’s stimulus package!” He has filmed seven episodes so far, and wants to “do as many as they ask of me. What’s not to like about this?” Chris is trying to persuade his label to release a limited edition of “Mr. Lucky” in vinyl, too. “A lot of people are going back, or now discovering the beauty of that sound.” (On CD or vinyl, wait till you hear Chris’s aching “Cheater’s Town,” a song to give the most unapologetic adulterer pause and regret.) He also acts. You’ve seen him in such varied fare as “Little Buddha,” “Twin Peaks,” “That Thing You Do.” His latest is the upcoming “The Informers,” with Mickey Rourke, Winona Ryder, Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thornton and — in his final performance — young Brad Renfro, who died tragically last year. “He was a nice guy. We’d play guitar, shoot the breeze.” But, once he asked me, “What do people say about me?” I told him the truth: “They say ‘he’s a great actor … a really great person … too bad he’s gonna be dead soon.’” Chris sounds pensive, “Some people … you just can’t save!”

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more