- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2007

Showtime’s on a roll

Things appear promising for Showtime as the premium cable network continues to position itself as the heir apparent to HBO with the approaching end of that channel’s landmark series, “The Sopranos.”

Showtime is renewing “The Tudors” and “This American Life” for second seasons after both new series were hailed by the critics.

“The Tudors,” which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as a virile young King Henry VIII, garnered record viewership numbers for the network.

Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s president of entertainment, noted that “audiences are becoming addicted” to the royal drama. Ten more episodes will be filmed in Ireland.

“This American Life” is the televised version of Ira Glass’ cult hit public-radio series. Six more episodes will air next year. Showtime also has greenlighted five episodes of a new sketch-comedy series from the legendary British comedian Tracey Ullman, tentatively titled “State of the Union.”

Local reporter sues PG

Andrea McCarren, an investigative reporter for WJLA-ABC7, is suing the Prince George’s County Police Department, Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports.

According to WTOP-news.com, Miss McCarren is seeking $500,000, claiming that officers violated her rights and injured her in April 2005.

Lawyers for Miss McCarren say she was investigating possible misuse of government resources and following a county official when she and her cameraman were pulled over by seven police cars. The official had called police about a suspicious vehicle. Miss McCarren says police dislocated her shoulder and tore her rotator cuff in the incident. Neither she nor her cameraman, Peter Hakel, was ever charged with any violations.

Miss McCarren is on a leave of absence as one of the 2007 class of Nieman Fellows at Harvard University, Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports.

Meundo returns

Menudo,the Puerto Rican boy band that gave singer Ricky Martin his start, is coming back as part of an “American Idol”-style reality show, AP reports.

According to the Miami Herald, dozens of Latino teenagers showed up Saturday at a waterfront market in Miami to audition for “The Road to Menudo,” scheduled to air next month on MTV Tr3s, MTV’s bilingual Latin-American channel. Judges included Johnny Wright, the music manager behind New Kids on the Block, ‘NSync and the Backstreet Boys, and Backstreet Boy Howie Dorough.

Menudo was one of the most popular boy bands of the 1980s and 1990s, rotating in new talent every few years when the singers got older or their voices changed.

Lonelygirl spawns show

The producers of the popular Internet series Lonelygirl15 are spinning off a new show, which they plan to support through product-placement deals, MediaWeek.com says.

Slated to debut in July, “Lonelygirl15 Presents … KateModern” will track a teenage college student in London, chronicling her social life and “dark forces” that lurk in the background.

Lonelygirl15 rose to prominence on YouTube last summer, when her video blogs appeared as the real-life ruminations of a wise-beyond-her-years home-schooled teen. The clips eventually were revealed as fictional, but Lonelygirl15 has remained popular on YouTube and LG15.com.

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

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