- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Slim gain for Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford’s first week as a “Today” co-host alongside Hoda Kotb in the fourth hour of the show attracted slightly more young viewers but did not increase the overall audience for the time slot, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

“Today’s” primary two-hour block continued to dominate the head-to-head competition the week of April 13, averaging 5.6 million total viewers, more than 900,000 viewers ahead of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” which averaged 4.6 million viewers, TVWeek.com reports.

In other morning show ratings news, CBS’ “The Early Show” averaged 2.9 million viewers, a year-to-year increase of 8 percent. The third-place show also showed year-to-year increases of 22 percent in adults 25 to 54, 18 percent in women 25 to 54 and 25 percent in women 18 to 49.

In the adults 25 to 54 demographic, “Today” averaged 2.6 million viewers, “GMA” averaged 2.1 million, and “Early Show” averaged 1.4 million.

Game on for ‘Feud’

NBC will premiere its celeb-filled revival of “Family Feud” on July 1, Variety reports.

“Today” weatherman Al Roker will host the quiz show on Tuesday evenings at 8, leading into the new season of “America’s Got Talent.”

NBC also revealed more details about the format of the new “Feud.” According to Variety, each hour-long episode will feature four teams battling for charity. Some teams will consist of celebs and their relatives, while others will be made up of reunited TV casts.

BET on the prowl

BET Networks on Thursday took the wraps off an eclectic slate of new series, giving media buyers an advance look at a prime-time animated strip based on the Marvel Comics franchise the Black Panther as well as a dating show and a drama-reality hybrid, MediaWeek.com reports.

Guided by BET entertainment President Reginald Hudlin, the Black Panther project will premiere in the first quarter of 2009. An avowed comic-book collector with more than 50,000 titles in his private collection, Mr. Hudlin — whose feature-directing credits include the “House Party” franchise and the Eddie Murphy romantic comedy “Boomerang” — was instrumental in resurrecting the Black Panther character for Marvel, writing a new series that debuted in 2005.

Other new BET series in the hopper include “The Boot,” a dating-competition show hosted by rapper MC Lyte; “Brutha,” a docudrama centering on five siblings as they navigate the turbulent waters of the music industry; and the talk show “The Truth With Jeff Johnson,” which will investigate issues of particular importance to the network’s young, urban demographic.

Along with the new series, BET also has renewed a number of its unscripted shows, including “American Gangster,” “College Hill” and “Keyshia Cole: The Way It Is.”

Search for top mom

We all think we have the best mom in the world.

One, however, will officially capture that title in “Teleflora Presents America’s Favorite Mom,” an upcoming special hosted by Donny and Marie Osmond and airing at 7 p.m. on May 11 (Mother’s Day) on NBC.

Nominations are being accepted online (at www.AmericasFavoriteMom.com) through Friday in the categories of single moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, unconventional moms and military moms. A panel of experts will narrow the pool to the top three semifinalists in each category, and 15 semifinalists will appear on NBC’s “Today” show the week before Mother’s Day.

In the end, five finalists will vie for the title on the NBC prime-time special when the winning mom will be crowned.

Beach leaving ‘L&O;’

Adam Beach is departing NBC’s crime drama “Law & Order: SVU” at the end of the season.

The actor joined Dick Wolf’s crime drama last fall under a one-year deal, which had an option for a second. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the two sides have decided not to exercise the option.

Mr. Beach plays Chester Lake, an SVU detective from Brooklyn, on the show.

Before joining the cast, he had a starring role in Mr. Wolf’s Emmy-winning HBO film “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which earned the actor a Golden Globe nomination.

Mr. Beach’s departure from “L&O;: SVU” follows the news that another regular on the show, veteran Diane Neal, also is exiting the series.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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