- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

‘Story’ a winner

Ralphie Parker’s quest for a Red Ryder BB gun and his old man’s elation over a leg lamp proved they are still a draw for TV viewers.

TBS set records last week with its 11th annual 24-hour marathon of the 1983 holiday movie “A Christmas Story,” which started at 8 p.m. Christmas Eve, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

According to the trade publication, the marathon scored its best-ever average delivery in total viewers (2.8 million) as well as in such key demographics as adults 18-34 (775,000), adults 18-49 (1.6 million) and adults 25-54 (1.5 million), based on data from Nielsen Media Research.

For the marathon’s entire 24-hour run, TBS ranked as the No. 1 ad-supported cable network and total viewers. (Ad-supported networks include most basic cable outlets with a few exceptions like Disney Channel.)

During the marathon, the most-watched airing of “Christmas” in total viewers was the first telecast (8 p.m. Dec. 24), which averaged 4.4 million viewers. The 10 p.m. telecast that followed was the most-watched among 18-34 (1.2 million), 18-49 (2.2 million) and 25-54 (2.1 million).

The 10 p.m. showing also beat all broadcast programming on Christmas Eve (8 p.m.-midnight) in the 18-34 group, the Hollywood Reporter said.

Coke inks deal

Some things really do go better with Coke.

Video-on-demand service Exercise TV has inked a two-year sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola North America, MultiChannelNews.com reported Friday.

The deal takes effect today

The service will be available to more than 20 million digital-cable subscribers through the VOD platforms offered by Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications Inc. and Bresnan Communications as well as through www.excercisetv.tv.

The exclusive content will also be presented on MyCokeRewards.com.

On tap tonight

Great Performances continues its holiday tradition, airing “The New Year’s Celebration 2008” from Vienna, Austria, tonight at 8 on WMPT-22 and WETA-26.

Walter Cronkite hosts the celebration, which features its first-ever French conductor: Georges Pretre leads the Vienna Philharmonic in a rousing selection of waltzes, polkas and marches mostly composed by the Strauss family. And yes, “The Blue Danube” waltz is on the program. There are also performances by the Vienna State Opera Ballet.

The Biggest Loser begins its fifth season tonight, also at 8, on NBC, at the perfect time to inspire the many of us with New Year’s resolutions.

The hit weight-loss-challenge show isn’t satisfied with its success. It’s shaking things up by adding a new twist: For the first time, teams of two will compete, rather than individuals, as the take-no-prisoners show asks, “They Got Fat Together, Can They Get Thin Together?”

The 10 teams include a mother and son, husband and wife, best friends, brothers and a divorced couple.

In tonight’s premiere, the teams have to pull a giant hot air balloon across a field, with the winner getting a two-pound advantage at the first weigh-in. Alison Sweeney is the host, and Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels continue as the trainers.

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

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