- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Supremely powerful

With the two-part “The Supreme Court” (airing tonight from 9 to 11 and continuing Feb. 7 on WETA-Channel 26 and Maryland Public Television-Channel 22), PBS promises to give us a look at one of the nation’s most powerful institutions, whose inner workings are some of the least known to the American public.

Narrated by Oscar nominee David Strathairn (“Good Night, and Good Luck”), the series explores the history of the court as well as some of its most important cases, including the abortion battles of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are among those providing in-depth interviews.

The series, PBS says, also “humanizes the enigmatic black-robed figures, revealing their temperaments, passions, deeply held personal beliefs and life stories.” George Washington University Law School professor Jeffrey Rosen has written the companion book to the series.

‘Knights’ dodge ‘Idol’

ABC is making some changes after seeing its new comedy “The Knights of Prosperity” pummeled in the ratings by “American Idol.”

Starting tonight, “Knights” will be seen at 8:30. The veteran sitcom “According to Jim” will go face to face with “Idol” at 9, Zap2it.com reports.

“Knights,” about a group of thieves plotting to rob the palatial apartment of Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, earned largely positive reviews but has struggled mightily against “Idol.” After averaging 6.2 million viewers for its first two broadcasts (Jan. 3 and 10), the show tumbled to fewer than 4 million viewers the past two weeks.

Over and out

Low ratings have forced CBS to can “Armed & Famous” after airing just four episodes, AP reports. The new reality series (also seen opposite “American Idol” on Wednesdays) followed five C-list celebrities — including former “Chips” star Erik Estrada, singer La Toya Jackson and Jack Osbourne — during their time as gun-carrying reserve officers of the Muncie (Ind.) Police Department.

‘Idol’ surge continues

There’s a reason why rival TV executives refer to Fox’s “American Idol” as the “death star.”

The talent show, which attracted more than 32 million viewers for each of its two episodes last week, eclipsed everything in prime time and was particularly cruel for shows unlucky enough to air at the same time, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday. (Witness the aforementioned shows “Knights of Prosperity” and “Armed & Famous.”)

Fox won the week, averaging 12.6 million viewers. CBS had 11.6 million viewers, ABC had 8 million viewers, and NBC had 7.7 million. Following were the CW with 3.3 million and the I network with 680,000.

For the week of Jan. 22 through 28, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 33.8 million; “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 32.6 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 21.5 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 21.17 million; and “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 18.8 million.

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

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