- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 19, 2009

5M not ready for DTV

More than 5 million U.S. households, or 4.4 percent of homes, aren’t ready for the switch to digital television signals, Nielsen Co. said Wednesday.

The new numbers were released the day after more than 400 stations threw the switch, ending analog broadcasts. The readiness numbers show improvement from two weeks ago, when 5.1 percent of homes were not ready for the switch.

According to TVWeek.com, people younger than 35, blacks and Hispanics are among the demographic groups least ready for the switch to digital television.

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M., ranked as the least ready U.S. market, with 11.7 percent of households unprepared for the DTV transition, Nielsen said.

Houston, Tulsa, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Memphis were among markets where more than 7 percent of homes would lose signals if the whole country switched to digital broadcasts today.

Hartford and New Haven, Conn., counted as the most prepared market, with 1.2 percent of homes still needing to take action to get ready for the final switch to digital on June 12.

It’s ‘Hammertime’

A&E Network has signed on for a little Hammer time.

The cable network has lined up the reality series “Hammertime,” which tracks the life of one-time chart-topping rapper-dancer MC Hammer (real name Stanley Kirk Burrell) and his family, Variety says. He also will serve as one of the executive producers for the new series.

The cable channel has ordered 11 half-hour episodes of the show, which is in production and will bow on the network later this year.

Hammer, 46, gained fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a dancer and multiplatinum-selling rap artist. His hits included “U Can’t Touch This,” “Pray” and “Too Legit to Quit.” He later became a minister.

‘Nash’ files suit

Don Johnson, who played a police officer on “Nash Bridges,” is out for justice in real life.

The actor, who also starred in NBC’s “Miami Vice” in the 1980s, is suing the producers of “Nash Bridges” for tens of millions of dollars - the amount he claims he’s owed for the series, Zap2it.com says, citing a report by TMZ.com.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims that because Mr. Johnson was a co-owner of the copyright - producing with Don Johnson Co. and Carlton Cuse Productions in association with Rysher Entertainment and later Paramount Television - he’s entitled to half of the show’s profits.

According to the complaint, Mr. Johnson estimates that the series, which ran six seasons, earned more than $300 million in revenues and more than $150 million from syndication.

The actor is seeking damages from Rysher Entertainment - currently owned by Mark Cuban’s 2929 Entertainment - and Qualia Capital.

“Nash Bridges,” which ran from 1996-2001, starred Mr. Johnson as the titular San Francisco police detective who teams up with his formerly retired partner, Inspector Joe Dominguez, played by comic actor Cheech Marin.

‘TMZ’ through 2011

Warner Bros. has renewed its entertainment news half-hour show, “TMZ,” through 2011 in nearly 100 percent of the U.S., Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution said Wednesday.

In November, Warner Bros. announced that the Fox station group had picked up “TMZ” for two more years. The Fox stations served as the show’s launch pad in September 2007.

“TMZ,” seen locally Monday through Friday at 11:30 p.m. on Fox5-WTTG, is executive produced by Harvey Levin and Jim Paratore. Mr. Levin, an attorney, also hosts the program.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “TMZ” is the highest-rated entertainment news program in syndication among adults 18 to 34 and the second-highest-rated entertainment news program in syndication among adults 18 to 49, women 18 to 49 and adults 25 to 54.

The show’s companion Web site, TMZ.com, launched in November 2005.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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