HBO DOMINATES EMMY NODS
Once again HBO has dominated the annual Emmy awards nominations, collecting 124 nominations, claiming 21 alone for its AIDS miniseries Angels in America and another 20 for its regular series, The Sopranos. Runner-up NBC could only boast of 65 bids, while CBS received 44; ABC, 33; Fox, 31; and PBS, 27. The television academy also presented nods to two new programs, Fox's critically acclaimed but low-rated Arrested Development, and CBS's Joan of Arcadia. Nominees in the top categories included: Drama Series:
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; Joan of Arcadia, CBS; The Sopranos, HBO; 24, Fox; The West Wing, NBC. Comedy Series:
Arrested Development, Fox; Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Sex and the City, HBO; Will & Grace, NBC. Actor, Drama Series:
James Spader, The Practice, ABC; James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, HBO; Kiefer Sutherland, 24, Fox; Martin Sheen, The West Wing, NBC; Anthony LaPaglia, Without a Trace, CBS. Actress, Drama Series:
Jennifer Garner, Alias, ABC; Amber Tamblyn, Joan of Arcadia, CBS; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NBC; Edie Falco, The Sopranos, HBO; Allison Janney, The West Wing, NBC. Actor, Comedy Series:
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO; John Ritter, 8 Simple Rules, ABC; Kelsey Grammer, Frasier, NBC; Matt LeBlanc, Friends, NBC; Tony Shalhoub, Monk, USA. Actress, Comedy Series:
Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; Jennifer Aniston, Friends, NBC; Bonnie Hunt, Life With Bonnie, ABC; Jane Kaczmarek, Malcolm in the Middle, Fox; Sarah Jessica Parker, Sex and the City, HBO.
HEARST KIN SUES OVER HIS PORTRAYAL IN FILM
George Randolph Hearst III, a vice president of the Hearst Corporation and the great grandson of William Randolph Hearst, has filed a $7.5-million lawsuit against September Films and actor-producer George Pilgrim, who portrayed Hearst as a lame-brained sex fiend in an unscripted movie, Hopelessly Rich, which aired last year on VH1. In an interview with the Albany Times Union, a Hearst newspaper, Hearst said: "You spend decades building on a reputation and then something as irresponsible as this can wipe you out in a moment." He said that in the past Pilgrim has claimed that he was an illegitimate relative and has attempted to open companies under the guise of Hearst Publications.
FRANZ MOURNS LOSS OF LATEST "WIFE"
Dennis Franz has objected to the decision by NYPD Blue producers to axe Charlotte Ross from the show. Ross had played Detective Connie McDowell, the wife of Andy Sipowicz, Franz's character. Last season, the character gave birth to a child. Today's (Thursday) Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the McDowell character will still be mentioned but that she will not appear in any future episodes. Franz told the Inquirer that he feels "abandoned, cut off at the knees" by the decision. "We worked so hard to get everybody's approval [for the Sipowicz-McDowell story line], and there were still a lot of people that didn't jump on the bandwagon. Now to drop it seems pretty unfair. I'm sorry for the character. I think it's unfortunate."
AUDIENCE UP, RATINGS DOWN FOR ALL-STAR GAME
Despite the fact that the American League turned Monday's All-Star Game into a virtual blowout in the first inning by taking a 6-0 lead (the A.L beat the National League 9-4), the game drew the biggest audience in five years and put Fox on top for the night for the first time since the American Idol finale in May. In fact, the first half hour of the game's coverage drew an audience that was 16 percent higher than last year's, but viewer interest plummeted after the A.L pounded N.L. starter Roger Clemens in the first. Despite the rise in viewers, actual ratings were the lowest ever for the annual contest since it began airing in primetime in 1970 -- an 8.8 rating and a 15 share. Canadian TV critics chided Fox's decision to cut to a commercial just before the singing of "O' Canada," the country's national anthem and were indignant over the network's explanation -- that the telecast "is aimed at a U.S. audience."
RATINGS SOAR FOR JEOPARDY
Although the producers of Jeopardy will have to pay contestant Ken Jennings more than $1 million, they are likely to reap a bonanza themselves from the ratings lift his winning streak has given the quiz show. Latest figures from Nielsen Research indicate that on Tuesday, the day when Jennings passed the $1-million mark, the show delivered an 11.1 rating and a 21 share. If it had been included among the regular broadcast network programs, the syndicated show would almost certainly have ended up as the highest-rated show of the week. As it was, the figure was 36 percent above Jeopardy's year-ago average.
MCENROE TALK SHOW: "LOVE" AT FIRST SIGHT
John McEnroe's new talk show on CNBC drew just 64,000 viewers on Monday night, not much larger than a sold-out crowd at Wimbledon (about 42,000). His series debut on July 7 had drawn 266,000. In its first five nights, the show has averaged 146,000 viewers, 40 percent fewer than the number who used to watch The News with Brian Williams, which previously occupied McEnroe's timeslot. The show has received withering reviews. TV critic Vinay Menon in the Toronto Star called McEnroe "catatonic, awkward and robotic" and said that the show itself "had the feel of cable-access programming."
SLIMFAST SHEDS WHOOPI
Whoopi Goldberg's ads for Slim-Fast in which she proclaims, "I'm a big loser" appeared especially apt as the diet-drink company fired her Tuesday because of her randy comments about President Bush at a John Kerry fund-raiser last week. Republicans have also pounced on Goldberg's comments, in which she explored double-entendre uses of the president's last name and Vice President Dick Cheney's first. Republicans responded that her remarks put Kerry in league with values-challenged Hollywood. In a statement, Goldberg said: "While I can appreciate what the SlimFast people need to do in order to protect their business, I must also do what I need to do as an artist, as a writer and as an American, not to mention as a comic." She added: "I only wish that the Republican reelection committee would spend as much time working on the economy as they seem to be spending trying to harm my pocketbook."
MINNESOTA GOV SHUNS FILM
Saying that their film would portray the Iron Range area of Minnesota in a bad light, state officials have decided not to allow producers of the upcoming Warner Bros. movie Class Action to receive a 10-percent tax rebate, which had been offered by the Minnesota Film Board. The film, which stars Oscar-winner Charlize Theron (Monster), describes a successful class action lawsuit brought against a mining company by 15 women who claimed that they were victims of sexual harassment. Although the Iron Range Resources Board (IRRB) voted 8-4 to support the film with the tax rebate, noting that it could pump millions of dollars into the local economy, the chairman of the board, Sandy Layman, voted in opposition. Another opponent, Joe Begich, remarked: "Why do we want to support a movie that will be a black eye for the area? ... That makes no sense to me." But last week, the Duluth News Tribune observed in an editorial that the only people who would be embarrassed by the film "are the minority whose attitudes toward women in the workplace spawned it." Nevertheless, on Wednesday a spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that the governor supports the IRRB chairman's position and will veto the tax break. Warner Bros. has indicated that without it, the film may be shot in New Mexico.
FOX TAKES MOVIE ADS TO THE MALL
Twentieth Century Fox has signed a deal with General Growth Properties, America's second-largest shopping mall operator to promote its films on everything from banner ads in mall garages to tray liners in its food courts, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Thursday). The first ad campaign, for Fox's I, Robot, which opens on Friday, will be visible in GGP's 125 malls, 95 of which include movie complexes. The deal should enable Fox to reach its core audience -- dating teenagers, Jean Pool, COO of ad agency Universal McCann, told the newspaper. "It's very difficult to reach teenagers and young adults with television; they change their programming habits so quickly. You can count on them being at the mall, though."
RAIDED L.A. TIMES RAIDS L.A. MAGAZINE
The Los Angeles Times ' crew of arts and entertainment writers, raided for talent in recent weeks by the New York Times, has itself made a foray into a rival's camp, plucking Los Angeles Magazine's Amy Wallace to become deputy entertainment editor in the Business section, Los Angeles Weekly columnist Nikki Finke reported Wednesday. Wallace is perhaps best known for her award-winning L.A. Magazine profile of Variety editor Peter Bart in Aug., 2001, which included allegations that he used racist, sexist and anti-gay language and engaged in journalistic misbehavior, and which resulted in Bart's temporary suspension. She told Finke: "The L.A. Times is going to be at war with the N.Y. Times over entertainment coverage. And you know what? We're going to win!"
STUDIOS AND MANUFACTURERS JOIN THE HALT PIRACY
A consortium of consumer electronics companies and movie studios said Wednesday that they are collaborating on the development of a copy-protection standard that would allow consumers to make copies of DVDs for their own use but would prevent bootleggers from doing so. Published reports observed that the group, composed of IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Disney and Warner Bros., represents the first alliance of studios and manufacturers aimed at developing a copy-protection system.
LAPD CLAIMS BIG DVD BOOTLEG BUST
Los Angeles police claimed Wednesday that they had shuttered a DVD counterfeiting operation capable of turning out a million DVDs a year and arrested its alleged ringleader, Gonzalo Arista, and four others. Members of an anti-piracy squad reportedly seized 5,680 bootleg DVDs, 40 DVD recorders, and 6,000 blank discs, all of which were valued at $227,000, according to Capt. Michael Chambers of the anti-piracy squad. "This action puts a dent in a significant criminal operation," he said.