- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

‘Borat’ co-star on Fox

Ken Davitian will join Bernie Mac in the cast of Fox’s comedy pilot “Starting Under,” Zap2it.com reports.

The Warner Bros. TV-produced pilot features Mr. Mac as a man who has to move in with his son and start working for him.

No, Mr. Davitian will not play Mr. Mac’s son.

Despite myriad earlier roles, Mr. Davitian was relatively unknown before he exposed himself to the world as the main character’s traveling companion, Azamat Bagatov, in the 2006 blockbuster “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”

HBO nixes ‘Miles’

HBO has confirmed that it won’t air Linda Bloodworth-Thomason’s (“Designing Women,” “Evening Shade”) one-hour comedy “12 Miles of Bad Road,” starring Lily Tomlin, the Hollywood Reporter says.

For the past few weeks, the series’ executive producers, Miss Bloodworth-Thomason and her husband, Harry Thomason, have quietly been shopping the six produced episodes to other networks, including Lifetime. “12 Miles” was picked up to be a series in January 2007 but was never scheduled by HBO, raising speculations about its future at the pay cable channel.

The confirmation of the demise of “12 Miles” comes on the heels of Sunday’s announcement of Carolyn Strauss’ exit from her post as HBO president of entertainment.

“12 Miles” stars Miss Tomlin as the matriarch of a wealthy Texas family whose real estate business and absurd wealth complicate the simplest family matters. The pilot co-starred Gary Cole, Mary Kay Place, Katherine LaNasa, Kim Dickens, Eliza Coupe, Leslie Jordan, Ivana Milicevic, David Andrews, Sean Bridgers, Texas Battle and Cameron Richardson.

Short takes

m CBS will air a summer edition of its “Big Brother” reality series after its current winter edition wraps despite lower ratings than those of previous years, the Hollywood Reporter says.

• NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution cleared its two hour-long hit dramas — Fox’s “House” and USA Network’s “Monk” — on TV stations covering 99 percent of the country, Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports. Both shows will begin airing this fall in weekend broadcast syndication.

• The CW has greenlighted Richard Hatem’s drama “Wrecking Ball,” from Fox TV Studios, the Hollywood Reporter notes. The show, described as “Moonlighting” meets “Erin Brockovich,” centers on a young lawyer and scion of a famous political family who joins a smart, working-class recent law school grad to form a small firm aimed at helping those who have no place else to turn.

‘Idol’ trumps all others

Sometimes it seems “American Idol” is the only show on television.

Take last week, for instance. Each of the show’s two episodes had audiences more than twice the size of anything else on TV all week, according to data out yesterday from Nielsen Media Research.

The Tuesday competition, which featured Beatles songs, had slightly fewer than 30 million viewers, while Wednesday’s cut-down show had 27.1 million. No other program last week had more than the 13.2 million who watched “Survivor: Micronesia.”

On the negative side, Fox’s new comedy “The Return of Jezebel James” premiered Friday to a startlingly small audience of 3.2 million. Likewise, NBC’s game “Amnesia,” with 4.4 million viewers, is soon to be forgotten.

For the week, Fox averaged 11.3 million viewers, CBS had 7.6 million and NBC 7.5 million. Following were ABC with 6.1 million, the CW with 2.4 million, My Network TV with 1.2 million and ION Television with 520,000.

Univision led the Spanish-language networks with an average of 3.4 million, Telemundo had 940,000, TeleFutura 520,000 and Azteca 230,000.

For the week of March 10 through 16, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 29.8 million; 2) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 27.1 million; 3) “Survivor: Micronesia,” CBS, 13.2 million; 4) “Lost,” ABC, 12.06 million; and 5) “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” ABC, 12.05 million.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire

reports.

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