- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Shield’ additions

Michael Pena, most recently seen in the Oscar-nominated “Million Dollar Baby,” is joining the cast of “The Shield,” Reuters News Agency reports.

Mr. Pena will appear in at least 12 episodes of the gritty cop drama’s upcoming season. He’ll play Army, a former Marine reservist who is pursuing a career in law enforcement.

The actor joins Glenn Close and Howard University alumnus Anthony Anderson as recent additions to the celebrated show’s squad.

Playoffs, ‘Idol’ tops

CBS got a ratings booster shot last week — as if the perennially top-rated network needed one — from the NFL playoffs.

CBS attracted more than 44 million viewers for its AFC Championship game Sunday night and received similarly strong numbers for its new drama, “Numb3rs,” which followed, Associated Press reports.

The game, pitting the New England Patriots against the Pittsburgh Steelers, was the most-watched broadcast of the season, and “Numb3rs” was the season’s most-watched premiere. The drama moves into its regular 10 p.m. Friday slot tomorrow.

In the first 18 weeks of the season, CBS has been first in overall prime-time viewers 16 times.

Fox also had plenty to smile about with the return of “American Idol,” which attracted 33 million viewers.

Over at NBC, Donald Trump’s third round of “The Apprentice” cracked the top 20, coming in at 14th place.

For the week, CBS averaged 16.3 million viewers (10.3 household rating, 16 share), while Fox had 12 million viewers (7 rating, 11 share). NBC had 10.8 million viewers (7.1 rating, 11 share), and ABC 10 million viewers (6.4 rating, 10 share). The WB had 3.13 million viewers (2.1 rating, 3 share), UPN 3.05 million viewers (2.0 rating, 3 share), and Pax TV 700,000 viewers (0.5 rating, 1 share).

A ratings point represents 1.096 million households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 109.6 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Jan. 17 through 23, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships were: AFC Championship: New England at Pittsburgh, CBS, 44.3 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 33.6 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 26.7 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 26 million; AFC Championship post-game show, CBS, 25.8 million.

Back to school

Television’s only all-black reality show returns tonight for its sophomore season.

Black Entertainment Television’s “College Hill,” which follows the lives of eight college students attending Langston University in Oklahoma, begins its new run at 9 p.m.

The show’s January 2004 debut gave BET its highest-rated series premiere in the cable network’s 25 year history.

The new wrinkle this season is an off-campus housing arrangement, which allows the students to lounge around at a Western-themed ranch.

Model talk

Chameleonlike supermodel-turned-actress Tyra Banks is morphing once more, this time becoming a talk-show host.

“The Tyra Banks Show” is scheduled to debut this fall on 19 Fox-owned stations, including the District’s Fox 5, Reuters News Agency reports.

Yes, she’ll interview famous guests. But Miss Banks told Reuters she doesn’t want her show to be “celebrity heavy.” “I want the focus to be on real issues affecting women today,” she said.

Miss Banks, who starred on the big screen in such films as “Coyote Ugly” and “Love & Basketball,” most recently created UPN’s hit reality series “America’s Next Top Model,” on which she also serves as a judge.

Other potential talkers being shopped around at this week’s National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Las Vegas include Sony Pictures Television’s “The Robin Quivers Show” and Twentieth Television’s “The Suze Orman Show.”

The ‘Exonerated’ speak

Court TV’s film division gets a boost tonight as five seasoned film actors gather for a new legal drama.

“The Exonerated,” debuting at 9 p.m., features Susan Sarandon, Aidan Quinn, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover and Delroy Lindo. The original tele-picture tells the true stories of six people wrongly convicted and sentenced to death. The film eschews sets and other flourishes to tell its haunting tales with dialogue taken straight from court transcripts.

The film stems from an off-Broadway play of the same name that debuted two years ago and has drawn a stream of well-known actors — from Robin Williams to Richard Dreyfuss — to inhabit its characters.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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