KATHIE LEE GIFFORD ON TODAY?
NBC is planning to bring Kathie Lee Gifford back to morning TV, the Florida-based TV news website FTVLive reported today (Thursday), citing an unnamed NBC source. According to the report, Gifford, who became one of morning television's biggest stars during her 15-year stint as co-host of the syndicated Live With Regis and Kathie Lee beginning in 1985, will be added to the fourth hour of the Today show, according to the FTVLive story. An official announcement is expected to be made within the next two weeks, the report said.
EARLY SHOW MUTINY FORCES ROSS TO WALK PLANK
Continuing to fuel rumors that Shelley Ross is about to be forced to step down as producer of The Early Show, CBS's long-struggling morning show, the website TVNewser reported Wednesday that Ross failed to show up for work on Tuesday or Wednesday. Although TVNewser said that Ross held what a source described as a "constructive" staff meeting on Monday to discuss the newspaper reports, the New York Post's "Page Six" column said today (Thursday) that she is not expected to return to the show. The column cited sources as saying that following the meeting, Early Show co-anchors told CBS executives, "Either Shelley goes or we go." Chen is married to CBS chief Les Moonves. The New York Times and the Post reported last week that Ross's hard-driving approach had created a morale problem on the program. A CBS News spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports.
FOX-TV PLANNING 24 MOVIE FOR FALL
Fans of Fox's 24 who were miffed at the decision to delay the show's return until next January learned Wednesday that the network is developing a two-hour movie to air in the fall that will bridge the sixth and seventh seasons of the show. Fox had produced eight episodes of the seventh season when production was shut down last November by the writers' strike, causing the network to pull the show off its schedule entirely rather than air a partial season. Each episode follows Kiefer Sutherland's character Jack Bauer, a government agent, during each hour of a single day.
IDOL WINS -- SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
It's almost unnecessary to report that American Idol once again dominated the ratings Wednesday night. The unstoppable talent contest scored a 16.0 rating and a 25 share at 8:00 p.m. -- once again exceeding all of the other broadcast networks combined. The show also served as strong coattails for Fox's 9:00 p.m. reality series, The Moment of Truth, which dominated the hour with a 9.0/14. As Fox went off the air at 10:00 p.m., NBC's Law & Order took over the lead with a 6.5/11.
U.K. TALENT-SHOW WINNER TO BECOME SUBJECT OF THEATRICAL BIOPIC
American Idol judge Simon Cowell has signed a deal with Paramount to produce a film based on the life of Paul Potts, a nondescript former cell-phone salesman whose operatic performances earned him the top prize on Britain's Got Talent, the U.K. version of America's Got Talent, last year. His first CD, One More Chance, has since sold over three million copies. Clips of Pott's performances on Britain's Got Talent were posted on YouTube and reportedly caught the eye of Paramount executives, smoothing the way for Cowell to pitch the biopic to them. "This company got that it's another Billy Elliot, a story anyone in the world can understand."
DOLLAR'S FALL SENDS LACHLAN MURDOCH SCRAMBLING
The quickly deflating American dollar overseas has put a crimp in Lachlan Murdoch's plans with James Packer to take the giant Australian media company Consolidate Media Holdings private, published reports said today (Thursday). Trading in CMH shares were halted on the Australian stock exchange following reports that the San Francisco-based private equity firm SPO Partners had decided not to back the deal because of the plunge of the American dollar against the Australian dollar. SPO Partners was one of Murdoch and Packer's principal equity sources. Murdoch has reportedly asked the CMH board for an additional four weeks to find alternative backing.