- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2008

Duchovny show returns

Showtime has picked up a third season of “Californication,” Variety reports.

The Golden Globe-winning series, which stars David Duchovny as a hedonistic, sex-obsessed novelist struggling to fix his family life and career, will resume production in the spring, with 12 episodes slated. The third-season premiere is set for late 2009.

The premium cable network will wrap season two of “Californication” on Dec. 14, Variety says. Through nine season-two episodes, the series has averaged 2.2 million viewers, factoring in repeat airings and DVR viewing seven days after the original air date.

The show’s pickup caps a string of recent renewals for Showtime, with “Dexter,” “Weeds” and “The Tudors” set to return in 2009.



MSNBC bests CNN

MSNBC’s talkers toppled CNN for three hours in prime time in November, with the freshman chatfest “The Rachel Maddow Show” passing “Larry King Live” for a second month in a key demographic.

“Maddow” has been a success for the network, which not long ago had been counted out as challenging anyone at any time. “Maddow” averaged 672,000 adult viewers aged 25 to 54 in November, compared with 565,000 for Mr. King, a veteran talkmeister, Nielsen said Wednesday. For the first time to date for a month, “Maddow” beat “King” in total viewers as well — 1.8 million to 1.7 million, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

Meanwhile, MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” beat CNN at 8 p.m., as did “Hardball With Chris Matthews” at 7 p.m.

However, Fox News Channel dominated the cable news shows overall, thanks to wins at 7 p.m. for “The Fox Report,” 8 p.m. for “The O’Reilly Factor” and 9 p.m. for “Hannity & Colmes.”

Fox News remains the most-watched cable news channel, as it has been for 83 straight months. It was the third-most-watched network in all of cable for prime time and fourth in total day. Fox News also retained more of its viewership after Election Day than MSNBC or CNN.

In his corner

It’s not a done deal on whether NBC News Correspondent David Gregory will succeed the late Tim Russert as the next host of “Meet the Press,” but Mr. Gregory’s colleagues and network rivals already are backing him up.

“We’re old friends, and I send my congratulations,” Fox News Correspondent Bret Baier told The Washington Times while attending a charity event with his wife, Amy, at Ralph Lauren in Chevy Chase.

“He has big shoes to fill and anchoring is a whole new animal, but David will do a great job. I have not talked to him since the announcement.” Mr. Baier , however, would not opine on Mr. Gregory’s ability to remain politically neutral.

Oh, I am not gong to get into that,” Mr Baier said.

‘Bad’ very good for O

Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club” got off to a good start Tuesday night when its season-three premiere attracted 807,000 total viewers, a 116 percent improvement from last season’s premiere, notes Multichannel.com.

According to Nielsen Media Research, “Bad Girls Club” was viewed by 568,000 people aged 18 to 49 — including 405,000 women between 18 and 49 and 337,000 women between 18 and 34.

Online, the show’s Web site recorded more than 1 million page views Tuesday. For the week leading up to the season-three premiere, the site drew 1.8 million page views and more than 98,000 video streams, up 236 percent and 180 percent, respectively, from the previous week, Multichannel.com reports.

The real deal

With this weekend’s opening of “Cadillac Records,” some cable viewers may be tempted to learn more about Etta James beyond the portrayal by Beyonce in the film.

VH1.com offers a cursory look at the performer, now 70, at www.vh1.com/artists/az/james_etta/artist.jhtml.

There’s a photo gallery and biography of the Los Angeles-born singer — who once claimed her mother told her that her real father was noted pool player Minnesota Fats — along with audio clips of some of her hits, including “Tell Mama,” “Watch Dog,” “I’d Rather Go Blind,” “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?).”

Also this weekend

Friday

Greatest Holiday Moments: TV & Film Countdown (8 p.m., NBC) — Take in the countdown of the best performances of both classic and contemporary Christmas songs from timeless tunes by the great crooners to recent essentials from more modern pop stars. Favorite holiday films also are featured.

Saturday

Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia (10 p.m., WETA-Channel 26) — A celebration of Philly soul with Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes (“The Love I Lost,” “Wake Up Everybody”), the New Stylistics (“I’m Stone in Love With You”), the O’Jays (“I Love Music,” “Used to Be My Girl,” “People Get Ready-Love Train”).

Sunday

Great Performances (10 p.m. WETA-Channel 26) — Grammy Award-winning songwriter-producer David Foster is joined by musical friends for a Las Vegas concert featuring tunes he wrote or produced. Included are Andrea Bocelli (“Amapola”); Michael Buble (“Feeling Good”); Peter Cetera (“Hard to Say I’m Sorry”).

Holiday watch

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (8 p.m., ABC) The 2000 adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic stars Jim Carrey and was directed by Ron Howard. The Oscar for best makeup went to Rick Baker and Gail Rowell-Ryan.

Written and compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Stephanie Green from staff, Web and wire reports

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