- The Washington Times - Monday, July 6, 2009

MJ service to air

A ticket to Tuesday’s Michael Jackson memorial service may be hard to score, but it shouldn’t be hard to find coverage on television.

According to Associated Press, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and E! Entertainment are among the networks that have announced plans to offer live coverage of the service, set for 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time) in Los Angeles’ Staples Center.

ABC is sending anchor Charles Gibson to Los Angeles for the story, setting aside its typical daytime programming. CBS anchor Katie Couric also will report from the Staples Center, although the network has not yet said whether it will offer live coverage.

NBC is not planning live coverage but will wrap up highlights in an hourlong prime-time special Tuesday night, AP says.

CNN has seen its ratings soar with the Jackson story, and it will show the memorial on the main network and HLN (formerly Headline News). CNN International will air the ceremony to the rest of the world. Anderson Cooper, Larry King and Don Lemon are the anchors for CNN coverage. Robin Meade, A.J. Hammer and Jane Velez-Mitchell will anchor at HLN. CNN en Espanol also will also cover the service.

Chris Jansing will anchor live coverage of the memorial on MSNBC. Fox News Channel hasn’t announced its plans.

E! said Saturday that it will carry the memorial service live and will stream it online. The broadcast will be live everywhere in the world E! is seen.

During a Saturday morning news conference, it was announced that 11,000 free tickets would be given out for the Staples Center service and 6,500 more would be distributed for fans to watch on the big screens at the Nokia Theatre Los Angeles Live across the street.

‘Nightline’ on top

ABC News’ “Nightline” became the most-watched program in late night for the week of June 22, buoyed by coverage of President Obama’s health care plan and the death of Michael Jackson, Broadcastingcable.com reports. The show averaged 3.89 million total viewers, topping both NBC’s “The Tonight Show” (3.69 million) and the “The Late Show With David Letterman” (3.46 million) on CBS.

The win marked the first victory for “Nightline” over “The Tonight Show” and “The Late Show” since election week in November. Viewership for “Nightline” increased by 25 percent from the same week last year and by 28 percent week-to-week, as well as by 40 percent among viewers 25 to 54 years of age.

Meanwhile, “Nightline” also beat Mr. Letterman in ratings in both the 25-to-54 and the 18-to-49 demographics. Yet “The Tonight Show” still garnered the highest ratings among both groups. However, the loss in total viewers for the second straight week marked the first time since 1996 “The Tonight Show” hadn’t placed first for two weeks in a row, excluding the 2007 writers strike.

So far this season, “Nightline’s” ratings are up 13 percent, averaging 3.82 million total viewers.

Emmys eye Harris

CBS is close to signing “How I Met Your Mother” co-star Neil Patrick Harris to host this year’s Emmys, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The two-time Emmy nominee is fresh off a well-received performance hosting CBS’ Tonys telecast in June and took the stage in May for a segment at the network’s upfront presentation. In April, Mr. Harris hosted the TVLand Awards, which is owned by CBS parent company Viacom.

The 61st annual Emmys will be telecast Sept. 20. Nominations will be announced July 16.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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