- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lopez new ‘Extra’ host

Former “Saved by the Bell star and “Dancing With the Stars” runner-up Mario Lopez will be the host of “Extra” when the syndicated entertainment show begins its new season on Sept. 15., Variety reports.

A former weekend co-host on “Extra,” Mr. Lopez, 34 — who recently appeared in a Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line” — will jump to the weekday edition as solo emcee. He replaces current co-hosts Dayna Devon, who will become a correspondent, and Mark McGrath, who leaves the show to return to a music career.

“Extra” begins its 15th season in the fall and airs in more than 95 percent of the country. It airs locally on WJLA-ABC7.

‘Extreme’ foreclosure

More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” team demolish a family’s decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling four-bedroom minimansion in 2005.

Three years later, the reality TV show’s most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis, Associated Press reports.

After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it’s set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County, Ga., Courthouse on Tuesday. The couple told Atlanta’s WSB-TV the loan was used for a construction business that failed.

The house was built in January 2005 after Atlanta-based Beazer Homes USA and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover” demolished the old house and its faulty septic system. Within six days, construction crews and hordes of volunteers had completed work on the largest home the television program had built to that date.

The finished product was a four-bedroom house with decorative rock walls and a three-car garage that towered over ranch and split-level homes in the neighborhood. Beazer Homes employees and company partners also raised $250,000 in contributions for the family, including scholarships for the couple’s three children and a home-maintenance fund.

ABC said in a statement that it advises each family to consult a financial planner after getting its new home.

Some of the volunteers who helped build the home were less than thrilled about the family’s financial decisions.

“It’s aggravating. It just makes you mad. You do that much work, and they just squander it,” Lake City Mayor Willie Oswalt, who helped vault a massive beam into place in the Harpers’ living room, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Another show switch

CBS’ “Big Brother” is swapping slots with “Greatest American Dog,” marking the second time in recent weeks the network has made a midsummer correction.

According to Variety, “Big Brother” is heading back to Thursdays at 8 p.m., where its elimination episode has aired in years past. That means “Dog,” which had been in that slot, will air on Wednesdays.

“Dog” has had a rough go on Thursdays. The show’s most recent segment fell behind Fox’s “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader” and tied with NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in the hour.

“Brother,” on the other hand, saw its Wednesday ratings increase last week, including a 17 percent bump among adults 18 to 49.

CBS’ previous decision to swap the time slots of “Flashpoint” and “Swingtown” already has paid off — at least for “Flashpoint”: The show won its first Thursday 10 p.m. outing both in viewers 18 to 49 and in total viewers. “Swingtown,” however, dropped 13 percent from its most recent Thursday performance, the Hollywood Reporter says. The show drew 4.5 million viewers and had its second-lowest episode to date, THR says.

Mad about ‘Mad’

Sunday’s second-season debut of AMC’s critically acclaimed series “Mad Men” drew a network record of 1.9 million viewers, more than doubling the viewership average for the show’s freshman season, Multichannel.com says.

The series, which centers on the exploits of 1960s advertising executives, bested the 915,000 average number of viewers for its 13-episode freshman campaign during its 2007 season, according to AMC officials.

Reality, news tops

In other ratings news, reality shows, newsmagazines and reruns of scripted series dominated prime-time schedules last week, so that’s what viewers watched.

NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” took first place, followed by ABC’s new unscripted hit, “Wipeout.” A repeat of the sitcom “Two and a Half Men” was third and then, also on CBS, “60 Minutes,” AP reported Tuesday, citing data from Nielsen Media Research.

For the week, CBS averaged 6.1 million viewers. Runner-up Fox had 5.5 million viewers, while NBC had 5.3 million viewers. ABC had 4.3 million viewers, and the CW had 1.5 million viewers. Following were My Network TV with 1 million viewers and ION Television with 370,000 viewers.

Among the Spanish-language channels, Univision led with 3.3 million viewers, Telemundo had 1.2 million viewers, TeleFutura 440,000 viewers and Azteca 110,000 viewers.

For the week of July 21 through 27, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 13.2 million; 2) “Wipeout,” ABC, 9.9 million; 3) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 9.7 million; 4) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 9.5 million; and 5) “So You Think You Can Dance” (Wednesday), Fox, 8.6 million

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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