- The Washington Times - Friday, May 1, 2009

Sony beefs up Web fare

Sony will make more of its films available for free on Crackle.com, the company’s online movie and TV video Web site, adding “Spider-Man 2” and other male-skewing titles as it looks to lure viewers and advertisers.

The site also is adding more original programming, launching Crackle Cinemactive, a video-clip-based game about pop culture, Variety reports.

In addition to “Spider-Man 2,” new films added to Crackle’s free ad-supported service include “Groundhog Day,” “Stripes,” “A Few Good Men,” “1941,” “El Mariachi,” “Big Fish,” “The Fan,” “LaBamba,” “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “Johnny Mnemonic” and several installments of the “Godzilla” franchise.

The move makes nearly 100 films available on the Web site, with the latest additions specifically targeting younger males.

The Cinemactive game is being added to a group of original series that includes Ed Brubacker’s thriller “Angel of Death,” starring Zoe Bell and Lucy Lawless, and “Starv-ing,” with David Faustino.

Crackle recently brokered a content deal with YouTube that it hopes will drive more traffic to its own site.

According to comScore Inc., the company has seen streams increase 84 percent during the first three months of the year, and it ranked as the seventh-most-trafficked entertainment video site in March.

CMT to get ‘Bee’

“The Singing Bee” is coming back — but not to NBC.

The musical reality competition has found a new home on cable’s Country Music Television, which plans to relaunch the former broadcast series in the summer, the Hollywood Reporter says.

CMT will premiere the show after its annual CMT Awards, airing June 16. Starting June 20, the hourlong series will be paired with the network’s other singing competition, “Can You Duet.”

Bob Kusbit, CMT’s head of development, said the network was interested in the show from the start and lost the initial bidding war with NBC for the rights. NBC debuted the show right before Fox premiered its similarly formatted “Don’t Forget the Lyrics.” (In both shows, contestants try to complete the lyrics of popular songs.) “Bee” opened stronger in the Nielsens, yet “Lyrics” won the ratings battle in the long haul, and NBC passed on a second season.

CMT is making some changes to the show’s format. Gone are the “Bee” dancers. Also, the series will have a mix of 60 percent country and 40 percent other kinds of music. Ten episodes have been ordered, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Jon, Kate, 8 … plus date?

“Jon & Kate Plus 8” dad Jon Gosselin says the paparazzi photos of him leaving a bar with an unidentified woman “showed poor judgment” on his part, TVGuide.com reports.

According to US Weekly, the father of eight and star of Discovery’s TLC reality hit was photographed, sans wedding ring, leaving Legends Lounge near his Pennsylvania home with a woman around 2 a.m. on April 18. The magazine also says he was overheard calling the woman “Babe” and urged her to get into his car when cameras started flashing.

“Like most people, I have male and female friends, and I’m not going to end my friendships just because I’m on TV,” TVGuide.com quoted Mr. Gosselin as saying.

“However, being out with them late at night showed poor judgment on my part. What makes me sick is that my careless behavior has put my family in this uncomfortable position.”

This isn’t the first time Mr. Gosselin has been accused of infidelity. In February, he was photographed at a bar with two college-age women. Mr. Gosselin, the father of 8-year-old twins and 4-year-old sextuplets, said he was taking a picture with fans and has denied cheating on his wife of nine years.

Weekend watch

Whether you believe Joan Rivers’ profanity-laced tirade on last week’s “Celebrity Apprentice” was a mother’s outrage after her daughter, Melissa, was dismissed from the show by Donald Trump or a calculated ploy to reel in viewers for the May sweeps, here’s the really big question: Will Joan return for Sunday night’s program? Or, as she announced, have we seen the last of her? With just two episodes remaining — and being the ham that she is — odds are strong she’ll probably turn up. The two-hour segment begins at 9 p.m. (WRC-NBC4).

Also worth noting this weekend:

Supernanny (9 p.m. tonight, WJLA-ABC7) — Jo steps in to help save the Krolikowskis, two church-working parents whose children regularly draw blood during their fights.

Independent Lens (8 p.m. Saturday, WHUT-Channel 32) — The filmmaking series presents “Sisters in Law,” a 2005 documentary that follows the day-to-day lives of tough-minded state prosecutor Vera Ngassa and Court President Beatrice Ntuba in their tiny Muslim village in West Cameroon. There, the two help women find the courage to fight difficult cases of abuse despite pressure from family and community to remain silent. Winner of the Prix Art et Essai at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Unforgettable Wedding Venues (5 p.m. Sunday, WeTV) — Looking for a unique locale to exchange vows? This hourlong special runs the gamut from an intimate ceremony on your own private island off the Florida Keys to a big-city blowout in the Big Apple to vows at a drive-through window on the Vegas Strip.

Desperate Housewives (9 p.m. Sunday, WJLA-ABC7) — In a new episode titled “Bargaining,” Bree (Marcia Cross) sinks to new lows to retain the best lawyer, Jackson (Gale Harold) returns to Wisteria Lane with a proposal for Susan (Teri Hatcher), and Katherine (Dana Delany) deceives Mike (James Denton) to win his love.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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