Hollywood Notes

Jun 17, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Fox’s 90-minute debut June 11 of the reality competition “American Idol: Search for a Superstar” turned in unexpected across-the-board wins in the key adult demos, households and total viewers. Billed as “Star Search” meets “The Gong Show,” “American Idol” was a good omen of things to come for Fox, since the show grew 38 percent from its first to last half-hour frames among adults 18 to 49. For the 8:30 p.m.-to-10 p.m. (ET) span, “American Idol” clocked in with top-ranked scores in adults 18 to 49 (4.8 rating/14 share), households (6.1/11) and total viewers (9.9 million), according to Nielsen Media Research. “American Idol” continued to perform well in its hour-long episode on June 12, despite its airing against the deciding game of the NBA Finals. It scored a 5.2 rating/15 share among adults 18 to 49 and 11.2 millon total viewers, good for second place after the NBA Finals in both measures.
Oprah brings `After the Show’ to Oxygen
Oprah Winfrey will be coming to Oxygen Media, the cable network for women, in “Oprah After the Show,” a daily half-hour series that will be taped each day after “The Oprah Winfrey Show” concludes. The show will debut at 7:30 p.m. (ET) Sept. 16, with two additional daily plays scheduled at 11:30 p.m. and 8:30 a.m. the following day. This season, Oxygen will air 145 episodes of “Oprah After the Show,” which will be produced by Ms. Winfrey’s Harpo Productions and taped at Harpo Studios in Chicago. Ms. Winfrey is one of the founders of Oxygen Media.
Fergie signs to host talk show
As had been expected (EM, May 13), Universal Television Enterprises has announced that Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, has signed a development deal to host “Fergie,” a one-hour syndicated talk-variety strip set to debut in the 2003-04 season. Amy Rosenblum has been tapped to develop and executive produce the series.
Brandy gets MTV reality miniseries
Singer/actress Brandy (“Moesha”) will get the “Osbournes” treatment from MTV in a reality miniseries documenting her life. “Diary Presents: Brandy-Special Delivery,” which debuts June 18, tracks the 23-year-old as she balances the demands of career and family, including impending motherhood.
Heritage adds shows
The Heritage Networks has acquired syndicated barter sales rights to “The Steve Harvey Show” and “Cosby” and will add the two series to its programming lineup for the 2002-03 season. Heritage, founded in 1993 by President Frank Mercado-Valdes, produces and acquires television programming targeted to ethnic and other niche markets.
Shatner to host Sci-Fi `Fright Night’
William Shatner will host Saturday late-night movies on Sci-Fi Channel beginning July 20. “William Shatner’s Full Moon Fright Night” will feature what the network calls “13 not-quite-Oscar-caliber horror films from the vaults of B-picture specialist Full Moon Pictures.” Titles include “Killjoy,” “Ragdoll” and “Shrunken Heads.”
Showtime gets `Daddy and Them’ rights
Showtime Networks has acquired U.S. premiere rights to “Daddy and Them,” a Miramax film written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars along with Laura Dern, Diane Ladd, Kelly Preston, Andy Griffith, Brenda Blethyn and the late Jim Varney. Jamie Lee Curtis and Ben Affleck make cameo appearances. The film, a tale of murder and family set in Arkansas, will premiere in 2003.
Original series added to Fine Living
Fine Living will add a half-hour series, “Simplify Your Life,” and a new one-hour special, “Born American,” about American culture, to its fall lineup. On “Simplify Your Life,” experts will show viewers how to organize and make their lives easier. The network has picked up four of its most popular shows-“Radical Sabbatical,” “Your Private Island,” “The Genuine Article” and “Breathing Room.”