- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2006

Just too much

Martha Stewart believes her version of NBC’s popular reality show “The Apprentice” (featuring Donald Trump) flopped this past fall because the franchise was overexposed.

Her “Apprentice” was supposed to be the sole show, starting out by having her fire Mr. Trump on the air, reports Associated Press citing a quote from Miss Stewart in the current Newsweek, out yesterday.

“Having two ‘Apprentices’ was as unfair to him as it was unfair to me,” she said.

“But Donald really wanted to stay on.”

Mr. Trump, however, begged to differ.

“Why would somebody fire me from the No. 1 show in television? She just can’t seem to take failure,” Mr. Trump told the Dallas Business Journal.

“The fact is, her show failed. She tried hard but she obviously didn’t have it.”

Last month, Miss Stewart lost an appeal, ending her criminal case for lying about a stock sale that sent her to jail for five months and nearly six months of house arrest. Her company’s stock was down by more than half during the past year, but the company is doing better now, and “we’re back in spirit and in business dealings,” she said.

NBC’s small victory

While NBC executives are currently licking their wounds after the trouncing of the network’s Winter Olympics coverage by Fox’s megahit “American Idol,” there is one place where the Olympics are hammering Simon Cowell and company — the Web.

The audience for NBCOlympics.com was more than four times larger than that seen on IdolOnFox.com, “American Idol’s” companion site, during the week that ended Feb. 12, according to Nielsen//NetRatings, the trade publication MediaWeek reports.

IdolOnFox.com generated just over 500,000 visitors during that week, while NBCOlympics.com pulled in 2.3 million users.

NBCOlympics.com’s audience figure is 55 percent larger than that of the comparable week four years ago during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Of course, a sporting event such as the Olympic Games lends itself to the Internet, as fans read up on each day’s events, particularly given the six- to eight-hour time difference between the United States and Turin, Italy.

For “Idol” fans, though, most of the series enjoyment appears to be visual — i.e. watching its steady stream of good, bad and ugly singing performances.

“On the Web, the Olympics is more popular than ‘American Idol,’ demonstrating the different ways in which people are consuming the Internet and television,” said Jon Gibs, director of media, Nielsen//NetRatings.

“With the time zone difference between Torino and the U.S., American Olympic fans are checking scores online at work before heading home to watch the games on TV.”

Fox, however, has nothing to fear. Beginning this evening “Idol” expands to three nights — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8 — as viewers vote to keep or cast off the remaining 24 finalists in the coming weeks.

The new “American Idol” will be crowned during May sweeps.

‘Party’s‘ over

After just two original airings, UPN’s new Tuesday night reality series “Get This Party Started” has been pulled by the network.

“Party,” which centered on the antics of an elite team of party planners to the stars led by special events coordinator Lara Shriftman, debuted Feb. 7 to dismal ratings that apparently grew worse in its second week, reports TVWeek.com.

Tonight, UPNwill air the Martin Lawrence feature film “Black Knight” in “Party’s” 8 o’clock slot.

‘Kitty’ sittin’ pretty

Hello Kitty, the feline icon of cuteness, is coming to television in a series that will air in more than 15 countries, the character’s creator said yesterday.

“Hello Kitty, Stamp Village,” a 26-part clay animation series on the adventures of the mouthless tabby and her pals, will be completed this month and will air in Asia, Europe and North America, the Sanrio company said.

“The plan is to target a world market. So the program will be created in an easy format to dub or narrate into foreign languages,” Sanrio spokesman Kazuo Tohmatsu told Agence France-Presse.

Hello Kitty, which began in 1974 in Japan as a moon-faced cartoon cat on a coin purse, has become a global phenomenon with more than 50,000 different products on sale in 60 countries.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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