- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 16, 2007

Big win for 'Weeds'

Showtime’s strategy of packaging its original series in a programming block brought the premium cable network early dividends Monday night, Broadcasting & Cable magazine notes.

The third-season premiere of Showtime’s acclaimed “Weeds” performed 43 percent better than the show’s season-two opener — and the series premiere of “Californication” (which followed) held on to a very respectable 66.5 percent of its “Weeds”lead-in.

“Weeds” averaged 824,000 viewers at 10 p.m., the biggest audience ever for a single telecast of the suburban-set marijuana drama, which stars Mary Louise Parker as a morally conflicted drug-dealing mom. A replay at 11 p.m. drew 390,000 viewers.

Meanwhile, Showtime’s series premiere of “Californication,” the dark comedy starring David Duchovny, averaged 550,000 viewers in the 10:30 p.m. slot — 49 percent more than “Weeds' ” own series premiere in 2005 (488,000).

A “Californication”replay at 11:30 p.m. pulled in 245,000 viewers, B&C; says.

Sci Fi axes ‘Jane’

Sci Fi Channel is pulling the plug on “Painkiller Jane.”

The female-centered action-hero series starring Kristanna Loken is wrapping production on its 22-episode first-season order, which will run as planned. Sixteen episodes have aired so far, with the season and series finale slated for Sept. 21, Hollywood Reporter says.

The cancellation of “Jane” comes on the heels of the strong Friday premiere of another Sci Fi series based on a comic strip, “Flash Gordon,” which scored the channel’s best series-premiere numbers this year.

Inconvenient ‘Truth’

Would you tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but?

What if half a million dollars were on the line?

Those are questions Fox hopes to answer with “Nothing but the Truth,” the hit Colombian game show it’s bringing stateside.

The series — which asks such personal questions as “have you ever lied to get a job, do you like your mother-in-law, and have you ever cheated on your spouse — is also being produced in 23 other countries, including Great Britain, France and Italy.

The host of the Fox incarnation (who has not been announced) will ask contestants 21 increasingly personal questions. A lie detector test will be used to determine the veracity of their answers. If they’re telling the truth, they can win up to $500,000. Friends and family will be on hand to watch.

According to ratings data, more than half the country tunes in each night in Colombia. Given that, the series could end more relationships than Fox’s classic “Temptation Island” from 2001.

“Nothing but the Truth” is the brainchild of Howard Schultz, who also created “Extreme Makeover.” No word yet on when the series will premiere.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Kelly Jane Torrance from staff, Web and wire reports.

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