- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Monster mash peek

“Alien vs. Predator,” the new 20th Century Fox film, gets a boost from its parent company’s TV division at 8 tonight with a network special of the same name — so fans who just can’t wait for tomorrow’s movie opening can get a sneak peek at the slimy combatants.

See what the success of last summer’s “Freddy vs. Jason” has wrought?

“Alien vs. Predator,” the Fox TV special, lets the film’s star, Lance Henriksen, chat up the film’s twin franchises. The show also features interviews with the filmmakers who bring these creatures to life, along with clips from the movie.

When it comes to quality, the “Alien” series wins hands down. Its first two features (released in 1979 and 1986) are modern classics, although the third and fourth installments — from 1992 and 1997 — proved inferior but still compelling.

“Predator” (1987), starring future Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, became one of the actor’s better known action films, but its 1990 sequel barely made an impact with either fans or critics.

Fox follows the “AVP” special with a rebroadcast of “Celebrity Boxing 2” at 8:30 p.m. It features such fading stars as “Welcome Back, Kotter’s” Ron Palillo duking it out with “Saved by the Bell’s” Dustin Diamond.

Taste and decorum suffer an early TKO.

‘Gaza’ death

Filmmaker James Miller and reporter Saira Shah wanted to capture the culture of hate permeating the Middle East. In 2003, they dutifully documented the lives of three Palestinian children living in the turbulent Gaza strip and planned to interview a group of Israeli citizens next to balance their portrait. But Mr. Miller died on May 2 of last year when he was killed by an Israeli tank.

The story Mr. Miller wanted to tell makes its cable debut tonight at 9:30 as part of HBO’s “America Undercover” series.

The documentary, completed by Mr. Miller’s longtime friend Misha Manson-Smith, details the martyrdom culture that energizes the Palestinians.

Who in HDTV

It might be odd to see rock supergroup the Who presented in high definition television. After all, the band burst onto the rock scene in the 1960s, a time when TV viewers were lucky if they had color images flowing into their homes.

Color TV is by now a staple. And since the Who are still on the scene, why not enjoy one of their classic concerts in the best visuals money can buy?

“The Who — Live at the Isle of Wight,” airing Saturday at 8 p.m. on cable’s INHD, was culled from the original negatives of the 1970 concert under the co-supervision of guitarist Pete Townshend. More than 600,000 people attended the performance off the coast of England in August of that year.

Bushes on ‘King’

President George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush sit down for a joint chat with CNN talkmeister Larry King tonight for his show’s full hour.

“Larry King Live” airs weeknights at 9.

‘Two’ tops for CBS

CBS’ stalwart sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” is expected to retire at next season’s end, but the network appears to have a comedy ready to fill the ratings void.

Freshman sitcom “Two and a Half Men” continues to draw big numbers for the Tiffany network, Associated Press reports. Last week, the Charlie Sheen/Jon Cryer comedy came in second behind ratings champ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” as the most-watched program in prime time, Nielsen Media Research said Tuesday.

“Two and a Half Men” was seen by 12.8 million viewers last week, eclipsing “Raymond” and its 12.1 million viewers. During first-run episodes this season, “Raymond” averaged 16.4 million viewers and “Men” had 14.7 million, Nielsen said.

CBS continued its triumphant summer in the ratings, averaging 8.6 million viewers last week (5.9 rating, 11 share), and winning among the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

NBC averaged 6.5 million viewers (4.5, 8), ABC had 5.3 million (3.6, 7), Fox 5 million (3.3, 6), UPN 2.9 million (1.9, 3), the WB 2.3 million (1.6, 3) and Pax TV 820,000 (0.5, 1).

A ratings point represents 1,084,000 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.

For the week of Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 14.1 million; “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 12.8 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 12.5 million; “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 12.1 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 11.3 million.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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