June 2012

Winning! Sheen's 'Anger Management' Sets Ratings Record

The debut on Thursday night, June 28, 2012 of Charlie Sheen's new sticom "Anger Management" on FX "was the most-watched scripted comedy primetime series premiere in cable history in delivery of adults 18-49 (2.65 million), and total viewers (5.47 million, excluding children’s programming)," according to a press release.

The press release continues, "It also ranks as the most-watched series premiere in FX history in total viewers. Episode 2 of 'Anger Management' (9:30P) grew to 5.74 million total viewers, and the demo also grew in the second half hour to 2.89 million A18-49.

"The season two premiere of 'Wilfred' and season three premiere of 'Louie' posted significant growth over their prior season averages – ('Wilfred' +71% and 'Louie' +55% in total viewers). Last night’s season premieres for both of those series were the second highest-rated episodes in their history and will likely be their highest-rated episodes ever when Live+7 data is available in three weeks.

"And the series premiere of FX’s new late night comedy 'BrandX' with Russell Brand got off to a good start in the 11P time slot with 1.1 million total viewers and 687,000 adults 18-49, which marked respective increases of +32% and +38% vs. FX time-period average.

"(Source: The Nielsen Company, Live+Same Day, Fast Nationals, subject to change)"

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Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to Divorce

Hollywood power couple Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are ending their marriage of five years, People magazine reports. Holmes has reportedly filed for divorce.

Holmes' attorney, Jonathan Wolfe, said: "This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family. Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest."

A rep for Cruise told the publication: "Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children. Please allow them their privacy."

The couple married in November 2006 and have a 6-year-old daughter, Suri. It was Holmes’ first marriage. Cruise was previously married twice, to actresses Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers.

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Supermodel Out as Host of NBC's 'Fashion Star'

NBC's "Fashion Star" is removing the fashion star host of the show, reports the New York Post. The shakeup in the prime-time show has supermodel Elle Macpherson stepping aside as the program's host.

The three judges -- Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos and Nicole Richie -- have been retained.

Although no longer hosting, Macpherson told the newspaper she is still linked to the show. “I have been involved with ‘Fashion Star’ from the beginning, and am very proud to see it come to life, not only in America but globally,” Macpherson said. “The show is in great hands, and although I will not be hosting this season, I will still be very involved [and] will be reviewing the format for the upcoming season.”

elle-macpherson.jpgElle Macpherson

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Summer Ratings Doldrums: Splashy ABC Summer Premiere Wipes Out, While a Spanish-Language Network Wins the Night

A Spanish-language broadcast network won the night Thursday in the key 18-49 demo for prime time, according to Nielsen overnights, while an ABC summer staple premiered to numbers that were well off from the show’s previous season premiere, TVbytheNumbers.com reports.

Univision inched its way ahead of the big 4 broadcasters, claiming the win with a 1.4 average rating for prime time in viewers 18-49, ahead of ABC (1.3 average), CBS (1.3), Fox (1.1) and NBC (1.0). CBS, despite airing an all-repeat lineup, came out on top in total viewers with 6.5 million, ahead of ABC (5.0 million), NBC (4.3 million), Univision (3.6 million) and Fox (2.6 million).

ABC had its season premiere of summer reality series “Wipeout” at 9 p.m., settling for a 1.9 average in 18-49 -- down 21% from last summer’s premiere. Elsewhere on ABC, the news was even worse: A series-low 1.0 for “Duets” and a season-low 1.1 for “Rookie Blue.”

Fox got weak results for “Take Me Out” -- a 1.0 average in the 18-49 demo, down 17% from a week ago -- and “The Choice” -- a 1.2, down 20% from last week.

NBC started off with a 1.7 in 18-49 for the U.S. Olympic Trials coverage (subject to the usual adjustment for live sports), but fell to a 0.7 for “Saving Hope” (which was way up, 40%, from a week ago) and a par 0.8 for “Rock Center.”

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Grammy Winner Pleads Guilty to Evading Taxes After Years of 'Withdrawal From Society'

A Grammy-winning singer entered a guilty plea today in federal court in Newark, N.J., on three counts of failing to file income tax returns, Reuters reports.

Lauryn Hill, known for her Grammy-winning 1998 album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” “pleaded guilty to failing to file federal returns between 2005 and 2007, despite an income of more than $1.8 million primarily from film and recording royalties,” the story reports.

The rapper and R&B star, a former member of the hip-hop group Fugees, is set for sentencing in November. She was released on $150,000 bail, the story notes.

The report adds: “Hill responded to the charges earlier this month in a lengthy statement, saying she had chosen to ‘defer’ payments during a period of withdrawal from society to protect her family's safety.”

lauryn-hill-2004.jpgLauryn Hill in 2004

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On Eve of His Wedding, Alec Baldwin Gets Into Another Fracas With a Photographer -- While Other Photogs Snap Away

“30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin let off a little pre-wedding steam this morning at the expense of a photographer outside his apartment in New York’s West Village, the New York Daily News reports.

While other photographers and video operators documented the confrontation, Baldwin got physical with camera guy Brian Prahl of Splash News. Baldwin held a large pink stuffed animal under one arm throughout the encounter.

Baldwin can be seen on video grabbing Prahl’s arm. TMZ.com posted video of the encounter, while the Daily News published a number of still shots.

The Daily News says Baldwin and his fiancee, Hilaria Thomas, found a parking ticket on their car just before the fracas erupted.

“Baldwin, unshaven and wearing sunglasses, became incensed when the photographer swore at one of his neighbors and blocked the entrance to their building, according to a source,” the story reports.

Baldwin can be heard on video saying, “I want you out of here,” and, "I want you to shut the f**k up ... leave my neighbor alone ... get outta here,” according to TMZ.

The website reports: “At one point, at the beginning of the confrontation, It sounds like Alec says to the photog, ‘I know you got raped by a priest or something.’"

Baldwin can be heard saying, “You little girl,” before walking away from Prahl.

Baldwin also got into a hassle earlier this month while he was out with Thomas to pick up their marriage license, as we reported previously. A Daily News photographer has reportedly accused Baldwin of punching him during that encounter.

Baldwin and Thomas are reportedly set to be married Saturday.

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Supreme Court Will Not Review 'Wardrobe Malfunction' Decision

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it will not review a lower court decision that tossed the FCC’s $550,000 fine against CBS over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, according to TheWrap.com.

The FCC now faces the possibility of having to refund the fine to CBS.

A federal appeals court threw out the fine twice -- in 2008 and again in 2011 after a Supreme Court ruling in a different case held that the FCC had leeway to regulate broadcast indecency.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts agreed with the other justices that the court would deny the review. But in a separate statement, Roberts indicated he was not completely sold on the logic behind the lower court's ruling. "Any future 'wardrobe malfunctions' will not be protected," Roberts said.

In a statement, a CBS spokesperson said: "We are gratified to finally put this episode behind us. It’s been more than eight years since we expressed deep regret for the Super Bowl halftime show. As observers of this issue are aware, at that time we took immediate steps to implement delays on all live entertainment programs so that we could safeguard against similar incidents of unintended and spontaneous snippets of live broadcasts. Since then, all we ever sought was an affirmation of the long established policy of balanced, consistent and deliberate indecency enforcement the FCC had followed for decades before the incident.”

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Infomercial Guru Behind Ginsu Knives, Miracle Slicer and Other Products Dies

The infomercial pioneer who introduced television viewers to Ginsu knives has died, reports the Associated Press. Barry Becher was 71.

Becher brought TV viewers devices such as the Miracle Slicer and Armourcote Cookware, with TV ads that urged viewers to act fast because supplies were limited, the story notes.

He had been suffering from kidney cancer and died Friday from complications from surgery, the story notes.

Becher was operating two AAMCO franchises in Rhode Island when he met Ed Valenti, who became his business partner.

"They drove the same Datsun 240Z, had wives who were schoolmates, shared a passion for sales and became fast friends. They decided they wanted to find a product they could market through an extended TV commercial, the way some records were sold," the story notes.

Becher found a mohair bristled paint pad that prevented splatter, but Madison Avenue firms rejected it, the story notes. They ended up producing their ad themselves with a joint company they ran out of Becher's garage. Their two-minute commercial debuted the Miracle Painter.

Ginsu, however, remained the pair's best-known product, with millions sold from the commercial's debut in 1978 through the early 1980s.

Here’s a clip of the original ad:

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NBC Reportedly Wants to Protect Savannah Guthrie From Wrath of Ann Curry Fans

NBC reportedly wants to protect Savannah Guthrie, the new co-host of "Today," from the wrath of Ann Curry fans who are upset at Curry's ouster from the show, reports The New York Times' Media Decoder.

Thousands of Ann Curry fans posted angry comments online. Because of that, Guthrie will be introduced "relatively quietly, with little of the fanfare that accompanied Ms. Curry’s elevation to the role one year ago or Meredith Vieira’s arrival in 2006," the story notes. Guthrie has been the co-host of the 9 a.m. hour of "Today" for the past year.

The change likely won't be announced on-air until July 9, the piece adds. As of Thursday night, Guthrie hadn't signed a contract to become the co-host of the 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours, although it's seen as inevitable, according to the article. Guthrie will fill in for Curry this morning (June 29).

As previously reported, Curry gave an emotional farewell yesterday as she sat on the couch with co-host Matt Lauer and the rest of the show's regulars.

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Katie Couric Responds to Ann Curry's 'Today' Farewell

Former “Today” host Katie Couric commented on Thursday’s farewell to the NBC morning show by Ann Curry, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Couric said the goodbye "really broke my heart" because "I know she’s suffering and is feeling a lot of pain with this transition, and I know that it’s really hard for everyone on the show," the story reports.

Couric was speaking during a Spreecast video chat.

Curry worked at “Today" since 1997, and replaced Meredith Vieira as co-host about a year ago. Vieira replaced Couric when she left the morning show in 2006 to become the anchor of "CBS Evening News."

"I do think Ann is a great reporter and loves covering those important international stories, as she said this morning, what’s going on in Syria and the face of the new poor in this country," Couric said. "And I think she cares deeply about those issues, and I think that she’ll do a great job in that venue."

Couric said that while she wasn't aware of the behind-the-scenes moves that led to Curry's exit, she thought Curry did a "good job."

"For whatever reason, and I’m not on the inside anymore, they didn’t feel that the show was on all four cylinders or everybody was clicking properly," Couric said.

Couric's syndicated talk show will debut on ABC stations in September.

A video of Curry's tearful farewell to "Today" can be seen here.

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