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Jul 31, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Leno to Fill In on ‘Ebert & Reoper’

“Tonight Show” host Jay Leno will guest host on Buena Vista Television’s syndicated movie review program “Ebert & Roeper” for the Aug. 5-6 episodes as a fill-in for Roger Ebert, who is recuperating from surgery. Usually shot in Chicago, “Ebert & Roeper” will tape this week in Los Angeles to accommodate Mr. Leno’s schedule. Along with co-host Richard Roeper, Mr. Leno will review the feature films “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Miami Vice,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “The Night Listener” and “Shadowboxer.” The following week, director Kevin Smith (“Clerks II”) will take over from Mr. Leno.

-CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA

Apple Inks Pacts for E!, WB Series on iTunes

Apple signed deals with E! and Warner Bros. last week to make TV series available on iTunes. Under the E! deal, iTunes will carry new weekly episodes of “The Soup,” “Dr. 90210,” “The Simple Life: ‘Til Death Do Us Part” and “The Girls Next Door” after that show debuts July 30. Warner Bros. library series to be carried by iTunes include “Friends,” “Babylon 5,” “The Jetsons” and “The Flintstones,” plus skits from “MADtv” and an unaired “Aquaman” pilot. The episodes are $1.99 each. Apple has sold more than 35 million videos since it introduced its video offering last fall.

-DAISY WHITNEY

Twentieth Sells `Arrested’ Three Ways

Twentieth Television has sold the syndication rights for the former Fox series “Arrested Development” to MSN, HDNet and G4, the parties announced Wednesday. The three-way deal is a unique sales model, which will ensure the show runs in high definition on one channel, in standard-definition basic cable on another and online via MSN. MSN and the networks will have the rights to all three seasons of the show for three years each. The show will begin airing this fall. For the online portion, MSN plans to build an “Arrested”-themed interactive community. TelevisionWeek reported HDNet’s portion of the “Arrested” deal July 17.

-JAMES HIBBERD

Lawmakers Propose Family Choice Cable Act

As media companies and the Advertising Council last week unveiled their $300 million public service ad campaign promoting how the v-chip can help parents control what their children watch on TV, some Congressional critics, saying the v-chip system isn’t enough, were proposing legislation requiring cable companies to offer a la carte choices to consumers. U.S. Reps. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and Tom Osborne, R-Neb., last week proposed the Family Choice Act, which would require cable providers to either adopt broadcast TV’s indecency standards from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., offer an a la carte programming option, in which subscribers wouldn’t have to pay for channels they don’t want, or allow subscribers a “family tier,” which wouldn’t include programming unsuitable for kids between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The family tier would be limited to programs not rated TV-Mature or TV-14. The two lawmakers, while praising the new v-chip campaign, said they don’t believe it will work. “The v-chip is something we applaud, but we don’t think it is the ultimate solution,” Rep. Osborne said. Rep. Lipinski called the campaign “just an attempt to push this [a la carte] issue off.”

-IRA TEINOWITZ