- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yielding to McCain

The NFL and NBC likely will move up the time of the league’s September season opener so it won’t conflict with presidential nominee John McCain’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Since 2002, the NFL has held its season opener on the first Thursday night after Labor Day. This year, the game runs smack into the final night of the convention, when Mr. McCain will officially accept the nomination and give a nationally televised speech from Minneapolis.

While the NFL has yet to announce its schedule for the 2008 season, it apparently is not going to shy away from having its season opener on the scheduled day, with the game likely featuring the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. So, the NFL and NBC have agreed in principle to have the kickoff at 7 p.m. EDT instead of the traditional 8:30 p.m. That would mean, except in the event of overtime, that the game would end before NBC’s expected one hour of convention coverage for the night.

There have been no firm decisions on how long NBC or the other broadcast networks will cover the conventions, which often are little more than ceremonies and speeches with no unexpected news. In recent years, the broadcast networks have stuck to about an hour of prime time — at 10 p.m. — for each convention night, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

In August 2000, ABC asked the NFL to start an exhibition game at 7 p.m. instead of 8 so ABC could carry an hour of coverage from the Democratic National Convention beginning at 10 p.m. The league agreed.

The NFL schedule is announced in two parts, the first in late March or early April coinciding with the annual owners meeting and the second at a later date. The NFL owners meeting begins Monday.

New ‘Tudors’ on Web

Showtime is using new media to showcase its historical retelling of the Henry VIII tale. The pay TV channel will stream the second-season opener of its drama “The Tudors” today on YouTube, three days before Sunday’s premiere, Multichannel.com reports.

The premium cable network will air an edited TV-MA version of the series on YouTube, marking the first time a cable network has aired an original series episode in its entirety on the popular social networking site.

Bob is back

Bob Newhart will return to television in August as the star of “Herb’s Murders,” a two-hour original telefilm on the Hallmark Channel, the Hollywood Reporter says.

In “Murders,” Mr. Newhart, 78, will play a Los Angeles detective who investigates a publisher’s killing along with his daughter, also a police officer. The project is one of several announced Tuesday during Hallmark Channel’s presentation at the Museum of Modern Art.

Other projects announced include: “The Ride of Her Life,” with former “7th Heaven” star Stephen Collins; “Thanksgiving Reunion,” headlined by Jacqueline Bisset, which will air in November; and “Ladies of the House,” about three women (Pam Grier, Florence Henderson and Donna Mills) who work on a home renovation project sponsored by their church.

‘Feud’ returns

Survey says: “Family Feud” is heading to prime time.

According to Variety, NBC and “American Idol” producer FremantleMedia North America are prepping a celebrity edition of the classic quizzer and are fast-tracking it for broadcast as soon as this summer. Though the “Feud” format is more than 30 years old, the series has never aired as a regular prime-time network show.

Both NBC and Fremantle are keeping a tight lid on details surrounding the prime-time “Feud,” with casting just getting under way, Variety says.

Though it’s possible the show could cast celebrity families such as the Baldwin brothers or the Lohan clan, producers also may take a page from “Feud” history and use the casts of TV shows and movies (think the “Lost” castaways versus the “Heroes” gang). During its original run, “Feud” often featured theme weeks in which stars of, say, “Baywatch” or “American Gladiators” competed against each other, Variety notes.

Justin, Brian to host

Justin Timberlake is hosting an awards show — and it’s not the Grammys.

According to Associated Press, ESPN has lined up the 27-year-old singer-actor to host its annual ESPY Awards show this summer, celebrating some of the best and funniest moments in sports during the past year.

The ceremony, scheduled to take place July 20 at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live in Los Angeles, will be televised live on ESPN, the network said yesterday.

Elsewhere, “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams has been tapped to host the 67th annual Peabody Awards, TVWeek.com says.

The Peabodys, which recognize “excellence and meritorious work” by organizations and individuals in media, will be presented June 16 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Winners of the 2007 Peabody Awards — honored in the categories of original broadcast, cablecast and Webcast programs — will be announced Wednesday via Webcast and satellite from the University of Georgia.

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

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