- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Well, golly

Jim Nabors figured it’s all right to go home again, especially if said home has a party ready in your honor.

Mr. Nabors, best known as television’s Gomer Pyle, was inducted into the Alabama Stage & Screen Hall of Fame over the weekend, Associated Press reports.

At the Saturday ceremony, an episode was shown from the ‘60s comedy “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” in which Mr. Nabors sang the stirring “The Impossible Dream.” Mr. Nabors, an Alabama native, told the gala audience of about 400 people that it was the first time he had seen that recording of the song.

“I really never watched myself on TV,” he said. “Now I know why.”

Mr. Nabors also played Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

The 75-year-old actor-singer entertained the audience with true-life stories, spun in Gomer’s “Can you believe this?” fashion, but choked up when talking about Carol Burnett, who helped him through health problems. He had a brush with death in the early 1990s before a liver transplant saved his life.

“Carol is like a sister to me,” he said. “Carol saved my life.”

“I could go on all night about my wonderful experiences,” he said, but he concluded simply: “It’s always good to be home.”

Fox’s pre-sweeps glow

Fox grabbed the top three slots in the weekly ratings race last week, just days before the important May sweeps period begins, Associated Press reports.

In anticipation of the upcoming ratings push, many of the most popular series were in reruns last week.

The two most popular shows were (what else?) Fox’s twin “American Idol” broadcasts. The network’s medical drama “House” rounded out the top three.

Fox also won the battle for the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic, moving into a virtual tie with ABC for the season lead in that demo, which Fox won for the first time ever last season.

Fox will crown a new “American Idol” in May, a guaranteed ratings bonanza. ABC’s arsenal isn’t empty, though, with an Oprah Winfrey special on 25 celebrated black women and season finales of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost.”

Still, CBS was again the most watched network for the week, averaging 11.9 million viewers. Fox had 9.8 million viewers, ABC had 7.9 million and NBC 7.1 million. Following were the WB with 3 million, UPN with 2.9 million and Pax TV with 390,000.

For the week of April 17 through 23, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 28.4 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 27.6 million; “House,” Fox, 22.6 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 18.8 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 16.9 million.

Foxworthy appeal

Jeff Foxworthy once starred in a floundering self-named sitcom that struggled to survive past a single season.

Then along came the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

Suddenly, the “you might be a redneck” comic is on a professional roll; witness his latest gig on CMT.

The country music network has signed Mr. Foxworthy to a 12-episode series called “Foxworthy’s Big Night Out,” a combination stand-up, sketch and musical showcase. The series is scheduled to premiere in September.

“Jeff understands and appeals to our audience like no other comic, and his kinship with country artists allows us to create a distinct comedy show with a strong country music sensibility,” says Paul Villadolid, the channel’s vice president of programming and development.

The show will be taped before a live audience in Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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