Tuning In to TV: BBC adapting Rowling’s ‘Casual Vacancy’ for TV

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The BBC says it is turning J.K. Rowling’s first novel for adults into a television drama.

“The Casual Vacancy” is a darkly humorous saga of modern British life in which a local council election unleashes rivalries and resentments in a small town.

The novel is Ms. Rowling’s first full-length book since she finished the “Harry Potter” saga in 2007. It was published in September to mixed reviews but topped best-seller charts.

BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson called the book “an extraordinary tapestry of modern Britain” full of “humor, social commentary and above all fantastic characters.”

Ms. Rowling said the BBC was the “perfect home” for her story.

The BBC said Monday that the adaptation is expected to air in 2014. The number of episodes has yet to be decided.

A bachelorette no more: Ashley Hebert weds beau

Ashley Hebert is no longer a bachelorette.

The 28-year-old Maine native got hitched over the weekend in Pasadena, Calif., to 35-year-old J.P. Rosenbaum of Long Island, N.Y., who proposed to her on the seventh season of the ABC dating reality show “The Bachelorette.” Ms. Hebert tweeted that “12/1/12 goes down in history as the best day of my life!!”

Natalia Desrosiers, spokeswoman for Warner Bros. Television, which produces the show, said the wedding will be aired on Dec. 16 on ABC.

Ms. Hebert, who also competed on “The Bachelor,” grew up in Madawaska, Maine, and is a dentist. The couple now resides in the New York City area.

Only one other couple that met on the TV show has married. Bachelorette Trista Rehn married Vail, Colo., firefighter Ryan Sutter in 2003.

Study shows growth in second-screen users

Television viewers were once called couch potatoes. Many are becoming more active while watching now, judging by the findings in a new report that illustrates the explosive growth in people who watch TV while connected to social media on smartphones and tablets.

The Nielsen company said that 1 in 3 people using Twitter in June sent messages at some point about the content of television shows, an increase of 27 percent from only five months earlier. And that was before the Olympics, which was probably the first big event to illustrate the extent of second-screen usage.

“Twitter has become the second-screen experience for television,” said Deirdre Bannon, vice president of social media at Nielsen.

Social networking is becoming so pervasive that the study found nearly a third of people ages 18 to 24 reported using the sites while in the bathroom.

An estimated 41 percent of tablet owners and 38 percent of smartphone owners used their device while also watching television at least once a day, Nielsen said.

That percentage hasn’t changed much; in fact, 40 percent of smartphone owners reported daily dual-screen usage a year earlier, Nielsen said. The difference is that far more people own these devices and they are using them for a longer period of time. The company estimated that Americans spent a total of 157.5 billion minutes on mobile devices in July 2012, nearly doubling the 81.8 billion the same month a year earlier.

“There are big and interesting implications,” Ms. Bannon said. “I think both television networks and advertisers are on to it.”

The social media can provide networks with real-time feedback on what they are doing. The performance of moderators at presidential debates this fall was watched more closely than perhaps ever before, because people were instantly talking on Twitter to provide their own critiques.

It also makes for some conflicting information: Twitter buzzed with complaints last summer about NBC’s policy of airing many Olympics events from London on tape delay, yet ratings for the prime-time Olympics telecast soared past expectations.

The increase in people watching television and commenting about it online would seem to run counter to another big trend this fall: more people recording programs and watching them at a later hour. Those contrary trends both increase the value of live event programming like awards shows or sporting events.

The Nielsen study also found that 35 percent of people who used tablets while watching TV looked up information online about the program they were watching. A quarter of tablet owners said they researched coupons or deals for products they saw advertised on television.

Compiled from Web and wire reports

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