SUSAN BOYLE: THE MELTDOWN?
Britain's Got Talent contestant Susan Boyle may be experiencing difficulty coping with the pressure of celebrity. Following reports that Boyle has begun exploding with four-letter words at demanding fans and paparazzi, Judge Piers Morgan said on his blog Thursday that Boyle's been in a "flood of tears" and "fleetingly felt like quitting the show altogether." But Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Bill Zwecker quoted a show staffer as saying that while Boyle can sometimes be testy, she "has a strong competitive spirit. ... She's here to win." The source also said that Boyle's neighbors have told him that if she's rubbed the wrong way, "she lets loose with more [f-words] than you can believe. She's got a mouth on her, that one does! ... We've heard it backstage at [Britain's Got Talent] already!" Saturday's season finale for the show, in which a winner will be crowned, is expected to be posted at casttv.com/shows/britain-s-got-talent shortly after it airs from 3:30-5:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday. The winning performance is also expected to be posted quickly on YouTube by viewers and by the show itself.
LIONSGATE SELLS OFF 49 PERCENT OF ITS TV GUIDE PROPERTIES
Lionsgate has agreed to sell 49 percent of its TV Guide Network and TV Guide Online to One Equity Partners, a unit of JPMorgan Chase, and Allen Shapiro, former head of Dick Clark Productions. Lionsgate had acquired the TV Guide properties from Macrovision Solutions Corp. in January for $255 million and is selling the 49-percent stake for $123 million in cash (roughly 49 percent of what it paid for the entire business). Lionsgate executives have been feuding with Carl Icahn, one of its largest shareholders, who has claimed that they paid far too much for the TV Guide properties. They are expected to use some of the cash towards overhauling the TV Guide cable channel, which has been hurt by the number of other on-screen program guides being offered by cable providers, and towards upgrading the TV Guide website. They may also have to set aside some of the cash to fight off a proxy battle by Icahn.
HULU GETS A NEW ONLINE PLAYER
NBC on Thursday introduced a new, free player for Hulu, the online video service that it owns with Fox and Disney, making it easier for users to locate shows posted on the video site and watch them on a computer screen. Called "Desktop," even the name points to the fact that the Hulu backers want to limit their content to computers -- the software is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems -- and not allow it to find its way onto TV sets, where it might compete with standard TV broadcasts. Meanwhile, in an interview with CNET News, NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said, "Right now we are committed to Hulu being an online experience. That's where our vision is today. That will continue." He also predicted that Hulu should be showing a positive cash-flow soon. "The first 18 months was getting it up and not getting laughed at," Zucker said. "The goal over the next 18 months would be increased monetization."
60 MINUTES IS 13TH HIGHEST-RATED SHOW
It may be the longest-running show on primetime television, but CBS's 60 Minutes can still pull in ratings, even after nearly 41 years. TVNewser pointed out Thursday that the magazine show ranked as the 13th most-watched show on any of the networks during the 2008-2009 season, its best ranking since 1999-2000. The show's viewers increased by 10 percent overall and 8 percent among adults 18-49. Executive Producer Jeff Fager commented, "It has been an extraordinary season by every measure and it makes us proud that our gains came with important interviews and solid reporting on the big stories of the year."