Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fourth ‘Idol’ judge

Scoot over, Simon Cowell. “American Idol” is adding a fourth critic to its panel of judges.

Grammy-nominated songwriter Kara DioGuardi will sit alongside Mr. Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson when the eighth season of “American Idol” premieres in January, Associated Press reported Monday.

“For the past seven seasons, Paula has had to endure the experience of being the only woman at the judges table,” said Mike Darnell, Fox’s president for alternative programming. “With Kara by her side, Paula has some backup, and now there is going to be a lot more ‘girl power’ on the show.”

Miss DioGuardio’s songs have been recorded by past “Idol” winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Celine Dion, Faith Hill and Pink, among others.

“Idol” executive producer Cecile Frot-Coutaz said adding a fourth judge isn’t a new idea.

“We had originally intended for ‘American Idol’ to have four judges,” she said. “We’ve seen from our international series that having a fourth judge creates a dynamic that benefits both the contestants and the viewers.”

Games aid Telemundo

The NBC-owned Hispanic broadcast network Telemundo drew a total of 12 million unique viewers during the first 10 days of Summer Olympics coverage from Beijing — already surpassing the audience for the entire run of coverage for the 2004 Summer Olympic games on Telemundo, by 12 percent.

This was just the second Olympic broadcast for Telemundo, the Hollywood Reporter notes. The TV coverage included Games events narrated in Spanish as well as a series of special programs focusing on participating Latin American countries, Hispanic athletes and stories surrounding the Games.

According to THR, Telemundo’s prime-time coverage through Aug. 17 has averaged 299,000 households and 451,000 people per night. The network also has averaged 274,000 people in the pivotal 18-to-49 demographic in prime time during the Games.

Those numbers are up more than 20 percent over Telemundo’s usual non-Olympics audience, THR says.

‘Dancing’ cast set

Susan Lucci, Toni Braxton and Lance Bass will hit the floor on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” AP reports. The names were announced Monday on ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

Miss Lucci, Miss Braxton and Mr. Bass are among 13 celebrities slated to compete on the new season of the top-rated dance contest, premiering Sept. 22.

The other contestants are Oscar winner Cloris Leachman; reality-TV star Kim Kardashian; actor Ted McGinley (“Hope & Faith”); model-actress Brooke Burke; NFL champ Warren Sapp; and two Olympic athletes, Misty May-Treanor, who won her second gold medal for beach volleyball at this year’s Summer Games in Beijing, and Maurice Greene, who won two gold medals in track at the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia.

Rounding out the cast are chef Rocco DiSpirito, Cody Linley of “Hannah Montana” and comedian Jeffrey Ross.

Miss Kardashian, who co-stars with her family on the E! reality series “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” checked into a New York City hospital Sunday after cutting her foot on a glass table in her hotel room.

“I will be able to dance. I went to the hospital. I’ll be fine,” she said in a phone call to “GMA.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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