- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Grammys rule

Plenty of eyeballs were glued to this year’s Grammy telecast — maybe to see the high-profile acts or, quite possibly, to see whether more Janet Jackson-style antics would unfold.

Regardless of the reasons, Sunday’s Grammy Awards show on CBS brought in 26.3 million viewers, making it the third-most-watched Grammy telecast of the past 10 years, Associated Press reports.

It was the most for the music industry’s showcase since 26.6 million watched in 2001, Nielsen Media Research said this week.

Miss Jackson didn’t show, but CBS telecast the event on a five-minute delay to guard against any stunts comparable to her Super Bowl halftime show.

The Grammys also enabled CBS to win the first full week of the February sweeps, despite Fox’s overpowering “American Idol” series. “Idol” topped 30 million viewers for its episode Feb 3.

Thursday’s all-star “Survivor” episode was seen by 23 million people, about 3 million more than the typical audience for a regular version of the game.

The series-ending wedding episode of NBC’s “Ed” was a dud, though, seen by just 8.2 million people, making any possibility that the show could return remote.

For the week, CBS averaged 15.4 million viewers (9.7 rating, 15 share). Fox averaged 11.7 million viewers (7.0, 11) but, more important, won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic craved by advertisers.

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.

For the week of Feb. 2 through 8, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships: “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 30.1 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (Thursday), CBS, 29.3 million; “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 28.8 million; “Grammy Awards,” CBS, 26.3 million; “Friends” (Thursday), NBC, 24.9 million.

Oscars: free preach

Rest assured, no proposed five-second delay on the upcoming Oscar telecast will prevent actors from spouting inane, ill-informed political commentaries.

So says the producer and director of the upcoming broadcast, scheduled for Feb. 29 on ABC, Associated Press reports.

The network’s proposed five-second delay will be used to shield viewers from any profanity or nudity, not political monologues.

The safeguard measure for the Academy Awards is the latest fallout from the uproar over Janet Jackson’s breast-baring Super Bowl performance, which has provoked an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission.

“At the nominees luncheon yesterday, I spoke with the nominees and just said that when they come up, they’re all under this microscope, unfortunately, because of these events a couple weeks ago,” Oscar telecast producer Joe Roth told reporters Tuesday.

Asked if the delay could be used to block political statements such as documentary filmmaker Michael Moore’s blathering against President Bush last year, which drew mostly boos from the theater audience, Mr. Roth responded, “No, it applies to the use of profanity.”

The producer, who is head of Revolution Studios, said he wanted to encourage a sense of freedom and spontaneity as long as winners are interesting and generally wholesome.

Billy Crystal once again will host the awards show, to be broadcast from Hollywood’s Kodak Theatre.

Cool’ makeover

If Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” could stereotype all homosexuals as style mavens, then Showtime’s new “Make Me Cool” similarly can suggest all blacks are hipper than the rest of us.

Showtime Networks has ordered a pilot for “Make Me Cool,” a prime-time reality series in which a squad of hip blacks help the terminally “un-cool” — not just clueless Caucasians — overcome their obstacles, Reuters News Agency reports.

“A lot of the coolest stuff emanates from the black culture,” Robert Greenblatt, president of entertainment at Showtime, told Reuters. “That culture seems to have the hold on stuff that is going to be cool tomorrow — they know it today.”

He also emphasized that the series will be far edgier than Bravo’s “Queer Eye.”

“I think the dialogue between different cultures and races will be more explicit and frank,” he said. “This will be more sociologically interesting than what fork to use and how to make a mushroom roulade.”

If the pilot is approved, “Cool” could be on the air by year’s end.

“Make Me Cool,” which is a working title, was brought to Showtime by Jay Blumenfield and Anthony Marsh, two of the co-executive producers on the Showtime series “Family Business,” which follows the life of a pornographer and his kin.

Mr. Blumenfield and Mr. Marsh will cast three or four people for the principal roles, but no specific plans have been set.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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