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TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.

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Can't Pull the Wool Over His Eyes

April 18, 2005 12:00 AM

Funnyman Mel Brooks, currently mounting a movie version of his hit Broadway musical "The Producers," already has a shelf full of Emmys and other awards. But his recent Daytime Emmy nomination as Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program for voicing Wiley the Sheep in PBS Kids' "Jakers! The Adventures of Piggley Winks" is special because he is doing it for his granddaughter Samantha, who lives in New York with his son Eddie and daughter-in-law Sarah. "She's just getting old enough to really appreciate Piggley Winks," Mr. Brooks said for the show's electronic press kit. "And I know she's gonna point out Wiley and tell all her friends, 'That's my crazy grandpa. That's my grandpa. He's that crazy sheep. He's that crazy nutty sheep. He's Wiley, you know.' So, I mean, that's one of the real reasons I'm doing it-to make Samantha a happy little granddaughter." --ALEX BEN BLOCK



What Scared Sci Fi?

For two seasons on the Sci Fi Channel series "Scare Tactics," hosts like Stephen Baldwin have unleashed elaborate horror- and sci-fi-inspired pranks on unsuspecting victims. Average ratings were down only slightly this year from its first season-from 1.1 million viewers in 2003 to 1 million viewers in 2004. On basic cable, that should have earned it a renewal. Instead, the series has been canceled. One insider said Sci Fi, whose ownership shifted under the NBC Universal umbrella last year, lowered the ax partly due to liability concerns. The network and producers were hit with a lawsuit for a first-season stunt in which an attack by "aliens" sent a prank victim running into the California desert. Producer Hallock Healey Entertainment would not comment, while a Sci Fi spokesperson insisted the network wasn't, well, scared off.

--JAMES HIBBERD



A Hero's Always Welcome

An arctic chill hits the northeastern United States, making the job of firefighter even more difficult and dangerous. Motorists are trapped by flood waters in Austin, Texas. A medical aircraft is downed in the Rocky Mountains by a storm. Those are just some of the stories featured in The Weather Channel's new series "Heroes of the Storm," which honors men and women who place themselves in danger to help others escape from it. On April 21 meteorologists Jim Cantore and Alexandra Steele will host a live broadcast from Washington to present an award to the nominee who gets the most votes from viewers on the channel's Web site. To promote the show, last week the Weather Channel Heroes hit the streets of New York to perform common acts of daily heroism, such as opening doors and hailing cabs. They even delivered hero sandwiches to firefighters to show appreciation for the risks they take every day.

--ALEX BEN BLOCK