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Hollywood Notes

Oct 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

The Michigan Court of Appeals last week overturned the $29 million judgment entered against “The Jenny Jones Show” in 1999 that stemmed from the murder of one guest, Scott Amedure, by another guest, Jonathan Schmitz. The court held that the show “had no duty to anticipate and prevent the act of murder committed by Schmitz three days after leaving [the] studio and hundreds of miles away,” and ordered the trial court to enter judgment on behalf of the show and its production company, Telepictures Productions. “We are deeply gratified by the court’s ruling,” said Telepictures President Jim Paratore. “This important victory, however, in no way diminishes the tragedy of Scott Amedure’s death. We continue to extend our deepest sympathy to the Amedure family for their terrible loss.”
UPN stays in the `Zone’
UPN has given a nine-episode extension order to the freshman remake of “The Twilight Zone,” making a full season’s 22-episode order. The decision to extend the order on the sci-fi anthology series is based on what UPN says is 73 percent retention from the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) Tuesday lead-in of “Enterprise” among total viewers (3.89 million vs. 5.32 million), according to Nielsen Media Research national data. Network officials said “Twilight Zone’s” 1.7 rating/4 share average in adults 18 to 49 is maintaining 68 percent retention from “Enterprise” (2.5/7) for the first four weeks of the 2002-03 season. Last season, before the cancellation of “Special Unit 2,” that series had maintained only 56 percent retention of “Enterprise’s” demo score.
NBC cancels `Providence’
After a five-year run and two years of down-trending in the key female adult ratings NBC is ending “Providence’s” network run with a two-hour series finale Friday, Dec. 20 (8 p.m. to 10 p.m., ET). At the same time, NBC confirmed back-nine-episode orders for Sunday dramas “American Dreams” and “Boomtown.” NBC also picked up the back nine episodes of Tuesday comedy “Hidden Hills,” which has averaged a 5.2 rating among adults 18 to 49 and 11.4 million total viewers.
The cancellation of “Providence” was not entirely unexpected, since NBC ordered only 13 episodes this season in the hopes of seeing a ratings spike. However, the series opened the first three weeks of this season at a 2.7 rating/9 share average in adults 18 to 49, off 13 percent from what it was averaging in the comparable year-ago span, according Nielsen. An NBC spokeswoman said the network has yet to decide how to fill the time slot.
Syndie hours soar in ratings
Despite competition from baseball playoffs, weekly syndicated hours received a jolt of energy for the week ending Oct. 13 as seven of the top series hit season highs. “Entertainment Tonight” weekend jumped 17 percent to a 3.5 Nielsen Media Research household rating. “Off-network runs of “The Practice” came in second with a 22 percent rise to a 2.8. “ER” took third with a 13 percent hike to a 2.6. “Mutant X” won the battle of first-run action hours at a 2.3, a 10 percent climb. “Extra” weekend rose 11 percent to a 2.1. “Andromeda” grew 5 percent to a 2.1. Rookie action hour “She Spies” earned a 2.0 rating for a 5 percent bloom. Among rookie strips, “Celebrity Justice” was the only one to hit a new high, continuing to grow with an 8 percent jump to a 1.4 for the week.
Rhea oversees talent hunt
Talk show host Caroline Rhea will conduct a nationwide talent search through November with the launch of “Now That’s Talent.” Performers from all genres ranging from dancers to singers to stand-up comedians will be able to submit a three-minute videotape to show producers or travel to select cities to take part in open casting calls hosted by Ms. Rhea. The winner will be awarded the opening slot for Rhea’s own stand-up act at a venue in the winner’s hometown and will be presented with a 2002 Dodge Durango SLT.