- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 4, 2007

‘Tudors’ a triumph

“The Tudors,” Showtime’s new series, has given the premium cable channel one of its biggest ratings successes in years.

Nearly 1.3 million viewers caught the debut and encore airing of the miniseries, which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, Reuters news agency reports.

The drama premiered Sunday at 10 p.m., drawing 870,000 viewers in the time period, followed by a repeat airing at 11 p.m. that averaged 404,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. The 10 p.m. telecast drew more viewers than the series debuts of “Weeds” and “Dexter,” Showtime’s highest-rated comedy and drama, respectively. “Tudors,” in fact, did 78 percent better than “Weeds,” which averaged 488,000 viewers in its series debut in August 2005, and 44 percent better than “Dexter,” which averaged 603,000 viewers for its Oct. 1 debut. “Tudors” also marked Showtime’s highest series premiere in three years, since “Fat Actress” debuted in March 2005 to 924,000 viewers.

The 10 p.m. telecast also more than doubled the viewership of its lead-in, a repeat of “Dexter.” Overall, the appeal of “Tudors” was almost equally divided between males (46 percent) and females (54 percent).

Before its premiere, more than 1 million people sampled the show, based on available online and on-demand data from partners that include Yahoo, NetFlix, Amazon, CinemaNow, Movielink, TVGuide.com and Comcast. That number is expected to double once additional data become available.

Recount re-enacted

Filmmaker Sydney Pollack will direct “Recount,” a made-for-cable movie about the bitter Florida recount that decided the nation’s 2000 presidential election, Agence France-Presse reports.

According to Variety, HBO has hired the 72-year-old Oscar winner to chronicle the fallout that continued weeks after the November election that sealed George W. Bush’s victory over Al Gore by a mere 537 votes in Florida. The recount in the state finally was decided in Mr. Bush’s favor by a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. Mr. Pollack’s film is scheduled to air in spring 2008.

It’s a celebration

Although he turned 60 nearly two weeks ago, we can all celebrate Elton John’s birthday during a prime-time special airing at 8 tonight on MyNetworkTV (WDCA-20).

The two-hour “Happy Birthday Elton” (taped March 25, the day before his birthday) showcases the singer-songwriter’s natal-day blowout at Madison Square Garden. It also was his 60th concert at the venue.

Celebrity well-wishers who turned out for the event include comedians Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg; Mr. John’s songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin; and fellow rockers Paul McCartney and Rod Stewart.

This just in

NBC has picked up “30 Rock,” the critically acclaimed but ratings-challenged Tina Fey sitcom for a second season, TVWeek.com reports.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance from staff and wire reports.

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