- - Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giants-Cowboys game dominates TV ratings

Sunday night’s football game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys dominated the television ratings.

The Nielsen Co. said Tuesday that NBC’s weekly showcase game was seen by 24.5 million people. That was well above the most popular non-football program of the week, CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” which had 15.2 million viewers.

It was behind only the early season contest between the Cowboys and the New York Jets for the most popular Sunday night game of the year. NBC says it ranks No. 6 of all the Sunday night games it has telecast for six seasons.

With the exception of the game and two NBC pregame shows, 18 of the 19 most-watched programs were on CBS, led by the comedy “Two and a Half Men.” The only non-CBS show to crack that formidable wall was ABC’s “Modern Family.”

With 7.6 million viewers, ABC’s telecast of a Republican presidential debate Saturday night was the most popular such debate of the season so far.

After “Modern Family,” the most-watched prime-time show on ABC last week was the Charlie Brown Christmas special.

BBC denies misleading viewers over footage

The BBC has dismissed criticism that veteran nature broadcaster David Attenborough misled viewers over images of polar bear cubs featured in his hugely popular TV series “Frozen Planet.”

Eight million viewers in Britain watched images of a polar bear caring for her newly born cubs in scenes shown Nov. 23 that were juxtaposed with pictures of an adult polar bear.

The fact that the footage of the cubs was actually shot in a zoo in the Netherlands was only revealed in an accompanying video clip on the BBC’s website.

The BBC has denied misleading viewers with the footage, claiming that Mr. Attenborough’s commentary was carefully worded so it did not give the impression that the cubs were in the wild.

It said the way the scene was filmed was “clearly explained” on the program’s website.

“The commentary has been massively misquoted,” a BBC spokeswoman said. “David actually says ‘on lee-side slopes’ not on ‘these side slopes.’

“We are standing by the fact that we worded this to not be ambiguous.”

Mr. Attenborough, who celebrates 60 years with the BBC next year in a career that has seen him win many awards and the respect of the scientific community, argued that the sequence would have been impossible to film in the wild.

“If you had tried to put a camera in the wild in a polar bear den, she would either have killed the cub or she would have killed the cameraman, one or the other,” he told the ITV network Monday.

He said explaining that the footage was shot in a zoo would have ruined the atmosphere of the show, adding: “It’s not falsehood, and we don’t keep it secret, either.”

NFL’s Brees heads to ‘Sesame Street’

Move over, Grover! One of the NFL’s top passers is heading to “Sesame Street.”

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is making a special appearance on Thursday’s episode of the educational children’s TV show. He visited the set a few months ago to record the segment, which co-stars the street’s furry red resident, Elmo.

The segment will air Thursday morning on PBS Kids.

Brees, who has two young sons, Baylen and Bowen, taped the segment before the start of this year’s football season. He leads the NFL with 4,368 passing yards, putting him on pace to break Dan Marino’s single-season passing record of 5,084 yards, which has stood since 1984. Brees led the Saints to victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV and was that game’s Most Valuable Player.

Group in Lowe’s flap has history of protests

The conservative group that got Lowe’s to pull its ads from a reality TV show about American Muslims has been fighting for more than two decades against gay rights, strip clubs and most anything else that offends evangelical Christians.

The leader of the Florida Family Association is David Caton, a 55-year-old family values crusader who left an accounting career to found the group in 1987. He said the association has 35,000 members who were urged to email Lowe’s to pressure the home improvement giant into dropping commercials during the TLC cable network show “All-American Muslim.”

Lowe’s has drawn criticism for its decision from leaders in the Muslim community, celebrities and others suggesting a boycott of the store. Despite the growing backlash, the Mooresville, N.C.-based company said Monday it was planning to stick by its decision after the show became a “lightning rod for people to voice complaints from a variety of perspectives - political, social and otherwise.”

Several politicians called the Florida Family Association a fringe hate group, a title Mr. Caton shrugged off, saying the group aims to “defend traditional American biblical values.”

The show was not an accurate portrayal of American Muslims, he said, because it doesn’t disclose that “99.9 percent of Muslims agree with the principles of Shariah law,” the restrictive religious code that Mr. Caton and others warn leads to the spread of Islamic extremism.

Rogen signs on as Spirit Awards host

Seth Rogen has been tapped as host of the Film Independent Spirit Awards, to be held Feb. 25 on the day before the Oscars, Variety reports.

Mr. Rogen starred in the comedy “50/50,” which is up for a Spirit Award in the best feature category. “50/50” is inspired by the real-life experiences of Mr. Rogen’s friend, Will Reiser. Mr. Reiser wrote the screenplay.

The 27th annual Spirit Awards ceremony will be held as a daytime luncheon in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica, Calif. The show will air on IFC that evening.

It was also announced that Diana Zahn-Storey, a longtime executive producer of the Film Independent Spirit Awards, will be returning this year. She produced the show for 15 years and the Los Angeles Film Festival for eight, then left Film Independent in 2009 to co-found Nuts-n-Bolts Productions.

During the past two years, Nuts-n-Bolts has produced the Children Mending Hearts Peace Please Gala, Los Angeles Point Honors Gala and the Treats Magazine launch party.

Volume turned down on TV commercials

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday passed the 2010 Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act that requires commercials be kept at the same volume as the programs they sponsor.

Stations and video distributors will have a year before they must be in full compliance.

“Today took a major step toward eliminating one of the most persistent problems of the television age - loud commercials,” the FCC said.

The FCC says they have received complaints for years over the increased volume of commercials, although complaints have diminished since 2009.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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