- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bound for glory

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame is beaming up William Shatner along with a number of TV icons this year, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Shatner, most famous for his turn as Captain Kirk on “Star Trek,” will be joined by Tom Brokaw and Regis Philbin in the hall’s latest class of inductees.

Some folks behind the scenes will be represented as well.

Director James Burrows (“Will & Grace,” “Cheers”) and former network executive and producer Leonard Goldberg (“Brian’s Song,” “Hart to Hart”) also are among those who will be honored, academy Chairman Dick Askin announced this week.

This year’s inductees have helped shape the television industry and serve as an inspiration for others, Mr. Askin said Monday.

Mr. Shatner is an Emmy winner for his ongoing role in ABC’s “Boston Legal.” Mr. Brokaw, who retired as NBC anchor in 2004, continues to work on documentaries. Mr. Philbin co-hosts “Live With Regis and Kelly” and is hosting the new NBC series “America’s Got Talent.”

A date for the induction ceremony has not been scheduled.

More than 100 people are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Founded in 1984, its honorees include Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson and Walter Cronkite. The TV academy also administers the annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

‘Top’ no more

Britain’s longest-running music television show soon will be history.

More than 40 years after the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were featured on its first edition, the BBC is scrapping Britain’s “Top of the Pops” program, Reuters news agency reports.

From its 1964 start at the height of Beatlemania, the weekly countdown of Britain’s top-selling singles has tracked the ever-changing musical tastes of the younger generation. However, the rise of 24-hour music TV channels such as MTV and Internet downloads sounded the death knell for the show, which at its peak attracted tens of millions of viewers in Britain and nearly 100 other countries.

Yet the BBC, Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster, said the show could not compete with today’s rivals that enable viewers to “consume music of their choice any time night or day.”

“We are very proud of a show which has survived 42 years in the UK and gone on to become a worldwide brand,” BBC Director of Television Jana Bennett said Tuesday. “But the time has come to bring the show to its natural conclusion.”

The Rolling Stones opened the first “Top” show with “I Wanna Be Your Man.” It ended with a filmed performance by the Beatles of their then No. 1 hit “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

Former show host Paul Gambaccini said “Top” was required listening for generations of pop fans but has suffered because famous artists are releasing fewer hits each year.

“It was the news of pop music,” he told BBC radio. “Nowadays, the major artists don’t release hit records more than once every two years — consequently, the news isn’t very interesting.”

Court cuts back

Dozens of staffers at Court TV recently have been shown the door by new owner Turner Broadcasting.

According to Reuters, the folks at Turner slashed 50 jobs from the law-and-justice channel this week.

Those affected include employees in finance, accounting, affiliate sales and public relations, Reuters said. Many of the terminated employees will stay on through summer’s end. Some were offered jobs in Turner’s Atlanta headquarters but declined.

“As anticipated, in the course of integrating Court TV business operations into the Turner Broadcasting organization, we have identified some job redundancies in areas that overlap with existing Turner infrastructure,” Turner Broadcasting said.

With more than 400 employees, Court TV became a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner when the company bought out part owner Liberty Media Corp. last month.

Additional rounds of layoffs are expected to claim more positions over the next few months in other departments where Turner and Court TV share services, including advertising sales, research and legal.

However, Court TV’s programming and marketing departments are expected to remain unscathed.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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