- The Washington Times - Monday, August 10, 2009

The end for ‘24’?

The upcoming season of “24” might be its last, according to Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, says TVWeek.com, citing a report from iFmagazine.com.

The upcoming season is the last covered by the show’s current contract, and although star Kiefer Sutherland remains enthusiastic, Mr. Reilly said he is unsure of the show’s fate. However, he said there is still a chance of the show continuing past this season or the making of a “24” movie.

“It’s our last contractual season of ‘24,’” Mr. Reilly said, discussing the issue with iF’s contributing writer Abbie Bernstein at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in Pasadena, Calif.

“There are a lot of moving parts, so we’re not sure what will happen after that. We haven’t made any decision whether it’s back or not [after this season],” Mr. Reilly said. “The producers are passionate, Kiefer is passionate, and we don’t have any of them looking to jump ship. It’s a show we’re really proud of. It’s going to come down to a business decision. It’s not an inexpensive show on the network books, and we also want to finish strong. This is not a show we want to prop up. It will be a whole creative and business discussion and something we’ll have to deal with over the next few months.”

While there has been some slippage in “24’s” ratings, creatively, the show is coming off one of its strongest seasons yet. Also, according to Forbes, of all the shows on TV in prime time, only “American Idol” — also on Fox -gets higher ad rates for its commercials than does “24.”

There’s no doubt, however, that “24” is expensive to produce, and the networks are facing a poor ad market.

‘Week’ topples ‘Press’

For the first time in a decade, ABC’s “This Week” is on top of NBC’s “Meet the Press” in a clean ratings fight.

According to Associated Press, it was June 1999 when ABC’s show last beat NBC’s program in a contest without substitute hosts, sports pre-emptions or presidential visits.

The Aug. 2 program with George Stephanopoulos scored a narrow ratings win over David Gregory. Nielsen Media Research says 2.8 million people watched “This Week” that Sunday, while 2.77 million watched “Meet the Press.”

It’s an ominous sign for Mr. Gregory, who replaced Sunday morning’s longtime king, the late Tim Russert, notes AP. However, it’s not a complete surprise, since the margin between the two shows has been steadily narrowing since the beginning of the year.

Rihanna on ‘Leno’

“The Jay Leno Show” will kick off its premiere episode Sept. 14 with musical guests Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West, Variety reports.

Jay-Z will perform “Run This Town,” off his new album “The Blueprint 3,” with Rihanna and Mr. West.

Other guests are forthcoming for the premiere, Variety says.

Last week, Mr. Leno told reporters his new show will feature musical guests at least once or twice a week, but they wouldn’t be a major part of the show (and unlike most late-night talk shows, they won’t appear at the back end of an episode).

“Jay Leno” is also set to include a diet of celebrities, regular segments and pre-taped pieces from correspondents, Variety notes.

Abdul moving on

Add ABC to the list of TV networks whose executives would like former “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul to save the next dance for them, the New York Daily News reports.

ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson said Saturday he called her right after he heard about her exit from Fox’s “American Idol” to say she’d be welcome anytime on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”

“She’s a friend, so I just called her to wish her the best,” he said. “And I told her we’d love to have her on ‘Dancing’- as a judge, a guest star or a contestant.

“She’s a huge talent. I think there’s a sensitivity and a kind of emotion to her that balances out ‘Idol.’ And we’d love to get a piece of that. It would be great.”

He did not indicate whether Miss Abdul had responded to his offer.

She has been fairly quiet since she announced Tuesday night via Twitter that she would not be returning to “Idol,” where she was a judge for eight years. Since then, she has posted just a few other messages, none about her future.

But she has no shortage of options. Nigel Lythgoe, producer of “So You Think You Can Dance” on Fox, has already extended a public offer, al though he told TV writers this week it’s unlikely his show is looking for a new permanent judge.

‘Today’s‘ new Style

NBC’s “Today” has teamed up with Comcast-owned Style to deliver “Tips Today,” a lifestyle series that will run on the cable network at 10 p.m. Saturdays.

The half-hour series, which began this past Saturday has a 13-episode order to repackage and expand wedding, beauty, fashion and home decor segments originally featured on “Today.” According to Variety, the show will be hosted by Style’s Jeannie Mai (“How Do I Look?”) and Thom Filicia (“Dress My Nest”) along with Natalie Morales of “Today.”

“Topics covered on ‘Today’ are a natural fit for Style’s female audience,” Style president Salaam Coleman Smith tells Variety.

More ‘Today’ fodder

Celebrity mom Kate Gosselin will be on the “Today” show Monday (7 a.m., WRC-NBC4) for her first TV interview since she and her husband, Jon, announced their separation in June, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The Gosselins star with their eight children — twins and sextuplets — on TLC network’s hit reality show “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” They also have been a tabloid sensation since their marriage began to publicly unravel earlier this year.

NBC said Mrs. Gosselin will discuss her family’s life in the spotlight both on and off their show during the live interview.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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