- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

CW angling for viewers

In all the hubbub about the battle for ratings supremacy in Thursday’s 9 p.m. slot — “CSI” versus “Grey’s Anatomy” versus “Scrubs”/”30 Rock” versus the now-canceled “O.C.” — it’s easy to forget that another show is waving knives, shotguns and ghosts to grab attention in the most competitive time slot on television, notes the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Over at the CW, “Supernatural” continues to plead for viewers in its second season. Teen girls are watching (mostly to moon over stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles), but now the show is trying to bring more guys into its orbit by casting Tricia Helfer — the sexy Cylon Six on “Battlestar Galactica” — as a guest star in tonight’s new episode.

For the uninitiated, and that appears to be many viewers given the low ratings, “Supernatural” is a horror show that follows brothers Sam (Mr. Padalecki, as the sensitive one) and Dean (Mr. Ackles, the sarcastic one) as they track down murderous ghosts and the like.

Tonight, Miss Helfer guests as a woman who encounters a creepy old guy with an exposed, bloody chest cavity after she wrecks her car and her husband goes missing.

Today’ shows slippage

Both ABC and CBS are crowing that in the crucial sweeps last month, NBC’s “Today” show had its lowest viewership in eight years — and a ratings decline of about 10 percent from a year earlier, the New York Post reports.

But Peacock execs aren’t hitting the panic button — and they certainly aren’t blaming Meredith Vieira, who replaced Katie Couric last fall. “Today” is still No. 1 in its time slot. And last year, the Olympics temporarily inflated all of NBC’s ratings.

The overall drop reflects the fact that viewers are watching the morning shows less and getting their news more from cable and the Web. “Compared to two years ago, we’ve doubled the gap between ‘Today’ and ‘GMA’,” a “Today” spokeswoman said. But a TV insider said “Today” is losing its dominance: “The show is trending in the wrong direction,” the unnamed source said — partly because Miss Vieira is busy hosting “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” as well as raising three children and taking care of a husband who’s stricken with multiple sclerosis. When “Good Morning America” anchor Diane Sawyer reported from Iran on Feb. 12, “GMA” eclipsed “Today” by 350,000 viewers.

CBS tops Emmy bids

CBS yesterday racked up 57 nominations — including 33 for its soaps “Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns” — to top the list of daytime programs vying for honors at the 34th annual “Daytime Emmy Awards,” reports TVWeek.com. The awards will be presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and air June 15 on CBS.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” was the most-nominated talk show with 12 chances to take home an award, including one for outstanding host. Also nominated in the host category are Dr. Phil McGraw, Rachael Ray, “Soap Talk’s” Lisa Rinna and Ty Treadway, Tyra Banks and “The View’s” Barbara Walters, Rosie O’Donnell, Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

“The View” collected 10 nominations, followed by freshman “Rachael Ray” (seven), “The Tyra Banks Show” (six), “The Martha Stewart Show” (five), and “Dr. Phil” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show” (four apiece).

ABC picked up 36 nods and NBC 15.

Discovery Kids collected 16 nominations, followed by Kids WB! (15); Food Network (seven); Nickelodeon (five), A&E; (four); Discovery Channel (three); Cartoon Network, Fox, Noggin and Soap Net (two each); and Animania, Disney Channel, HGTV Lifetime, MTV, TBN, TLC, Travel Channel and WarnerBros.com (with one each).

The complete list of nominations is posted at www.emmyonline.tv.

Dushku longs for TV

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Tru Calling” star Eliza Dushku is looking to return to the small screen with a new Fox pilot.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Miss Dushku has been cast in a main role in “Nurses,” a medical ensemble drama that also includes Sara Rue, Drew Sidora and Gregory Harrison.

Katheryn Winnick (“House”) was originally cast in the part — a young woman just out of medical school who goes to work at the hospital run by her father — but the studio opted to go a different way when the character reportedly took a more comedic turn.

Also new to the “Nurses” cast is Jacklyn DeSantis (“Windfall”), playing a nurse going through a bitter divorce.

Miss Dushku’s feature credits include “Wrong Turn” and “Bring It On.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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