- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fallen Star

Don’t expect a smackdown between Rosie O’Donnell and Star Jones Reynolds on “The View.” Miss Jones Reynolds announced yesterday that she’s leaving the show.

According to published reports, the former New York prosecutor told People magazine, “What you don’t know is that my contract was not renewed for the 10th season. I feel like I was fired.”

Rumors that she was leaving have intensified since the April announcement that Rosie O’Donnell would be replacing Meredith Vieira on “The View” in the fall. Miss O’Donnell had made several caustic remarks about Miss Jones Reynolds, saying that it was dishonest for her to talk about losing more than 100 pounds through diet and exercise without talking about gastric bypass surgery, Associated Press reports.

Univision sold

The country’s largest Spanish-language broadcaster will be sold for $12.3 billion in cash, AP reports.

Univision Communications Inc.’s board agreed to sell the company to a consortium of investors led by private equity firms Texas Pacific Group Inc. and Thomas H. Lee Partners. The group also includes Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, Providence Equity Partners Inc. and media mogul Haim Saban. Mr. Saban, who is on Forbes’ list of the 400 Richest Americans, first made his fortune with the children’s cartoon “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.”

The investors also will assume debt totaling around $1.4 billion. If approved by Univision shareholders and regulators, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2007.

A rival consortium, which was led by Mexican broadcaster and Univision programming supplier Grupo Televisa SA and included Bill Gates’ investment firm Cascade Investment LLC, also submitted an offer.

NBC on the Web

Taking the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em stance,” NBC yesterday announced a strategic partnership with YouTube Inc., an online video service. An official NBC channel on YouTube will feature promotions for the Peacock fall schedule and flagship programs such as “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.” The network also is inviting viewers to submit their own promos for “The Office.” The winning video will air during the sitcom’s August broadcasts.

YouTube is the 17th-most-visited site on the Web, with viewers watching more than 70 million videos per day. Users sharing their video clips on the site upload 60,000 videos daily.

The partnership marks a turning point in the two companies’ relationship. NBC previously had demanded that YouTube remove clips from the network’s “Saturday Night Live” that viewers had uploaded. YouTube complied.

Huff’ off the couch

Showtime has canceled its much-heralded series “Huff,” Variety reports. The show, starring Hank Azaria, Blythe Danner and Oliver Platt, centered around a psychiatrist and his dysfunctional family. Its first season garnered Showtime a record seven Emmy nominations. The network ordered a second season before the first show even had aired. However, the series never connected with viewers, showing low ratings through both seasons. Sunday’s season finale has turned out to be the program’s last episode.

AMC elated by ‘Trail’

AMC’s premiere of “Broken Trail,” its first-ever original movie event, delivered all-time record ratings for the network on Sunday, the first night of the two-part film. The epic Western-themed movie, starring Academy Award winner Robert Duvall and Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church, scored a record-breaking 7.6 household rating, reports the industry publication MultiChannel News — translating into 6.7 million households and 9.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

Elsewhere on cable, new mom Angelina Jolie’s interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN attracted 1.33 million viewers, more than doubling the audience Mr. Cooper typically gets for his nightly newscast, AP reports.

Among broadcast networks in prime time, CBS led last week with an average 7.4 million viewers, Nielsen said.

For the week of June 19 through 25, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: NBA Finals Game 6: Miami vs. Dallas, ABC, 15.7 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 12.4 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 11.9 million; “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 11.3 million and “Without a Trace,” CBS, 10.2 million.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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