- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Online soap a hit

Less than halfway through its 80-day run, “Prom Queen,” the daily teen-aimed online soap from Michael Eisner’s new production firm, is showing signs of becoming a modest hit, MediaWeek.com reports.

According to Vuguru — the Eisner-backed Web production firm that is churning out 80 90-second episodes of “Prom Queen” in as many days — the short-form series is averaging roughly 200,000 views a day and has accumulated more than 5.2 million views since its April 2 debut. Relevant benchmarks are hard to come by in this uncharted space, but the show’s daily audience is equivalent to a low-rated cable series. It’s much smaller than individual clips of popular YouTube “series,” such as Lonelygirl15, which sometimes yield more than a million views.

Yet, a number that’s sure to be encouraging to Vuguru (and the producers of the movie “Hairspray,” a “Prom Queen” sponsor) is the 18,000-plus friends that “Prom Queen” has garnered. MySpace, one of several outlets where fans can stream the show, accounts for nearly 3.7 million of the views generated to date, making the site far and away the leading distributor. (MySpace gets each episode 12 hours before other sites do.)

The Veoh network, which hosts a “Prom Queen” channel, has generated the second-largest number of views (854,653), followed by YouTube (232,382) and PromQueen.tv. Other sites streaming the soap are StarStyle.com and Ellegirl.com, plus Verizon’s V Cast platform. Mobile streaming figures are not included in these numbers.

Couric moles sought

Did Bob Schieffer and Lesley Stahl smear fellow CBS news anchor Katie Couric in a Philadelphia Inquirer column by Gail Shister?

An insider told the New York Daily News the veteran journalists were unnamed sources in the column, the Denver Post reports. “Lesley totally dismisses Katie, and Bob’s leaking is excessive,” the insider reportedly said.

However, a CBS rep said, “We find it impossible to believe that journalists of this stature would engage in such petty behavior.”

‘Grey’s‘ star in PSA

Actor Isaiah Washington’s ongoing penance for uttering a homosexual slur will now include his appearance in a public service announcement on behalf of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Associated Press reports.

The “Grey’s Anatomy” star ran into trouble at the Golden Globe Awards in January after he used an anti-homosexual slur during a backstage press conference while denying he’d used it previously against castmate T.R. Knight. Last October, People magazine reported that Mr. Washington had reportedly used the slur during an on-set dustup with co-star Patrick Dempsey. Mr. Knight admitted that he was homosexual after the incident.

After being criticized by GLAAD and the ABC network, Mr. Washington issued an apology and sought counseling.

Grim future for ‘Studio’

“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,” NBC’s highly touted but low-rated drama, has been on hiatus since mid-February. But it will return to the network’s Thursday lineup in place of “ER” at 10 p.m. on May 24, MediaWeek.com reports.

The long-running “ER” wraps its current season on May 17, and the six remaining episodes of “Studio 60” are considered a burn-off measure rather than an aggressive programming maneuver. To date, “Studio 60,” which debuted last fall, is considered one of the biggest disappointments of the season, with an average 8.5 million viewers (No. 69 out of 195 entries), according to data from Nielsen Media Research. It is not expected to return next season when NBC makes its fall prime-time schedule announcement on May 14.

Comics to film

Just in time for tomorrow’s big-screen premiere of “Spider-Man 3,” cable’s Starz channel is airing an all-day marathon of comic-book-inspired films beginning at 8 this morning. The lineup includes “Sin City,” “Blade” and “Underworld: Evolution” — and there’s also a special “making-of” featurette about the new Spidey film.

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

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