- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006

A place on MySpace

News Corp.’s MySpace.com wants to be your site of choice for “24” repeats.

The Web site will begin selling episodes of the hit Fox series next week as part of a plan to turn the popular Internet destination into a business rivaling Yahoo Inc. and Apple Computer Inc.’s ITunes, Reuters news agency reports, citing a report in the Wall Street Journal.

According to published reports, MySpace, one of the Web’s fastest-growing properties, will charge $1.99 per episode for shows from seasons one and five. Two free episodes of “24,” sponsored by Burger King Holdings, also will be available, the Journal reported.

In recent months, TV networks have rushed to make their shows available for sale on ITunes for $1.99, including News Corp.-owned Fox, which sealed a deal last week to sell shows on the service.

A spokesman for News Corp. could not be reached for comment.

Cameo appearance

NBC’s “The West Wing” wrapped its seventh and final season Sunday with a silent tribute to the show’s creator.

During the inauguration scene, the camera panned to several people watching new President Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits) being sworn into office. We caught sight of outgoing President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen), his wife, Abby (Stockard Channing) and Santos’ wife, Helen (Teri Polo), but among those featured was a face unfamiliar to the casual viewer. “West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin finally got his close-up in a wordless cameo, reports Zap2it.com.

The irony is that Mr. Sorkin didn’t create the Santos character. Both he and fellow executive producer Thomas Schlamme left “The West Wing” at the end of the show’s fourth season; the campaign story line that carried the show through its final days didn’t kick in until season six.

Sunday’s finale, written by executive producer John Wells, focused on the outgoing Bartlet staff’s transition back to regular life and the Santos administration’s move into the White House. It also paid tribute to cast member John Spencer, who died in December, by having his character’s daughter (Allison Smith) pass on a memento from the past — a cocktail napkin with the words “Bartlet for America” written on it — to the fictional commander in chief.

Mr. Sorkin and Mr. Schlamme will re-team this fall for the NBC series “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.” The workplace drama, about a “Saturday Night Live”- style sketch show, received its first on-air promotion during the “West Wing” finale.

Heaven’-ly return

Last week’s “7th Heaven” season ender seemed to wrap up plenty of loose ends. That made sense because the show got the ax months ago.

Now, though, the newly formed CW network plans to bring “Heaven” back this fall for an 11th season, Reuters reports. Sources said CW executives hammered out a deal over the weekend with series creator and executive producer Brenda Hampton to return the long-running WB drama for another season.

According to Reuters, the sticking point was striking a deal with the family drama’s primary cast members — including Stephen Collins and Catherine Hicks — which needed to be resolved in time for CW’s “upfront” presentation to advertisers Thursday.

The dispute stemmed from the differences between an old WB “Heaven” contract with options on its principal players for another season and a deal offered by CBS Paramount Network TV (which produces “Heaven” through its Spelling Television unit) asking cast members to take a pay cut. The squabble over salaries was cited as one reason for the earlier decision to cancel the show.

Multiple talent agents on the show also were peeved that CBS Paramount and CW were offering guarantees for 10 to 13 episodes instead of the standard 22-episode full-season deal.

Representatives for CW and CBS Paramount Television declined to comment.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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