- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A&E;’s Jackson series

A&E; is moving forward with a Jackson family reality series, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The network confirms it will produce a new series with the Jackson brothers in the wake of Michael Jackson’s death. The series will show the brothers dealing with matters related to the King of Pop’s death and issues in their own lives.

The show’s title, premiere date and number of episodes have yet to be announced.

Also, some footage from the cable network’s original documentary on the Jackson family - shot before Mr. Jackson’s death - was leaked to “Entertainment Tonight.” The syndicated show planned to air the footage Tuesday evening.

Roger Friedman broke A&E;’s plans to do a Jackson reality series on his Showbiz 411 blog last week, THR notes. The content of the leaked footage prompted A&E; to break its silence on its series plans Tuesday. A&E; still intends to air its full one-hour documentary at a later date.

Paula lands a gig

Paula Abdul’s fans can breathe a sigh of relief: Apparently, there is a career after “American Idol” for the show’s former judge.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Miss Abdul, 47, will be hosting this year’s “VH1 Divas” ceremony.

The former judge tweeted the news Monday night: “Hi guys! im really excited 2 announce ill b hosting this year’s ‘Vh1 Divas’! The show will be live on Sept 17th @ 9 pm EST.”

Adele, Kelly Clarkson, Jordin Sparks, Leona Lewis and Miley Cyrus are slated to perform. The show will air live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House in New York.

Cheadle’s FX ‘March’

FX is hot on hoops, having picked up “March Madness,” a drama project from executive producer Don Cheadle that chronicles the glory and the seedy side of college basketball.

“Madness” comes from writer Joel Silverman, and Pete Segal (“The Longest Yard”) is set to direct. Also attached to the project alongside Mr. Silverman, Mr. Segal and Mr. Cheadle are former college basketball coach Dave Miller and Mr. Segal’s producing partner, Michael Ewing, Variety reports.

“March” will revolve around a corrupt college basketball program that cheats its way to the NCAA basketball championship tournament. The project will be told through the eyes of the college coach, whose idealistic approach to the job has been eroded by the compromises he is forced to make.

Mr. Cheadle’s other producing credits include Starz’s “Crash,” for which he is a co-executive producer, and the feature “Traitor.”

Live, from New York …

It’s Megan Fox!

The “Transformers” star, 23, is slated to host the 35th season premiere of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” on Sept. 26, says Denverpost.com, citing a report from Life&Style.com.;

‘Game’ on?

“The Game” is not over yet.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, cable’s BET is in talks with “Game” producer CBS TV Studio about ordering a new season of the comedy, a spinoff from the long-running “Girlfriends.” The CW canceled “Game” in May after three seasons.

Series creator Mara Brock Akil in April pitched the CW an hourlong version of the show as a way to keep it on the network, which was dropping the half-hour comedy business.

Following the cancellation of “Game,” BET began preliminary talks with CBS Studios about possibly taking in the series with new originals. The cable network already runs repeats of both “Game” and “Girlfriends.”

‘Talent’ tops - again

While America’s got talent, NBC still has a hit talent show in these waning weeks of summer.

“America’s Got Talent” had the two top slots in prime time last week, as viewers flocked to see performers vying to move into the show’s semifinal round.

Likewise, CBS’ “Big Brother,” also in the reality realm, did well, too. Its Aug. 18 installment landed in sixth place for the week, Associated Press reports, citing data from Nielsen Media Research.

The Sunday edition of ABC’s quiz show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” ranked ninth.

And on Fox, “Hell’s Kitchen” finished 10th.

For the most part, though, scripted episodic reruns claimed the audience’s eyeballs - and many of the most-watched sitcoms and dramas were on CBS.

Overall in prime time, CBS was champ, averaging 5.81 million viewers. NBC was the runner-up with 5.56 million, according to Nielsen.

Fox was in third place with 5.14 million viewers, followed by ABC with 4.51 million, My Network TV with 1.55 million, the CW with 1.10 million, and ION Television with 570,000 viewers.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision held its customary lead with a 3.21 million average audience. Telemundo had 1.01 million viewers, TeleFutura 950,000 viewers, and Azteca 210,000 viewers.

As usual, NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.38 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 7.04 million, and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.34 million viewers.

For the week of Aug. 17 through 23, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 11.88 million; 2) “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 10.67 million; 3) “NCIS,” CBS, 9.85 million; 4) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 8.55 million; 5) “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 8.04 million; 6) “Big Brother 11” (Tuesday), CBS, 7.98 million; 7) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 7.85 million; 8) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 7.77 million; 9) “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (Sunday), ABC, 7.59 million; and 10) “Hell’s Kitchen,” Fox, 7.49 million.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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