- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 1, 2006

Brody bites back

“The O.C.’s” Adam Brody isn’t just a handsome young actor with a sweet gig. He’s a budding filmmaker looking to sink his teeth into something just as juicy as his Fox drama.

He’ll get that chance with a new project at NBC he’s developing about a rookie cop who joins a special unit of the Los Angeles Police Department that tracks the vampire population, the Reuters news agency reports.

He will serve as an executive producer of the untitled project, which has received a script commitment from the network. Mr. Brody, who plays the privileged yet socially awkward Seth Cohen on Fox’s teen soap show, most recently co-starred in the hit summer feature “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.” Elsewhere on the feature side, he is co-producing a remake of “Revenge of the Nerds” for Fox Searchlight.

The original “Nerds” starred Robert Carradine and proved a modest hit upon its release in 1984.

Sleuth TV dawns

Mystery fans now have a televised home to call their own.

NBC Universal Cable Entertainment’s Sleuth debuted yesterday. The 24-hour entertainment cable channel is dedicated to the crime, mystery and suspense genre.

The channel began its life with more than 5 million subscribers, courtesy of a distribution deal with Time Warner Cable, the first outlet to carry Sleuth.

Among the shows already lined up for the new channel include “MIami Vice,” “The A-Team” and “Knight Rider.” Sleuth will show feature length films as well, and the channel is promising airings of “The Jackal,” “Casino,” “Sneakers” and “Mercury Rising” in its early days.

Lost’s‘ drunk duo

Two stars of the hit ABC show “Lost” were arraigned on charges of drunken driving late last week nearly a month after the actresses were arrested in separate cars, Associated Press reports.

Cynthia Watros, 37, who plays Libby on the castaway drama, planned to return to court Jan. 12 to plead guilty, according to her attorney, Lanson Kupau.

“She’s made a mistake. She’s very remorseful and she wants to take responsibility for her actions,” Mr. Kupau said in an interview.

A March 30 trial was set for Michelle Rodriguez, who plays police officer Ana Lucia. Her attorney, Steve Barta, declined to comment.

The actresses were driving separate cars when they were arrested Dec. 1 within 15 minutes of each other. Their vehicles had been spotted weaving in Kailua, on the island of Oahu. “Lost” is shot in Hawaii.

Both failed field sobriety tests and were released on $500 bail, police said.

Miss Rodriguez pleaded no contest in Los Angeles to three traffic violations in 2004, including drunken driving. She completed a three-month alcohol program and is serving a three-year probation term.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles planned to ask a court for a probation violation hearing.

Miss Rodriguez, 27, was also cited for speeding in Hawaii three times this year.

ESPN breaks record

ESPN’s Dan Patrick might dub the network’s ratings in 2005 with his trademark “good.” Fellow anchor Stuart Scott would certainly say they rate a hearty “boo-yah.”

The sports franchise’s networks as a whole scored a record in total day and primetime last year, Reuters reports. Total-day viewership for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic and ESPNews averaged a record 971,000 households. Primetime viewership averaged 2 million households. Although ESPN was down slightly in 2005, ESPN2 had its most-viewed year ever, according to data released by Nielsen Media Research.

ESPN Classic also enjoyed increases in total day, with a 36 percent rise compared with 2004. The fourth quarter was the channel’s best quarter in viewers in its history.

ESPN’s total-day viewership dropped 3 percent, to 797,000 from 820,000. Although it had a strong first quarter, the second quarter was weaker. ESPN recovered, notching its highest-rated quarter ever with a 1.6 rating thanks to baseball’s divisional playoffs, NFL’s “Sunday Night Football” and the Ohio State-Penn State college football game. “Sunday Night Football” also has continued strong for ESPN.

Among adults 18 to 49, ESPN declined to 446,000 viewers from 475,000.

Ratings for live editions of ESPN’s signature show, “SportsCenter,”were flat or slightly down.

Conversely, ESPN2 increased to 287,000 viewers from 279,000. Viewership in adults 18 to 49 fell by 2,000 viewers to 133,000.

It was ESPNews’ most-viewed year as well, the network said.

Compiled by Christian Toto from Web and wire reports.

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