- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Emmys take 5

The reality is, there won’t be an Emmy host this year — there will be five.

The reality-TV hosts nominated in the new category that honors their work will preside over the show, Associated Press reports.

They are Tom Bergeron of “Dancing With the Stars,” Ryan Seacrest of “American Idol,” Howie Mandel of “Deal or No Deal,” Heidi Klum of “Project Runway” and Jeff Probst of “Survivor.”

“It just seemed like a perfect way to stay current with the state of television today,” said Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the Sept. 21 Emmy broadcast on ABC.

The reality hosts also have the advantage of being “extremely engaging personalities” who are comfortable onstage, Mr. Ehrlich said. “At the end of the day, this is what they do for a living.”

That could bring increased spontaneity to a ceremony that, by definition, has a certain amount of predictability, he said.

The popularity of reality shows also could provide a much-needed ratings boost: Last year’s Emmy broadcast — opposite a National Football League game — posted its second-smallest audience on record, just fewer than 13 million viewers, AP notes.

The combined ratings for the five reality shows represent a “tremendous number of viewers,” Mr. Ehrlich said. The total weekly audience for the five shows recently has averaged roughly 70 million, led by top-rated “American Idol.” The singing contest on Fox routinely had more than 20 million weekly viewers last season.

None of the reality hosts balked at sharing Emmy duties, Mr. Ehrlich said. Hosts usually fly solo; Mr. Seacrest had the job in 2007.

“They were excited by this. They got it, what a fresh idea this was and how this could be fun for them,” Mr. Ehrlich said.

CNN’s ‘Black’ scores

CNN saw strong ratings late last week from its two-part documentary, “Black in America.”

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Thursday night’s two-hour finale averaged 2.6 million viewers between 9 and 11 p.m., Nielsen Media Research says — putting CNN ahead of its competition in that time block. The show also was the second-highest-rated program in all of cable for the night among adults 25 to 54. It averaged 1.2 million viewers ages 25 to 54 and 1.2 million viewers ages 18 to 49, THR says.

The two-part, four-hour documentary — “The Black Woman and Family” (Wednesday night) and “The Black Man” (Thursday night) — was reported by Soledad O’Brien and executive produced by Mark Nelson.

No love for ‘Love’

HBO has scrapped plans for a second season of the drama “Tell Me You Love Me,” Daily Variety says.

In a statement issued Friday, series creator and executive producer Cynthia Mort said she and others were “unable to find the direction of the show for the second season” and noted “the considerable amount of time” that has passed since its first 10-segment season bowed last September.

The show, which examined the lives of three couples undergoing counseling, raised eyebrows for its steamy sexual content but was not a ratings grabber for HBO.

The premium cable network picked up “Tell Me” for a second season last October after just four airings but had yet to resume production. Its ensemble cast included Jane Alexander, Michelle Borth, Ally Walker, Tim DeKay, Adam Scott and Sonya Walger.

Dog days for Ray

Can Rachael Ray prepare gourmet treats for Fido in 30 minutes?

In the latest expansion of her culinary empire, the TV chef has launched a charity-driven line of dog foods based on recipes she has created for her pit bull, Isaboo, AP reports. A food line for cats also is planned.

Miss Ray, who rose to fame with her “30 Minute Meals” Food Network show, said all of her proceeds from sales of Rachael Ray Nutrish pet foods will go to Rachael’s Rescue, which she founded to help at-risk animals. The outspoken dog lover regularly features recipes for pet food in her magazine, Every Day With Rachael Ray.

Her pet charity group recently selected its first beneficiary, a terrier mix named Spirit that made national news earlier this month after a man was caught on videotape savagely beating it at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The dog suffered multiple fractures. Rachael’s Rescue has offered to cover all medical costs for the dog’s recovery, AP said.

On tap tonight

Eureka (9, Sci-Fi) — The network’s quirky drama-comedy series returns for a third season in a certain little town filled with big-time geniuses. Eureka is home to the top-secret research facility Global Dynamics, now the victim of a major shake-up with the arrival of cutthroat businesswoman Eva Thorne (guest star Frances Fisher) as its new boss. Her mandate: to trim scientific inquiry and maximize profit. Colin Ferguson continues as the sometimes bemused, sometimes common-sense sheriff. The series also stars Salli Richardson, Joe Morton, Ed Quinn, Jordan Hinson, Erica Cerra and Neil Grayston.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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