REPORT: IDOL PRODUCERS WILL CAN ABDUL
Despite Paul Abdul's intimation that she has no plans to leave American Idol willingly when her contract runs out at the end of this season ("I love the show, I do. I love what I do on the show," she said on ABC's Nightline Thursday night), Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Bill Zwecker reported today (Friday) that this will be Abdul's final season on the show. "They want her off the show," a longtime staff member on the show told Zwecker. "Everyone's tired of her bizarre and always unpredictable behavior and temper tantrums." The staffer, who was not identified, also indicated that Abdul and new hire Kara DioGuardi have beeen getting along well. However, Zwecker referred to "reports that DioGuardi herself has been having second thoughts about having joined the 'American Idol team, and that she stormed off the set after Tuesday night's show."
VIEWERS QUITTING THURSDAY SHOWS
Although Thursdays have traditionally been television's biggest ratings night, all of the major networks saw significant audience erosion for their Thursday offerings this week. The downturn was particularly noticeable at NBC, which had been making some progress lately at reviving its Thursday "must see" status with its new shows Parks & Recreations and Southland. But Parks, which debuted two weeks earlier with 6.88 million viewers, was down to 5.23 million this week. And Southland, which got off to an auspicious start with 9.86 million viewers two weeks ago, was down to 8.03 million for its third episode. CBS continued to rule the night as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation wound up with 14.45 million viewers. But a year ago, the CBS drama averaged 17.02 million.
Jay Leno, whose workaholic constitution has been the theme of numerous profiles about him, canceled the taping of the Tonight show Thursday and checked himself into a hospital for observation, his spokesman, Dick Guttman, said Thursday. Guttman, who would not identify Leno's illness or even the hospital where he was treated, said later that the talk show host was doing well and planned to return to work next week. The health scare must have raised the blood pressure of NBC executives who are planning a Leno-hosted variety hour to air nightly at 10:00 p.m. beginning this fall.
PROTESTER FORECASTS DEFEAT OF SAG-AMPTP DEAL
SAG member Scott Wilson, who has been organizing small rallies to oppose the union's recent labor agreement with Hollywood producers and networks, predicted Thursday that if more than 30 percent of guild members vote on the pact, it will be voted down. In an interview with Daily Variety, Wilson said, "I think we have a real chance to defeat this if we can get the information out to the members." But Ned Vaughn, a spokesman for the Unite for Strength faction, told the trade publication, "What I'm hearing from members, again and again, is that they're thrilled we've reached the end of this hard-fought negotiation, and that we're going to be getting back to work. ... They're pleased with the gains in wages and benefits and are also very thankful that we kept our ability to negotiate together with AFTRA in the next round" in 2011.
TV NETS TO AIR OBAMA'S 100TH-DAY CONFERENCE
President Obama plans to mark his 100th day in office next Wednesday by holding a news conference that will be carried by the major broadcast networks and cable news channels at 8:00 p.m. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president has no major announcement to make but that he recognizes that the 100th day in office for a president is often marked by editorial assessments by newspapers and TV commentators. "It's an arbitrary day in which presidents are measured. We get that. We're playing along," Gibbs told the Associated Press.