- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Peabodys spread love

Winners of this year’s George Foster Peabody Awards, presented Monday in New York by the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism for excellence in electronic media, varied from Bob Woodruff’s ABC News report on wounded veterans to Public Radio International’s special on rockabilly to the comedic stylings of Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, Broadcasting&Cable.com; reports.

“60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl stepped in to host in place of NBC News anchor Brian Williams, who had just returned from Afghanistan and chose to spend time with his NBC colleagues in the wake of NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert‘s sudden death on Friday. Although there was no weepy tribute to Mr. Russert, Miss Stahl said the Peabody event gave colleagues from all networks a chance to “grieve together.”

John Carlin, anchor at Roanoke’s NBC affiliate, WSLS, struck a more somber tone while accepting a Peabody for the Media General station’s coverage of last year’s Virginia Tech shootings.

WSLS is a small-market station (68th), and Mr. Carlin said he was thrilled to be sharing the stage with more famous journalists. Yet, he added, “Because of the tragedy, I wish we never had the opportunity to win this award. We accept it on behalf of the 32 innocent victims.”

Also claiming Peabody prizes were CBS‘ “60 Minutes” for “The Killings in Haditha,” AMC’s “Mad Men” and Bravo’s “Project Runway,” among many others.

A tribute to Tim

Speaking of the late Mr. Russert, a memorial service will take place Wednesday at the Kennedy Center to honor the former NBC newsman and longtime host of “Meet the Press.”

The tribute, at the request of the Russert family, will remain private and is not open to the public but will be telecast live at 4 p.m. on WRC-NBC4.

Viewers also can find a special section devoted to Mr. Russert’s legacy along with personal memories from his son, Luke, and other condolences on the station’s Web site, www.nbc4.com. The Web site also features an inside look at Mr. Russert’s life and career achievements.

Expanding the brand

Hoping that humor has an international audience, MTV Networks is introducing Comedy Central Hungary, Variety reports.

The new channel will bow in October and is the seventh new localized MTV Networks channel to be started in the past two years. The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland all have received their own channels in recent months, Variety says.

Geared toward 18-to-39-year-olds, the channel will air entirely in Hungarian and will be available to more than 1.5 million households. It will feature a mix of locally produced and existing programming, with shows such as “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “South Park” dubbed into Hungarian.

MTV Networks already has launched MTV Hungary, VIVA and Nickelodeon in the country.

‘ER’ adds four

Four new faces are joining the cast of “ER,” the Hollywood Reporter says.

Come fall, Shiri Appleby, Julian Morris, Emily Rose and Victor Rasuk will check into the fictional County General Hospital as the long-running medical drama enters its 15th and final season.

According to THR, Miss Appleby and Mr. Morris are expected to play siblings Daria and Andrew Wade. Miss Rose will play Tracy Martin, an ambitious intern, and Mr. Rasuk will play Ryan Sanchez, a nervous New Yorker with marital problems.

Tony telecast gains

Not only were household ratings for the Tony Awards on CBS on Sunday up 5 percent over last year, but the telecast also increased in viewers to 6.2 million, says MediaWeek.com, citing data from Nielsen Media Research.

Ratings have been on the downswing over the past few years, and the increase this year came in head-to-head airing against the National Basketball Association Finals on ABC.

Other ratings news…

With an assist from Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce, ABC snapped a Fox winning streak to claim the prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic that had stretched back to January.

Sunday’s fifth game of the NBA Championship between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics had nearly 14 million people tune in to watch the Lakers stay alive, Nielsen says.

It’s the second-most-watched NBA finals series (behind only the 2004 Pistons-Lakers series) since ABC started broadcasting them in 2003, Associated Press reports.

Among all viewers, CBS won the week with an average of 7.2 million viewers. NBC had 6.78 million, and ABC had 6.75 million. Following were Fox with 6 million, the CW with 1.7 million, My Network TV with 1 million and ION Television with 320,000.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average of 3.4 million viewers, Telemundo had 980,000, TeleFutura had 470,000 and Azteca 120,000.

For the week of June 9 through 15, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) NBA Finals Game 5: Boston at L.A. Lakers, ABC, 17.3 million; 2) NBA Finals Game 3: Boston at L.A. Lakers, ABC, 14.5 million; 3) NBA Finals Game 4: Boston at L.A. Lakers, ABC, 13.7 million; 4) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 10.7 million; and 5) “NCIS,” CBS, 10.1 million.

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