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From faith to faith

Gail Choice | 8/17/2011, 5 p.m.

The Merge Summit LA 2011
To those of you who think that a 'Higher Power' is not at work in Hollywood, you should note that you couldn't be further from the truth. This weekend, Aug. 18-20, L.A. plays host to The Merge Summit LA 2011, a three-day event that integrates faith and entertainment.

The Merge Summit is designed to provide a platform for promising Christian talent to interface, glean from, and partner with leaders in the entertainment industry. Some of entertainment's most notable contributors will be on hand to dispense knowledge, understanding and needed information to help entertainment hopefuls navigate the often twisted paths that lead to success in Hollywood. At the core of the Summit are two focused days of education, with panel discussions, workshops, and special master classes designed to be interactive, informative and inspirational.

"My vision is to merge the sacred and the secular, bridging the gap between ministry and entertainment," says Holly Carter, DD, founder of The Merge Summit series. She continues, "It is designed to bring together talented men and women of faith who aspire to enter the field of arts and media with the heart to impact Hollywood."

Robi Reed, vice president of talent and casting, original programming for BET is co-chairperson of the event. More than 60 of the industry's top entertainers and executives will lead more than 20 classes and workshops. The Merge Summit LA 2011 takes place at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, Aug. 18-20.

If you want to learn more about The Merge Summit LA 2011 and for registration, go to www.themergesummit.com.

Tyler TV?
Talk about mixing faith with entertainment, producer/writer/director Tyler Perry hasn't let anything stop him from reaching an audience long sought after by Hollywood. His phenomenal success has been translated from stage plays to film and TV. Following in the footsteps of his friend, Oprah Winfrey, it now looks as if he may be getting his own cable network.

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer recently announced the probability of a new cable TV network anchored by Tyler Perry. Feltheimer called Perry a "rare piece of talent that can bring an audience anywhere." He added, "Tyler is one of those rare resources that one could launch a channel with."

On how a Tyler Perry cable venture might be rolled out, he said Lionsgate could buy and rebrand a not-fully distributed channel, or pursue a "nesting strategy" with a channel it already has, including TV Guide.

Lionsgate has a first look deal with Perry and 10 of his films that the company has released since 2005 that have grossed around $520 million at North American box offices.

Perry's films, stage plays and DVDs have also sold more than 40 million DVD and digital units.

Food to go
Renown Chef G. Garvin hits the road this fall with a new cooking show on the Cooking Channel.

On "Georgia Road Trip with G. Garvin," Chef Garvin returns to his to humble roots in Georgia to embark upon the ultimate journey to savor the best foods the region has to offer from Atlanta to Savannah. From family-owned farms, local gems, BBQ shacks and shrimp boats, Chef Garvin lets his love affair and passion for food lead him on a most rewarding adventure. Be it land, sea and everything in between, Chef Garvin brings his down-home finesse to connect with the locals who are dishing out the best southern food in Georgia.

A one-hour special "Georgia Road Trip with G. Garvin" premieres Sunday, Aug. 28 on the Cooking Channel; check your local listing for times and mark it on your calendar.

Gail Choice can be reached at hollywoodbychoice_gail@yahoo.com.