- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 17, 2004

King’ Stern on Dave

The hopeful king of satellite radio, shock jock Howard Stern, drops by “The Late Show with David Letterman” tonight for a rare television interview.

Mr. Stern’s visit with Mr. Letterman, his 14th overall with the gap-toothed talker, will be his first since announcing his departure from terrestrial radio for Sirius’ satellite service.

“The Late Show” airs weeknights at 11:35 on CBS.

Whodunit hoopla

Think crime never pays?

Tell that to the networks.

Crime-themed dramas dominated last week’s TV ratings, Associated Press reports.

A trio of CBS whodunits — “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami” and “Without a Trace” — were the three most popular prime-time programs, according to Nielsen Media Research.

And on cable, Court TV logged the biggest audience in its history when 2.7 million people tuned in Friday afternoon to catch the Scott Peterson murder-trial verdict. Viewers watched the network’s coverage even though cameras weren’t allowed in the California court.

On a normal Friday afternoon, only about 380,000 people would be watching Court TV.

On broadcast TV, CBS logged six of the top 10 prime-time shows — including yet another crime drama, “Cold Case.” Its numbers, coupled with a strong ratings showing from the network’s disaster epic, “Category 6: Day of Destruction,” enabled CBS to easily win the week during a key sweeps period.

ABC’s freshman hit, “Desperate Housewives,” was pre-empted by Sunday’s broadcast of the American Music Awards. The annual honors, however, failed to make Nielsen’s list of the nation’s top 20 shows.

For the week of Nov. 8 through 14, the top five shows and their networks and viewerships were “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 29.6 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 22.1 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 20.5 million; “Survivor: Vanuatu,” CBS, 20 million; and “ER,” NBC, 19.8 million.

Alias’ on deck

ABC is hoping the heat radiating off its new drama “Lost” will fire up the fourth season of “Alias.”

The critically acclaimed spy drama, led by rising starlet Jennifer Garner, returns to the air in January in the 9 p.m. Wednesday slot after the thrilling castaway hit, Reuters News Agency reports.

The “Alias” season opener, on Jan. 5, will be a two-hour episode, and the late-season start will allow ABC to play out the entire season without interruption from week to week. The move marks the first time the series has strayed from Sunday, where it has experienced mostly tepid ratings since its network premiere in 2001.

But ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson says he thinks “Alias” would be bolstered by “Lost.” Both series were created by J.J. Abrams.

“There’s an entertainment octane level that feels very similar to us,” Mr. McPherson told Reuters. “I’m really pleased to have the assets we now have and offer Jennifer Garner a compatible lead-in, when on Sunday, she just didn’t have that.”

D’Onofrio ailing

Vincent D’Onofrio, the star of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” fainted for the second time in a week Tuesday and is being hospitalized for observation, AP reports.

Mr. D’Onofrio spent two days in the hospital last week after he fainted after rehearsing a strenuous scene that included climbing for the New York-based NBC drama. He had been expected to return to work Tuesday.

But he fainted again late Monday at his New York home and returned to the hospital for further observation and testing, series spokeswoman Pam Ruben Golum told AP.

Initial tests did not reveal any health problems, she said.

“He’s in good spirits, and producers are optimistic he’ll be released soon,” Miss Golum said.

Series producer NBC Universal Television Studio said Mr. D’Onofrio, 45, who plays New York police Detective Robert Goren, was not in ill health before he fainted the first time.

Family matters

Tonight, on her Oxygen talk show, author-actress Carrie Fisher will interview the man who left his wife and children for actress Elizabeth Taylor in 1959: her father, Eddie Fisher.

The famed entertainer, now 76, will discuss that aspect of his life — and plenty more from his notorious Hollywood days — on “Conversations with Carrie Fisher.”

The show, which airs at 10 p.m., will allow Miss Fisher (of “Star Wars” fame) to confront her dad about his life choices and shoddy parenting, among other topics.

Gossip maven Liz Smith, reporting in the New York Post about tonight’s broadcast, quotes Miss Fisher as saying to her father, “I do think you are childlike, and I think you have trouble taking care of yourself, and I don’t think it’s any wonder that you could never take care of your children in a normal way.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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