- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Gibson loses project

Mel Gibson’s drunken-driving scandal has cost him some popularity — and a job.

ABC has pulled a miniseries about the Holocaust that it was developing with Mr. Gibson’s production company, Reuters news agency reports. The Wall Street Journal also reported the story, quoting an unidentified representative for the network.

Mr. Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving early on Friday. He reportedly began a tirade against Jews, asking the arresting officer if he was Jewish and blaming Jews for starting all wars.

The actor — a conservative Catholic who in the past has denied being anti-Semitic and whose father, Hutton Gibson, has been quoted as saying the Holocaust was mostly fiction — apologized for his remarks.

However, the Journal noted that the incident has raised questions about projects on which Mr. Gibson and his Icon Productions company are working such as the ABC television miniseries based on a memoir about a Dutch Jew during World War II. An ABC representative told the newspaper it has been in the works for two years and the network still has not seen a script, so the project is being pulled.

No other details were given, and Reuters could not reach a spokesman for ABC, which is owned by the Walt Disney Co., for comment.

According to published reports, Disney’s movie studio still plans to release Mr. Gibson’s self-financed Mayan-language movie “Apocalypto” on Dec. 8.

Couric on 9/11

CBS is the first network to announce its plans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, with Katie Couric hosting an hourlong special.

The former “Today” host and incoming “CBS Evening News” anchor will make her prime-time debut Sept. 6 with “Five Years Later — How Safe Are We?” Associated Press reports. The program, airing at 10 p.m., will explore what the government is doing to prevent future attacks and how anxiety about possible attacks affects Americans.

Miss Couric signs on as anchor of the “CBS Evening News” the day before on Sept. 5. The Arlington native also will anchor the newscast from ground zero on September 11 as part of the network’s coverage to commemorate the tragedy, CBS announced Monday.

Univision scores

CBS’ “The Unit,” NBC’s “Medium” and ABC’s “Making a Music Star” all had something in common last week. None had more viewers than an episode of the telenovela “Fea Mas Bella” on Univision, AP reports.

The Spanish-language network’s impressive performance comes during a slow summer for English-language broadcast networks. Since Nielsen Media Research began measuring Univision’s viewership last year, the network consistently has beaten the WB and UPN networks in the ratings. Last week, Univision averaged more viewers aged 18 to 34 in prime time than any other network except Fox.

Overall, CBS won the week averaging 7.3 million viewers in prime time. NBC averaged 6.3 million, Fox had 5.5 million and ABC 5 million. Following were UPN with 1.9 million and the WB with 1.8 million.

For the week of July 24 through 30, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Without a Trace,” CBS, 10.5 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 10.4 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 10.3 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 10.1 million; and “House M.D.,” Fox, 10 million.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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