FOOTBALL KICKS OFF NEW SEASON
An entire night of Monday Night Football beginning at 8:00 p.m. instead of the usual 9:00 p.m., gave ABC a win on what was officially the first night of the new season Monday. Nevertheless, CBS's powerhouse CSI: Miami showed no sign of weakness as it took the 10:00 hour handily, scoring a 12,1 rating and a 19 share against MNF's 9.8/15. NBC's Medium drew a respectable 8.4/13 in the same hour. CBS's loss of Everybody Loves Raymond did not appear to be a major blow. The series premiere of How I Met Your Mother performed well in the 8:30 p.m. time period, registering a 7.9/11, and the debut of Out of Practice also produced good numbers with a 9.4/13. NBC could also boast of improved numbers with its new sci-fi drama Surface debuting in the 8:00 p.m. hour with a 7.6/11. Overall, ABC won the night with an average 10.6/16, while CBS took second with a 9.5/14. NBC finished third with a 7/.8/12, while Fox trailed with a 4.0/6.
EXTREME MAKEOVER CONTESTANT SUES ABC
A Conroe, TX woman who was cut from ABC's Extreme Makeover has sued the network and its producers, claiming that they interviewed members of her family who agreed that she "looked like a freak," then cut her from the show the night she was scheduled to undergo extensive plastic surgery that included reconstruction of a deformed jaw. Thirty-year-old Deleese Williams claims in her suit that in a "before" segment taped for the show, she was forced to listen to "horrific, hurtful statements from virtually every member of her family." Afterwards, the suit further claims, her sister was so depressed by the fact that Deleese had heard her remarks that she committed suicide. The suit alleges that Williams was dumped from the show after surgeons determined that it would take too long to repair her deformed jaw. Williams's attorney, Casie Gotro, told the Houston Chronicle that since the taping, Williams has become a "virtual recluse." Noting that reality shows cost little to produce, Gotro remarked that there is also "a human cost associated with this type of television. [Deleese] wants them to know you can't just cast people away like they're nothing."
EVERYBODY LOVES BRAD, FOR NOW
Following Sunday night's Emmy wins for Everybody Loves Raymond as best comedy and Brad Garrett for best supporting actor on a comedy show, discussions have heated up about a Raymond spinoff starring Garrett, published reports said today (Tuesday). The Hollywood Reporter wrote that those involved in the discussions have "made significant progress on outstanding issues." Today's New York Times quoted a CBS spokesman as saying that "Brad is a gifted comedic talent" and that "the potential series would be created by key members of the Raymond writing team."" Garrett himself hinted at a spinoff when he appeared onstage with the show's cast during the Emmy ceremonies. "You know, we should try to be a little funny because there may be a spinoff," he quipped.
ABC NEWS JOINS THE BLOGGERS
On the heels of NBC's launch of the Daily Nightly blog on its MSNBC site and CBS News's Public Eye blog, ABC News announced Monday that it is launching a similar blog of its own. "We invite our users to respond directly to our blogs and to make this an open conversation that includes voices from all viewpoints," said ABCNews.com executive producer Randy Stearns, in a statement.
ABC DISSES NBC'S ANNOUNCED "BUREAU" IN NEW ORLEANS
An ABC news exec has called NBC's announcement that it is setting up a permanent news bureau in New Orleans "a nice PR gesture." Paul Slavin, ABC's senior vice president, worldwide newsgathering, suggested that NBC's New Orleans office site is no different from other sites set up by news organizations in the devastated city. "There's no reason we couldn't call what we're doing a bureau if we wanted to, but that would be a little disingenuous. We do make efforts to be sincere and truthful," he said. ABC News chief Steve Capus replied that he is "entirely sincere and truthful about this."
MICHAEL MOORE FAILS TO HALT CBC'S AIRING OF COLUMBINE
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has rejected Michael Moore's demand that it not air his documentary Bowling for Columbine until it ends its lockout of CBC employees that began a month ago. In a statement, Moore said, "I do not want my film being broadcast on the network unless it is willing to let its own workers back in to work and promises to bargain with them in good faith." Moore accused the publicly supported broadcaster of acting like "an American corporation" and called on it to continue its "historical tradition ... respecting its workers and their union." The documentary aired as scheduled after a CBC spokesman told the Toronto Star, "We purchased the rights to do that and that's what we're going to do. Our audiences are expecting to see it."
PLAY IT AGAIN, SONY
Sony is discovering surprisingly strong demand for movies being released in the UMD format, which can only be played on its PlayStation Portable device. Two releases have sold more than 100,000 copies each within two months. (Newsweek observes that it took nine months for the first movie on DVD to reach that mark.) Sony is also finding new outlets for the UMD movies that it doesn't have with DVDs as game retailers add the movies to their offerings. The premium price for the DVDs is also reportedly offsetting lower sales for DVDs. Meanwhile Sony announced that it is making available Talkman: PSP-240 software for the PSP that will not only translate English movies into Japanese (and vice versa) but also allow users to talk into the device and have it translate the words into a foreign language through its built-in speakers. The Talkman software is currently available only in Japan.
HEAVEN CAN RATE: NO. 1
The numbers may have been short of heavenly, but the romantic comedy Just Like Heaven won the weekend box-office contest with $16.4 million, on the low end of analysts' predictions. And while the remainder of the marquee titles also failed to attract big crowds, the crowds that they did attract were at least bigger than last year's -- something that could not be said about most box-office weekend outcomes this year. According to Exhibitor Relations, sales for the top 12 films rose 13 percent from the comparable weekend a year ago.
The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Just Like Heaven, DreamWorks, $16,408,718, (New); 2. The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Screen Gems, $14,851,719, 2 Wks. ($51,561,110); 3. The Lord of War, Lions Gate, $9,390,144, (New); 4. The 40 Year Old Virgin, Universal, $5,967,005, 3 Wks. ($90,726,553); 5. Cry Wolf, Focus Features, $4,428,209, (New); 6. Transporter 2, 20th Century Fox, $4,012,866, 3 Wks. ($36,495,152); 7. The Constant Gardener, Focus Features, $3,618,254, 3 Wks. ($24,289,337); 8. Red Eye, DreamWorks, $2,859,529, 5 Wks. ($55,185,874); 9. The Wedding Crashers, New Line, $2,527,642, 10 Wks. ($203,620,728); 10. March of the Penguins, Warner Bros., $2,518,327, 9 Wks. ($70,393,482).
NEW YORK IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS ON STONE'S 9/11 FILM
The city of New York has placed tight restrictions on what it will allow director Oliver Stone to show and what kind of visual effects he may create for his movie about the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, according to syndicated columnist Cindy Adams. For example, she wrote, the city will not permit Stone to "dress the streets with dirt and debris and ash and people's belongings and falling bodies."
SLOW START FOR SIMPSONS MOVIE
Despite having announced months ago that a Simpsons movie had been greenlit, the film's producer has indicated that the movie is still in development. David Mirkin, who also produces the TV series, told today's (Tuesday) Houston Chronicle that no release date has been set. "It's all about the quality -- the writing -- which we're working on now. We are very quality conscious, and we don't want the series to suffer because of the movie." Mirkin did indicate that the crude animation of the TV show will be enhanced for the movie. He said, "We're looking at various tests to get the right look. We're taking it into the realm of cinema but not too far from how it looks on the show."
GARLAND'S HUSBAND SID LUFT DIES AT 89
Sid Luft, known mainly as the onetime husband of Judy Garland and the father of Lorna Luft, died in Los Angeles on Sept. 15 at the age of 89. He was also the producer of one of Garland's most famous films, 1954's A Star Is Born. often called her "comeback" film.