- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

No. 3 for ‘Tudors’

“The Tudors” will reign for another season on Showtime, Variety reported yesterday.

The premium cable network has signed off on a third cycle of the regal drama. Production will begin in Dublin on June 16, with the series slated to return next year, the trade publication says.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers will continue to star as King Henry VIII.

“The Tudors” continues to pull in strong ratings for Showtime and generates positive media buzz.

Essence comes to TV

Warner Bros.’ Telepictures Productions is joining forces with Time-owned Essence magazine to expand the already-popular black brand across a number of platforms, including TV and the Internet, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

“It’s about community,” says Telepictures executive vice president of creative affairs Lisa Hackner. “With this demographic in particular, there already is a very strong community with social networking and with this Web site.”

According to Angela Burt-Murray, Essence’s editor in chief, the magazine already reaches 40 percent of black women. Daytime television also often targets a female, urban demographic, but both Telepictures and Essence believe the group remains underserved, Miss Hackner says.

First up for the relaunch is Essence’s Web site, the new version of which will be unveiled late this summer. The new, improved site will include at least two original short-form video series. The first, “Extra on Essence,” features “Extra” correspondent Tanika Ray in an original daily series. Miss Ray, a District native, will also have an expanded presence across Essence.com, while the magazine will include a new “Extra”-branded feature.

The second is a beauty and style show called “Fab in a Flash” and will be hosted by Essence’s beauty editor, Mikki Taylor.

Warner Bros. already has had some success launching TV shows off online ventures with TMZ — a joint venture between Time Warner-owned companies Telepictures and AOL.com — now an established player in the entertainment magazine space. Last fall, Warner Bros. created MomLogic.com, another Web site the company hopes to turn into a TV show.

Chronicles’ returning

“Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” has seen the future, and it’s on Fox.

The network has greenlit a second season of the franchise series, picking up 13 new episodes, Variety reported yesterday. The move, however, wasn’t a complete surprise because the network and Warner Bros. TV already had started staffing a second season of the show.

“It was a very ambitious show, and I myself was wondering if they could take on this mythology on a weekly basis,” said Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, who credited executive producers Josh Friedman and John Wirth with making it work.

The series, a spinoff of the “Terminator” film franchise, follows a woman and her son as they battle futuristic robots. Lena Headey stars as Sarah Connor, while Thomas Dekker plays her son, John. Richard T. Jones stars as FBI agent James Ellison; Summer Glau plays Cameron.

“Sarah Connor” opened big behind an NFL playoff game in January, pumping up the show’s overall average. Mr. Reilly said he was “impressed with the fact that the show found a core audience.”

Fox is top dog

Fox was the most-watched network last week, ably assisted by its one-two punch from “American Idol,” according to data released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research.

For the week, Fox averaged 8.7 million viewers, while CBS had 8.5 million, Nielsen said. Following were ABC with 7.9 million, NBC with 7.3 million, the CW with 2.2 million, My Network TV with 1 million and ION Television with 400,000.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with 3.4 million. Telemundo had 1.1 million, TeleFutura 540,000 and Azteca 190,000.

For the week of April 14 through 20, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 23.6 million; 2) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 23.3 million; 3) “Dancing With the Stars” (Monday), ABC, 17.2 million; 4) “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 15.7 million; and 5) “Dancing With the Stars” (Tuesday), ABC, 15.4 million.

On tap tonight

Law & Order (10 p.m., NBC) — After nine seasons as Detective Ed Green, Jesse L. Martin departs the long-running series. Tonight’s episode, titled “Burn Card,” finds Green putting his badge in jeopardy when he reveals his troubled past.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wirereports.

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