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Tuning in to TV

- - Sunday, November 6, 2011

First 'X Factor' voting brings 10 million tallies

It wasn't exactly advertised, but the first episode of "X Factor" to offer the public a chance to be heard brought in "around 10 million" votes, according to Simon Cowell.

The show's head judge and creator seemed quite pleased with that number following Thursday's elimination episode, which sent the group inTENsity home.

"Ten million is a lot," he told the Hollywood Reporter, noting that there were no technical glitches or hiccups during Wednesday's voting window, which introduced Twitter voting.

So how did "X Factor's" vote total compare to predecessor and Cowell alma mater "American Idol"? It's hard to judge at this juncture seeing as the singing competition concept was relatively novel during the first season of "Idol," which aired during the summer.

Its initial go-round in 2002 (when there were still 30 semifinalists) brought in 3.3 million votes. By the finale, some 15.5 million viewers called in (these were the days before texting), leading Kelly Clarkson to victory. ("X Factor" is nearly at that mark and it's only the second live episode.) In total, 110 million votes were cast that season.

The second year of "Idol," when Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard squared off for the title, 24 million votes came in after the finale. As "Idol" legend goes, Mr. Studdard, who won, and Mr. Aiken were only 134,000 votes apart.

Indeed, "Idol" voting numbers vary quite dramatically from season to season, and in typical form, the producers are selective about the results they do release - usually presented by host Ryan Seacrest with extra enunciation for effect.

For example, while tallies are available for every finale since the show's start, statistics for the ninth year only revealed a total-season count of 500 million votes, neglecting to break it down further. It's believed the numbers paled in comparison to the previous year's showdown between eventual winner Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, which drew 100 million votes.

Even more impressive? Season 10's final bow when eventual winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina received an eye-popping 122 million votes.

Clearly, Mr. Cowell's new show has a ways to go - the ratings gap, which finds "X Factor" lagging behind "Idol" by 10 million viewers, is nothing if not a constant reminder.

More 'One Life to Live' cast members jump online

More cast members from daytime soap opera "One Life to Live" have agreed to move with the production when it launches online, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Online Network announced that Tuc Watkins (David), Josh Kelly (Cutter), Florencia Lozano (Tea) and Shenell Edmonds (Destiny) will join fellow actors Melissa Archer, Kelley Missal, Sean Ringgold, Andrew Trischitta, Jerry VerDorn, Ted King, Michael Eason, Kassie DePaiva and Erika Slezak in the cast pending final guild agreements.

It was previously announced that the soap's head writer and consulting producer Ron Carlivati will continue with the online show pending a Writers Guild of America agreement.

Pending agreements, the Online Network will launch in January 2012.

Kate Gosselin lands gig blogging about coupons

Sure, Kate Gosselin may have been a reality star, but that doesn't mean she doesn't know how to save money.

Her TLC show is over now, but it didn't take long for her to find a new gig. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the mother of eight will be blogging about coupons for CouponCabin.com.

"No matter what your financial situation is, there's no reason not to use coupons. It's like free money in your pocket," said Ms. Gosselin in a statement about her new job. "I'm thrilled to lend my expertise to CouponCabin.com, where you can easily find the best deals on practically everything."

Ms. Gosselin will write a weekly post on topics such as stretching a budget for a large family, holiday shopping tips and gift ideas.

Her first post will premiere Nov. 22, and will give tips for handling the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

'Sunny' still a sunny spot for star Charlie Day

This has been quite the year for Charlie Day.

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," which premiered in 2005, remains a viable hit among cable comedies. He co-starred in the hit movie "Horrible Bosses" in the summer and has plenty of other big-screen opportunities coming his way. Yet he remains devoted to "Sunny," which opened doors for him.

The star/producer/writer told Scripps Howard News Service he is amazed the raunchy comedy still has places to go.

"At the end of every season, we get the feeling, 'Well, we've done it all. We can't do anything else,' " Mr. Day said. "Then, the new season comes along, and we're always doing more."

"Sunny," which airs at 10 p.m. Thursdays on FX, has at least two more seasons ahead of it and maybe more.

With co-stars Glenn Howerton and Rob McElhenney, Mr. Day is able to bust taboos of conventional television. This season, "Sunny" has taken uneasy stabs at child beauty contests and poked fun at New Jersey in the wake of "Jersey Shore." Past episodes have touched on underage drinking and making money off abandoned children.

Mr. Day, however, said "Sunny" only works on those topics because a clear line is drawn between good and bad tastes.

"We've done very dark territory," he said. "But I get a kick out of going to dark territories and still making it funny. ... Because other TV shows or movies aren't willing to go to those areas for comedy, this show still feels fresh.

"When you walk that tightrope, and the audience wonders if they are going to cross the line, it makes it interesting and a challenge for us. If it gets too uncomfortable even for us, we know it's a bad idea to go there."

Compiled from Web and wire reports.