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Tuning in to TV: ‘Downton Abbey’ inspiring search for vintage clothes

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The hit U.K. costume drama "Downtown Abbey" is making a fashion statement by sparking online searches for vintage clothes.

Data gathered by Alibaba.com, the China-based online marketplace for businesses, shows there has been a dramatic rise in global searches for vintage garb, which the site attributes to the series, last year's royal wedding and Queen Elizabeth's recent Jubilee.

The show centers on an aristocratic British family during World War I and airs in more than 100 countries around the world. The program showcases British fashion that was popular a hundred years ago, leading to "huge interest in the show's wardrobe and boosting the vintage clothing industry," Alibaba said.

Molly Morgan, the site's senior manager of international corporate affairs, said: "Period drama clothing and accessories are in fashion. ... We're even seeing trends of 'Downton Abbey' parties popping up around the world, creating consumer interest and extra sales for small businesses in the vintage clothing industry."

The site recorded a year-over-year increase of 273 percent for April in searches for vintage frocks, a 136 percent rise in elbow-length glove searches and a 190 percent uptick in searches for sequined headbands.

According to Alibaba.com, it isn't just about the ladies, though.

The site also reported a rise in global online searches for men's accessories and clothing, noting a 617 percent increase in searches for top hats and a 427 percent rise in those looking for cravats.

Baldwin: Volatile personality leads to unreasonable behavior

If you see Alec Baldwin, better watch your step.

He has a volatile personality, the 54-year-old "30 Rock" actor admits in a Vanity Fair cover story. It leads him to behave "unreasonably" and "childishly," he says, acknowledging that he often "gave the Heisman," as he put it, to certain people in Hollywood.

That's not all. There was his recent scuffle with a New York newspaper photographer.

And, he divulged gruesome fantasies in the Vanity Fair story for how he might have offed both his wife's lawyer ("with a baseball bat") and Harvey Levin, the TMZ producer who in 2007 exposed the voice mail Mr. Baldwin had left berating his young daughter.

Mr. Baldwin said of Mr. Levin: "I wanted to stick a knife in him and gut him and kill him, and I wanted him to die breathing his last breath looking into my eyes."

But Mr. Baldwin, who on Saturday married yoga instructor Hilaria Thomas, voiced hope in the article that he will get his anger under control.

He declared: "You have to let that go. Enough time — I mean, it does heal wounds."

Eric Church to host CMT's commercial-free 'Mixtape'

Eric Church is playing movie host on CMT.

The country star is helping the network air the minimovie "Mixtape" commercial-free this weekend. The half-hour movie, written by Peter Zavadil and Roger Vaughn, was inspired by Mr. Church's recent hit "Springsteen." The movie, in turn, inspired Mr. Church's video for the song, which spent two weeks at No. 1 earlier this year.

The movie will air Saturday and Sunday and then can be watched on demand at the network's website.

Mr. Church will host an online contest in conjunction with the premiere and is giving away two tickets to his tour.

Netflix 'highly dependent' on children's shows

"Netflix seems highly dependent on kids TV" content, and entertainment giants such as Walt Disney and Viacom should in response make their content more expensive or more limited, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said in a research report Monday.

He highlighted that focus groups conducted by his firm have found that mothers are encouraging their children more and more to watch shows online and in other digital forms.

At the end of June, Mr. Bernstein hosted two focus groups of mothers to discuss children's TV viewing patterns and how viewing has changed over time as the use of DVRs and the availability of video-on-demand options and new devices like iPads has increased.

"Moms are increasingly directing their kids to alternative viewing modes for content control, commercial avoidance and time management," Mr. Juenger summarized. "The content selection is perceived to be significantly better for kids than for adults, and the lack of commercials and ability to control the viewing choices are seen as positives."

The result: "Our concern regarding Viacom and Disney's kids' networks has been reinforced," Mr. Juenger said. "Viacom and Disney should do everything in their power to steer viewership toward modes with the best long-term economics, namely traditional TV and emerging forms of TV Everywhere VOD."

He reiterated views that there has been a "negative impact of Netflix on Disney's and Viacom's kids' TV ratings," predicting that the entertainment giants would sooner or later respond. "We would expect [them] to follow one of two paths when renegotiating their contracts with Netflix," Mr. Juenger said. "They will either limit the availability of kids' content to Netflix or try to compensate for the negative impact on ratings by increasing the price of streaming licenses."

Erin Andrews jumping from ESPN to Fox

Erin Andrews will host Fox's new college football pregame show.

Two days after ESPN said the broadcaster was leaving after eight years, Fox officially announced her hiring Sunday. Ms. Andrews also will contribute to the network's NFL and Major League Baseball coverage, among other sports.

The main Fox network will start its first regular-season college football package this fall. The 30-minute pregame show will premiere Sept. 1.

The popular Ms. Andrews has more than 1.3 million Twitter followers. She calls the new job a "once in a lifetime opportunity."

Fox Sports Media Group Co-President Eric Shanks called Ms. Andrews "one of the hardest-working, most-respected individuals in sports television."

• Compiled from Web and wire reports

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