- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By George, he’s got it

Boxing great, ordained minister and grilling guru George Foreman has added another job to his resume: reality-TV judge.

Mr. Foreman, 58, will be one of four judges on ABC’s “American Inventor” when it begins its second season June 6, FremantleMedia North America Inc. announced Tuesday.

According to Associated Press, Mr. Foreman will be joined by former NBA executive Pat Croce, British businessman Peter Jones and undergarments entrepreneur Sara Blakely, creator of Spanx. The show’s new host is Nick Smith.

“American Inventor” features inventors from around the country competing for a chance to mass-produce their products and win a $1 million prize.

CNBC eyes ‘Dad’

News channels are starting to offer more than just news.

First Fox News Channel picked up 13 episodes of “The Hour News Hour,” a conservative answer to “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.” Now CNBC is developing an animated series, Reuters news agency reports.

Sources said the network likely will air five one-minute shorts cut from a pilot based on the comic strip “CEO Dad.” The cable network, which focuses on business news, might then develop a half-hour series for the fall.

Written by Los Angeles executive recruiter Tom Stern, “CEO Dad” follows Frank Pitt, the chief executive of a Styrofoam-peanut manufacturer in Pennsylvania as he tries to balance work and home life. There’s his wife, Chloe, the couple’s two children — 10-year-old son J.D. and daughter, Grace, 7 — and the family dog, Taylor. Pitt’s family complains he’s too focused on work.

Mr. Stern says he was a workaholic CEO dad himself until he became the victim of a home robbery — a crime that was witnessed by his 5-year-old daughter and nearly took his wife’s life. After that, Mr. Stern, who was held at gunpoint during the ordeal, became a “comedic evangelist” and set out to bring humor to others’ lives.

“I’m trying to reach all the people who are working too hard to get them to laugh at themselves and find a little bit of healing,” he says.

It wasn’t immediately clear where CNBC would slot either the shorts or a series, although a likely destination would be prime time. It would mark the first time the business channel has delved into animation.

Mr. Stern also has a book, “CEO Dad: How to Avoid Getting Fired by Your Family,” set for release next month.

On tap tonight

“This American Life,” Showtime’s incarnation of Ira Glass’ popular National Public Radio show featuring whimsical tales about the quirkier aspects of Americana, debuts at 10:30 tonight on the premium cable network.

The 15-year-old radio show, with its focus on first-person storytelling, makes an easy transition to television. Each episode focuses on a theme. Tonight’s edition, “Reality Check,” looks at those who had dreams that didn’t pan out. In an upcoming installment on stubbornness, a 14-year-old boy decides he’ll never fall in love — and a politician attempts to win an election without telling a lie.

More TV than folks

The average television home in the United States houses slightly more TV sets (2.8) than people (2.5), TVWeek.com reports.

The average TV home in 2006 received a record 104.2 channels, up eight channels from 2005. However, the percentage of cabled homes dropped from 68 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2006, according to data released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. Overall, there are 111.4 million TV homes in the U.S.

Twenty-eight percent of the U.S. TV universe has digital cable, while 23 percent has satellite or other specialized antennae receiving TV signals.

Also, the number of channels to which viewers tuned for at least 10 minutes per week grew from 15.4 to 15.7, Nielsen said.

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

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