- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 8, 2003

The real Lowe-down

Rob Lowe says he quit “The West Wing” because he felt slighted by the show’s creator, Aaron Sorkin, over the size of his role and the money he was making, the AP reports.

Mr. Lowe was irked when his part as a White House staffer was cut back and he continued to take home $70,000 an episode, while co-star Martin Sheen, playing the president, got a raise to $300,000 per show.

“Why didn’t (Sorkin) know how much I loved him, how much I loved that show?” the actor told TV Guide for its Oct. 11 issue. “Why didn’t he love me like I loved him? It’s weird, considering it’s another man, but that’s as close as I can put it.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Mr. Lowe also says the show would not accommodate requests for time off. He recalls a meeting in which producers upbraided him for an attendance record that showed he’d been late a total of 17 hours.

“I was spied on. No other cast member had a meeting like that,” Mr. Lowe said.

Though his decision to leave was seen as a bad career move, Mr. Lowe landed on his feet as star and executive producer of “The Lyon’s Den,” a new legal drama on NBC.

CBS, NBC on top

The Tiffany and Peacock networks led the way in last week’s ratings roundup, but the latter’s key programs continue to show signs of slippage.

CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” retained its top spot, while NBC’s “Friends” and “ER” followed in the two and three slots, respectively. CBS’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Survivor: Pearl Islands” rounded out the top five.

NBC already faces a Friday night crisis, as the combined ratings of “Miss Match” and “Boomtown” drew 40 percent fewer viewers than the same time period last year, according to the Associated Press.

NBC was tops among the 18-to-49 demographic advertisers crave, but the network’s popularity is still below last year’s levels.

On cable, TLC recorded its highest ratings ever on Sunday night, when 9.1 million people watched a special edition of “Trading Spaces.” The show drew a bigger audience than NBC saw for its competing show, “American Dreams.”

Sister act on E!

The lovely and ridiculously privileged Hilton sisters now have a “story” to call their own.

“The Hilton Sisters: The E! True Hollywood Story,” which debuts tonight at 8 on the entertainment channel, tracks the social rise of Paris and Nicky Hilton, heiresses to the Hilton hotel fortune. As if their bank accounts weren’t enough of an asset, the pair are both beautiful and socially wired.

Will they flee their party reputations to find real respect from their peers? Will viewers even care?

The one-hour special includes interviews with relatives Kyle Richardson and Francesca Hilton, plus Village Voice columnist Michael Musto.

More than ‘Friends’

The budding sparks between Joey and Rachel will be tested tonight on an all-new episode of the powerhouse sitcom, airing at 8.

The couple’s relationship began building last season, but the two (Matt LeBlanc and Jennifer Aniston) find it difficult getting past their friendship stage. Guest star Jennifer Coolidge (“Legally Blonde,” “Best in Show”) returns, bringing trouble for Phoebe and Monica (Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox Arquette).

And poor Ross (David Schwimmer) gets more than he bargained for with his tanning salon.

“Friends” is in its 10th and final — at least until another last-minute bargaining session is held — season.

Dems debate on CNN

CNN will air yet another debate between the remaining Democratic presidential candidates tonight at 8 from the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix.

CNN anchor Judy Woodruff will moderate the 90-minute forum, along with panelists Candy Crowley and Jeff Greenfield. The debate will feature all nine Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Florida Sen. Bob Graham pulled out of the presidential race earlier this week, citing fund-raising woes as a key reason for his decision.

‘Match’ makes a move

Two weeks into the new season, NBC is tweaking its Friday schedule to try to support its struggling “Miss Match,” Reuters News Agency reports.

For the next three weeks, the buzz-worthy comedy-drama starring Alicia Silverstone will move from 8 to 9 p.m., while “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” repeats will return at 10 p.m.

The network will open the night with a rerun of sibling cable channel Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” tomorrow at 8, and newsmagazine “Dateline” on Oct. 17 and 24.

Sophomore drama “Boomtown,” which has trailed the competition in the 10 to 11 p.m. slot despite glowing reviews, is going on a three-week hiatus.

“Miss Match,” from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star, opened to an unimpressive 2.8 rating/10 share among adults 18-49 and dropped to a 2.0/7 in its second airing. Both times, it finished third among adults 18-49 in the 8-9 p.m. hour, behind CBS’s new drama “Joan of Arcadia” and ABC’s comedies.

The soft opening of NBC’s new Friday lineup, coupled with the move of “Law & Order: SVU” from Fridays to Tuesdays this fall, turned NBC from the dominant player on Friday to No. 3 for the night for adults ages 18-49.

Spielberg, SF reunite

Director Steven Spielberg and cable’s Sci Fi Channel will create a miniseries trilogy to air in 2005, Reuters News Agency reports.

The announcement extends a collaboration between the two sides that produced an Emmy Award.

Sci Fi said “Nine Lives” would be written by Les Bohem and executive produced by him, Mr. Spielberg and DreamWorks Television.

Mr. Bohem also wrote and produced “Taken,” the 20-hour miniseries that aired over two weeks and last year won an Emmy for outstanding miniseries.

Sci Fi offered no further details on “Nine Lives” other than to say it was “an epic story of love, death and beyond.”

It also said the three installments in the televised project would cover stories that were “related but distinct.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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