- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Showtime’s ‘Smile’

Showtime promises good vibrations this fall with a new documentary on Brian Wilson’s long-delayed album, “Smile,” with “Beautiful Dreamer: Brian Wilson and the Story of ‘Smile,’” debuting Oct. 5 on the premium cable network.

The film chronicles the former Beach Boys masterwork from its aborted beginning 37 years ago to its resurrection in February including a London concert performance, Reuters News Agency reports.

“‘Smile’ is among history’s great unfinished works, and this extraordinary documentary will explain why,” Showtime Entertainment President Robert Greenblatt said. “Music fans, as well as the average viewer, will all be able to relate to the story of this remarkable record’s birth, demise and triumphant return to life.”

The documentary includes interviews with Mr. Wilson, collaborator Van Dyke Parks, session bass player Carol Kaye and drummer Hal Blaine. Mr. Wilson and Mr. Parks began work on “Smile” in 1966. Mr. Wilson in a state of paranoia reportedly destroyed most of the tapes.

The sessions yielded such tracks as “Heroes and Villains” and “Surf’s Up,” which turned up on later albums.

Running Robards

The son of acting greats Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall will do double duty on two networks in the upcoming TV season.

Sam Robards, best known for playing the father in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” will return as Greg Brock on NBC’s “The West Wing.”

He’ll also play Mare Winningham’s love interest on the new CBS drama “Clubhouse,” Reuters News Agency reports.

Mr. Robards’ previous credits include “American Beauty,” “Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle” and “Casualties of War.”

He also has a role in the upcoming comedy “Surviving Eden.”

Olympic gold for NBC

Despite a viewer decline since the Sydney Olympic Games four years ago, last week’s coverage of the 2004 Athens Games delivered NBC ratings gold.

Sunday’s 4-hour broadcast was the week’s most-watched show, winning the Peacock a huge audience of 25.8 million viewers and a 26 percent share of all the night’s viewers, Associated Press reports.

Friday’s opening ceremony came in at a close second with 25.4 million viewers, and Saturday’s coverage drew 19.8 million viewers for third place.

The week’s ratings otherwise were pretty much business as usual, largely filled with reruns and unscripted reality shows.

In the latter category, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” finale ranked a healthy 18th place with 8.8 million viewers.

For the week, NBC was the clear winner, averaging 15.1 million viewers (9.2 rating, 16 share).

Understandably, with the Olympics as a factor, the other networks were far behind. CBS averaged 7.7 million viewers (5.1 rating, 9 share), ABC had 6.2 million (4.1 rating, 7 share), and Fox 4.7 million (3.1 rating, 5 share). UPN had 2.5 million (1.7 rating, 3 share), the WB 2.5 million (1.7 rating, 3 share), and Pax TV 650,000 (0.4 rating, 1 share).

A ratings point represents 1.08 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.

For the week of Aug. 9 through 15, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were:

Summer Olympics (Sunday), NBC, 25.8 million; Summer Olympics (opening ceremony), NBC, 25.4 million; Summer Olympics (Saturday), NBC, 19.8 million; “Everybody Loves Raymond,” CBS, 11.8 million; and “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 11.5 million.

Woods’ raw ‘Life’

Never mind the giddy publicity surrounding adult film stars such as Jenna Jameson. A 2003 independent film co-starring James Woods paints a more nuanced portrait of life in the porn industry.

“This Girl’s Life,” debuting this weekend on Showtime, follows a rising starlet’s realization that her profession forces her to make some difficult decisions.

Newcomer Juliette Marquis stars as Moon, a beautiful adult-film actress grappling with her ailing father (Mr. Woods) and a potential beau (Kip Pardue) who disagrees with her lifestyle choices.

The film debuts Saturday evening at 9 on the cable network.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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