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Tom Wants to Sleep in Your Spare Bedroom

July 25, 2005 12:00 AM

TBS has signed actor Tom Arnold for a reality series pilot called "The Replacement," in which the comic actor travels the country filling in on specific jobs-camp counselor, best man at a wedding-or helping with odd jobs, such as putting together a bachelor party. Mr. Arnold will move into the home of each person he "helps," bringing along his big-screen television and favorite lounge chair. The pilot deal comes on the heels of rave reviews for Mr. Arnold's recent turn in the Lions Gate film "Happy Endings" and his getting cut out of his contributing role on Fox Sports Net's "The Best Damn Sports Show Period." Mr. Arnold's first series was "The Roseanne Barr Show," where he played husband to his then real-life spouse Roseanne Barr. He then moved on to character parts in movies "True Lies," "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery" and "Nine Months." He also had a short-lived 1997 WB sitcom, "The Tom Show."-JAMES HIBBERD

Fireworks Pop; Concerts Flop

The Live 8 concerts were expected to set off ratings fireworks over the Independence Day holiday, but for the most part they fizzled on TV. While the concerts showcased online AOL Television, with multiple feeds of straight concert coverage, they were less successful for MTV and merely a ratings blip on ABC. That put a special twinkle in the eye of Viacom and CBS topper Leslie Moonves, who told a gaggle of reporters at a CBS dinner in L.A. last week that the big winner that night was CBS's "Boston Pops Fireworks," which, as Mr. Moonves noted, offered music performed on the Charles River Basin and Esplanade and about 23 minutes of fireworks. The event, known as the Boston 4 Celebrations, drew about 7.7 million viewers. That was up about 11 percent from last year. By comparison, ABC's Live 8 special attracted about 2.9 million viewers. Mr. Moonves also provided a back story. Several years ago CBS's Boston affiliate WBZ-TV asked the network to pick up the annual Independence Day celebration on a five-year contract. Mr. Moonves was skeptical about the number of viewers it would attract. He agreed to put it on once, in 2003, and said it would get a full five years only if it did better than a 10 rating, which he felt was unlikely. It did a 12 and has been a staple on CBS ever since. -ALEX BEN BLOCK

Be Your Own 'Iron Chef '

Food Network has found that viewers are using the "Iron Chef America" format as a recipe for parties and projects at home. So the network is using the phenomenon to promote itself and the show. Foodnetwork.com has an area called How Do You Iron Chef? where viewers are invited to send videos and descriptions of their own efforts in competitive cooking. "The response has been bigger than we expected," said Susie Fogelson, Food Net's VP of marketing. More than 1,100 videos have already been sent in by cooks as diverse as a 14-year-old in Cleveland and a Coast Guard unit in San Francisco. As people tell their friends, it becomes viral marketing for the network. "It's definitely helping," said Doug Parker, director of Foodnetwork.com. "This is our version of the Subservient Chicken," said Ms. Fogelson, referring to Burger King's Web marketing mascot. Food Network's version is undoubtedly tastier. -JON LAFAYETTE