- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Angels’ soar for HBO

HBO’s “Angels in America” didn’t fly as high as the network’s New Jersey mobsters, but the cable channel isn’t complaining.

Nielsen Media Research reports that the first installment of HBO’s highly praised miniseries was seen by 4.2 million viewers Sunday, according to Associated Press.

That made the first half of the six-hour drama, an AIDS-era epic adapted from the Broadway play by Tony Kushner, the most-watched made-for-cable movie of the year, the premium cable network said.

While the viewership was roughly a third of what the last original episode of “The Sopranos” drew on Sunday a year ago, HBO was pleased.

The second installment, “Angels in America: Perestroika,” airs this Sunday evening at 8.

HBO is airing the series in one-hour slices before the second half is shown and also will offer the miniseries in one six-hour sitting.

“This is only the beginning of what we hope is an enormous audience when this plays out over an aggressive schedule,” HBO spokeswoman Tobe Becker told AP.

In other ratings news, CBS once again dominated the competition, averaging 13 million viewers last week (8.5 rating, 14 share). NBC had 10.6 million viewers (7.0, 11), ABC 9.8 million (6.4, 10), Fox 7.6 million (4.9, 8), the WB 3.7 million (2.4, 4), UPN 3.1 million (2.1, 3) and Pax TV 1.1 million (0.7, 1).

A ratings point represents 1.084 million households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 108.4 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

CBS’ indefatigable “Survivor” was the week’s most popular program, drawing 22.2 million viewers in its Thursday slot.

NBC’s “Average Joe” had 14 million viewers last week and, preliminary ratings indicate, drew 17.4 million people for its finale Monday.

Success-starved Fox may have a hit on its hands with “The Simple Life,” starring hotel heiress Paris Hilton and fellow socialite Nicole Richie.

The first two episodes of the reality series Dec. 2 and 3 were seen by, respectively, 13 million and 13.3 million viewers.

For the week of Dec. 1 through 7, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Survivor: Pearl Islands,” CBS, 22.2 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 22.1 million; “ER,” NBC, 20.7 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 18.7 million; “CBS Sunday Movie: Undercover Christmas,” CBS, 17.3 million.

More TV, fewer veggies

Budding couch potatoes, ironically, aren’t too keen on vegetables.

A new study says the more television children watch the less fruit and vegetables they eat, probably because the advertising they see leaves them craving junk food instead, Reuters News Agency reports.

Children surveyed for the study who spent more time watching television ate 0.16 fewer servings of fruit and vegetables for every extra hour watched. That additional hour a day of TV viewing added up to one fewer nutritional serving every six days.

Heavy television viewing by children has been linked to eating more junk food, getting less exercise and developing obesity, but this was the first study to show that TV viewing led to lower consumption of nutritious fruits and vegetables, says the report, first published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

At the start of the survey in 1995, the children, who averaged 12 years of age, ate an average of 4.23 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, which was below the government-recommended five daily servings.

The rising epidemic of childhood obesity both here and abroad has been linked to cardiovascular disease in even young children and to an accumulation of health problems later in life.

American children spend more time watching television than engaging in any other activity except sleep, averaging 22 hours of viewing a week, the report says.

They are exposed to 20,000 TV commercials a year, or 150 to 200 hours’ worth.

Just wait until they figure out their parents’ TiVo.

Guerrillas’ revisited

The headlines are all too familiar: guerrillalike attacks on American troops, the murders of suspected collaborators and the search for members of the enemy’s dying party.

It’s Germany in the years following World War II, but “Nazi Guerrillas,” a new documentary airing at 9 tonight on the History Channel, may add some context to current events in Iraq.

The hourlong program explains how stubborn Nazi resistance fighters attempted to resurrect the Third Reich after Germany’s defeat.

The documentary features interviews with former “Werewolf” members, Germans who used violence to disrupt Allied peace plans.

The special also includes archival footage and recently declassified documents.

“Guerrillas” reveals that German public opinion hardened against the Allied occupiers in the first winter following the war. Citizens railed against food and fuel shortages and rising unemployment.

Sound familiar?

The Nazi resistance finally began to fade as the German economy made tentative progress.

The 1946 Marshall Plan funneled $1.5 billion toward building new factories, schools and infrastructure.

West Germany voted in its first freely elected chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, in 1949. Six years later, the Allies dismantled the High Commission overseeing the country, leaving an independent West Germany.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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