- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Now in the balcony

Ben Lyons, a Hollywood reporter and film critic for “E! News” and others, and Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz will take over “At the Movies” when its new season begins in September, Associated Press reports.

Longtime co-host and Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper, announced his resignation on Monday.

Don’t look for the syndicated program’s “thumbs up-thumbs down” ratings to return. Roger Ebert shares a trademark lock on it with the widow of his late co-host, Gene Siskel, and Mr. Ebert has said they’re hanging on to it.

Both Mr. Lyons and Mr. Mankiewicz have show business and media roots.

Mr. Lyons’ father is film critic Jeffrey Lyons, and his grandfather was New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons.

Mr. Mankiewicz’s grandfather, Herman Mankiewicz, won an Academy Award for the screenplay for “Citizen Kane” (with Orson Welles); his great-uncle, writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz, won Oscars for “All About Eve” and “A Letter to Three Wives” ; and cousin Tom Mankiewicz wrote several James Bond movies including “The Man with the Golden Gun” and “Diamonds are Forever.”

Short takes

— Cable’s Oxygen network has ordered a third season of its most popular original series, “The Bad Girls Club,” Multichannel.com reports. The series will bring seven new bad girls to a Hollywood mansion, where the women will try to live together despite their issues with anger, trust and control.

— Speaking of bad girls, Shannen Doherty is returning to the ZIP code that made her famous. The actress will guest-star in multiple episodes of the CW’s spinoff “90210,” premiering Sept. 2, network officials announced Monday. Miss Doherty will reprise her role as Brenda Walsh, who was last seen headed to London to study acting.

Baseball aids Fox

The last baseball All-Star game at Yankee Stadium and the most-watched midsummer classic since 2002 — at least through the first nine innings — helped Fox to a TV ratings victory.

An estimated 14.5 million people watched last week’s game for the first nine innings, much of it in prime time, according to Nielsen Media Research. The extra part of the 15-inning game, which stretched past 1 a.m. on the East Coast, was seen by 11.6 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Overall, Fox averaged 7.1 million viewers last week, AP said. CBS had 6.4 million, NBC 5.5 million and ABC 4.5 million. Following were the CW with 1.7 million, My Network TV with 990,000 and ION Television with 390,000.

For the week of July 14 through 20, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were : 1) “Major League Baseball All-Star Game,” Fox, 14.5 million; 2) “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 12.. 7 million; 3) “All-Star Pre-game Show,” Fox, 10.3 million; 4) “Criminal Minds,” CBS, 9.2 million; and 5)”So You Think You Can Dance” (Wednesday), Fox, 9 million.

On tap tonight

Black in America: The Black Woman & Family (9 p.m. CNN) — The network’s ongoing series continues tonight and tomorrow with a look at the plight of single black women, black women in interracial relationships, thrir career strides and singular accomplishments. CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien hosts.

Project Runway (10 p.m., Bravo) — Oscar-nominated actress Natalie Portman (“Closer”) is the guest judge as the remaining 15 designers are challenged to think green with their eco-friendly designs.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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