- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 7, 2005

TiVo time out

Even the nation’s TiVo machines are taking a break this summer.

An analysis of TiVo viewing data by New York-based media agency MPG finds that over the past two weeks, the majority of the top 25 broadcast network shows viewed by TiVo users weren’t recorded but instead were seen live, Reuters News Agency reports.

TiVo is a popular digital video recorder (DVR) that enables users to record programs digitally to be seen later.

“It seems like the DVR usage is seasonal,” Nina Kanter, director of communication analysis at MPG, told Reuters.

The top 25 included live sports (ABC’s NBA Finals were seen during prime time), first-run shows such as ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” and repeats of CBS’ “CSI” and ABC’s “Lost.” Only four shows — Fox’s “Family Guy,” “House, M.D.” and “American Dad,” along with The WB’s “Beauty and the Geek” — were primarily viewed at a later time.

That’s contrary to a corresponding TiVo survey from the week of May 8, when most of the shows were still first run.

Miss Kanter said it appears that most summer viewing is spontaneous.

“Television usage usually declines in the summer and, for the most part, it’s not appointment viewing like we see in the fall and during the regular television season,” she says. “That might be a plus for summer programs, because most of that viewing is live.”

Media agencies, the networks, TiVo and other companies are still trying to understand the usage of digital video recorders and how they change viewing patterns. Some agencies have taken deep dives into DVR data to find out which shows are being recorded and how many viewers skip past commercials.

Nielsen Media Research will soon begin releasing regular data from DVR households, which will add another layer to the tracking of viewer usage.

Ice down under

“Law & Order: SVU” star Ice-T is getting back to his rap roots — in Australia.

The rapper-actor is touring Down Under for a series of gigs, but he told Australian Associated Press that he had an ulterior motive in mind.

“This particular tour was set up for us to travel point blank,” Ice-T said. “So it was like, let’s set up some gigs, we will hit some clubs and you know, get like a paid vacation.”

The television star says climbing the Sydney Harbour bridge like thousands of other visitors wasn’t in his itinerary.

He said he doesn’t want to get “blown off of some bridge in Australia.”

“That is not where it is going to end for me,” he said.

Ice-T came to national prominence with incendiary songs such as “Cop Killer,” which incited a firestorm of criticism from police departments nationwide.

These days, however, younger television viewers may know him best as someone fighting crime on behalf of cops thanks to “Law & Order.”

‘Properties’ shuffle

“That ‘70s Show” co-star Christina Moore is joining the cast of the new ABC comedy “Hot Properties,” according to Reuters.

The show is based in Manhattan and centers on four women who work at an upscale real estate office.

Miss Moore replaces Audra Blaser, who starred in the pilot alongside Gail O’Grady, Nicole Sullivan and Sofia Vergara. Along with “That ‘70s Show” — where she replaced Lisa Robin Kelly as Topher Grace’s sister — the actress’s other TV credits include a stint on “The Bad Girl’s Guide,” a short-lived comedy on UPN.

In other casting news, Jaime Lee Kirchner has been added to “Just Legal,” the WB Network’s new drama about the relationship between David Ross (Jay Baruchel) — a novice, though brilliant, attorney — and his mentor (“Nash Bridges’ ” Don Johnson), a jaded defense attorney. Miss Kirchner will portray a new character, a young woman who went to school with David.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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