ABC appears to have a new summer hit on its hands. After losing its top-rated Dancing with the Stars on Wednesday nights, the network came back with the new reality series Brat Camp -- and knocked off the competition Wednesday. The show, which follows a group of troubled teenagers trying to straighten out their lives at a wilderness camp, took the 8:00 p.m. hour with a 6.1 rating and an 11 share, then scored the highest numbers of the night at 9:00 p.m. with a 7.3/12. The show also gave the network an overwhelming lead among 18-49-year-olds. A repeat of NBC's Law & Order took over the lead at 10:00 p.m.
ALL-STAR GAME STRIKES OUT
Fox's telecast of Major League Baseball's All-Star Game appeared to score record low ratings Tuesday night. According to overnight figures released Wednesday, the game drew a 7.5 rating and a 13 share, down from last year's 8.8/15, the previous record low. The annual contest has seen a steady erosion of its one-time stand-out numbers. In 2002 and 2003, the game pulled a 9.5/17; in 2001, an 11.0/19; in 2000, a 10.1/18; in 1999, a 12.0/21; and in 1998 -- the last year it ranked No. 1 for the week -- a 13.3/25.
ABC'S HOUSEWIVES, LOST CAPTURE 27 EMMY NODS BETWEEN THEM
A brand new TV series and an aging one tied today (Thursday) for the most nominations in the comedy category for primetime Emmys. ABC's Desperate Housewives and NBC's Will & Grace each received 15 nominations. Everybody Loves Raymond received 13 nominations for its final season. Among dramatic programs, another ABC newcomer, Lost, received the most nominations -- 12. However, the HBO movies The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and Warm Springs -- received the highest number of nods overall -- each garnering 16. The announcements were made in Los Angeles early today (Thursday).
GAY DRAMAS, DOCUMENTARIES TO BE SHOWN ON INTERNET SITE
The online gay media group PlanetOut is teaming up with the Sundance Channel to launch PlanetOut Video, a website that will offer gay-oriented features and documentaries from the Sundance Channel to broadband subscribers. It said today (Thursday) that it will carry the first episode of Sundance's eight-part documentary TransGeneration before it debuts on the channel on Sept. 20. The site is expected to be advertiser supported, with ads for the Toyota Scion being prominently featured for the debut.
HEADLINE NEWS AFIRE UNDER GRACE
Former Georgia prosecutor-turned-TV-personality Nancy Grace is continuing to boost her audience on CNN Headline News, with Tuesday night's edition drawing bigger numbers than Paula Zahn on the main CNN channel. According to the latest figures, Grace drew 831,000 viewers, 16 percent more than Zahn's 719,000. Fox's Bill O'Reilly, however, pulled more than the two combined -- 2,299,000. The MSNBC special Return to Flight, which anticipated the return of the Discovery space shuttle to duty on Wednesday -- the launch was postponed -- drew only 230,000 viewers.
A RACE RACE FOR THE NEXT APPRENTICE?
In what appears to be a trial balloon asking to be shot down, MSNBC.com's Gossip columnist Jeannette Walls reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is considering pitting a team of African-American contestants against a team of all-white players for a forthcoming edition of The Apprentice. Walls quoted Trump as saying, "Whether people like that idea or not, it is somewhat reflective of our very vicious world." He conceded, however, "Not everybody thinks it's a good idea."
LITTLE CHANGE IN RACIAL COMPOSITION OF TV NEWSROOMS
Minorities comprised 21.2 percent of the staffs of local TV stations in 2004, off just slightly from the 21.8 percent in 2003, according to a survey by Ball State University conducted for the Radio-TV News Directors Association (RTNDA). Minorities comprised 12 percent of the news directors positions last year versus 12.5 percent in the previous year. Women held 39.3 percent of the TV news jobs, up slightly from 39.1 percent in 2003.
JAPAN'S FUJI TV TO PORT PROGRAMMING TO INTERNET
Saying that it is moving towards a "fusion of broadcasting and telecommunications," Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV has announced that it plans to begin offering sports and entertainment programming online beginning this month. The service, Fuji TV On Demand, began Wednesday with a webcast of the start of the women's Volleyball World Grand Prix in Sendai. Viewers may watch streaming video of the contests on demand, but they cannot be recorded directly onto a hard disk. The Yomiuri Shimbun also reported that Fuji is looking for a way to offer via a membership site older dramas and variety shows for which it controls the copyrights.
BRITISH TV STATIONS AIR THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Virtually all British TV and radio stations either fell silent themselves or broadcast pictures showing citizens of the country observing two minutes of silence at noon today (Thursday), marking the one-week anniversary of the London bombings.
COOTER SHOOTS DOWN HAZZARD MOVIE
Ben Jones, who played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazzard TV series, has urged fans of the show to stay away from the movie version when it is released in August. Jones, who went on to become a Georgia congressman, before he was defeated by Newt Gingrich in 1994, said that after reading the script of the movie, he had concluded that it was "a sleazy insult to all of us who have cared about The Dukes of Hazzard for so long." Jones's remarks were posted on his website, www.cootersplace.com. "Sure it bothers me that they wanted nothing to do with the cast of our show, but what bothers me much more is the profanity laced script with blatant sexual situations that mocks the good clean family values of our series. Now, anybody who knows me knows that I'm not a prude. But this kind of toilet humor has no place in Hazzard County. Rather than honoring our legendary show, they have chosen to degrade it," he wrote.
NORTH CAROLINA, MASSACHUSETTS VIE FOR FILMMAKERS
North Carolina and Massachusetts, two states whose film business has declined steeply in recent years, are crediting recently enacted -- or about-to-be enacted -- tax incentives for luring filmmakers back to their states. The Charlotte Observer noted today (Thursday) that Will Ferrell's latest movie, which will soon be shooting in Charlotte and at auto racetracks nearby, had originally been called Talladega Nights, after the famed racing track in Alabama. However, the newspaper noted, Columbia Pictures is now referring to the movie as "The Untitled Will Ferrell NASCAR Comedy." Frank Capra Jr., president of GreenGems Studios in Wilmington, told the Observer: "That film was set for Alabama. ... The incentives -- or the promise of the incentives -- are what brought it to Charlotte." A package of new tax breaks for filmmakers being considered by the state legislature is regarded as virtually certain of passage. The last major film to be shot in North Carolina was Shallow Hal in 2001. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would provide a payroll tax credit equal to 15 to 20 percent for major movies. The bill was backed editorially by the Boston Herald on Wednesday, which said that the state needs it in order to compete with 30 other states that offer some form of tax breaks to filmmakers. The newspaper also noted that [despite the images of a devastated Boston that appear in War of the Worlds] only two features have been shot in the city since 1998.
AMC YANKS "DIRTY JOKE" MOVIE
AMC Theatres, the country's second-largest theater chain, announced Wednesday that it had chosen not to show the unrated movie The Aristocrats, which features a cast of comedians (among them: George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, Bill Maher, Chris Rock Bob Saget, and Robin Williams) telling the same classic dirty joke, when it is released on July 29. A spokeswoman for the chain said that whenever it is offered an unrated film, its policy is to send it to corporate offices in Kansas City for approval or rejection. She said that AMC Film Group Chairman Dick Walsh made the decision not to show it. ""We've made a business decision and evaluated all the factors and we will stick with that decision," she added. However Jeff Sackman, the president and CEO of ThinkFilm, which is distributing the movie, called AMC's decision an act of censorship. "The real problem is somebody is deciding on a personal basis what's appropriate and what isn't," Sackman told Reuters.
MEDIA ANALYST PRAISES IGER
Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen has written a glowing report about Disney's incoming CEO Robert Iger following his settlement of a damaging dispute between the company and former directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold. Cohen praised Iger for his skill in settling the dispute, which centered largely on the methods used to install Iger as the company's chief executive. Cohen also expressed the hope that Iger would find a way to heal Disney's fractured relationship with Steve Jobs, the head of Pixar.
MOVIE ACADEMY ADDS NEW RULES
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which already has a rule in place barring its members from endorsing Oscar-nominated films unless they are directly connected with them, added a new rule Wednesday that bars members from hosting screenings for the nominated films unless they are involved in their production.