- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Really going Green

“Living With Ed,” an eco-friendly series starring actor and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr., will move from HGTV to Discovery Communications’ Planet Green when the new network launches June 4, TVWeek.com reports.

Discovery’s Planet Green, a 24-hour eco-lifestyle channel, is expected to reach 50 million homes when it premieres.

HGTV is owned by the E.W. Scripps Co.

‘Sweet Pete’ takes all

The District’s own Pete Bakel — nicknamed “Sweet Pete” by perky TV chef Rachael Ray — has been crowned the winner of “Hey, Can You Cook?” a contest feature on Miss Ray’s syndicated show.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Mr. Bakel says of the month-long contest, which concluded Monday on Fox. “I’m grateful and amazed, and I’m just taking it all in right now.”

Mr. Bakel won the competition by successfully meeting a challenge from superstar chef Gordon Ramsay (“Hell’s Kitchen,” also on Fox) to make an upscale dish that included hot dogs. Sweet Pete incorporated the American ballpark and sidewalk favorite into three dishes featuring such high-brow ingredients as sauteed scallops, pomegranate dijon and chanterelle mushrooms.

Said Mr. Ramsay of the winning creation: “This was brilliant, loved the caramelized scallops … perfectly cooked, nice balance … well done!!”

What’s next for Sweet Pete?

He’ll receive a Viking- and Silestone-appointed kitchen, publish a recipe in Miss Ray’s magazine, Every Day With Rachael Ray, and appear with Miss Ray as his sous chef on her show in late July.

But wait, there’s more.

“We go to Paris in June, where I get to do a four-day Le Cordon Bleu boot camp [course],” says Mr. Bakel, a financial communications type by day. “I guess I’ll find out if all the things I’ve been doing through the years are technically correct,” he says with a chuckle.

Univision gets VOD

The Spanish-language broadcast network Univision will offer more than 1,000 hours of video-on-demand content through its distribution partners, the company announced at the Cable Show in New Orleans.

According to TVWeek.com, Univision will introduce its on-demand content in January.

Among the programming offered through the service will be the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, “Premio lo Nuestro a la Musica Latina” and “Premios Juventud.”

Carrie voted top Idol

Country singer Carrie Underwood is the all-time most popular “American Idol” winner, and dreadlocked Jason Castro was voted the most overrated contestant this season, according to a poll released on Monday by AOL Television.

With the most-watched U.S. television show reaching its climax this week, finalists David Archuleta, 17, and David Cook, 25, are running neck and neck in terms of best performances of the seventh season, according to the poll. Last night, Mr. Archuleta and Mr. Cook competed for the 2008 “American Idol” title and a recording contract. The winner will be announced tonight in Hollywood.

The AOL Television poll, conducted May 9 through 16, received more than 1.3 million votes, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

Miss Underwood, the 2005 “American Idol” winner who went on to win Grammy, American Music, Billboard and Country Music Association awards, was voted the most popular “Idol” by 54 percent of those taking part.

Kelly Clarkson, who won the first season in 2002, was second with 26 percent of the votes.

About 63 percent of those polled said they had purchased contestant performances from iTunes. This is the first year music from the show has been available for download from the online service during “American Idol” broadcasts.

CBS is No. 1

CBS topped the list of prime-time ratings for the week, averaging 10.3 million viewers, Associated Press reports, citing data released yesterday by Nielsen Media Research. ABC had 9.6 million, Fox 9.2 million and NBC 5.5 million. Following were the CW with 2.7 million, My Network TV with1.2 million and ION Television with 320,000.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision averaged 3.6 million, Telemundo had 990,000, TeleFutura 820,000 and Azteca 160,000.

For the week of May 12 through 18, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) “American Idol” (Wednesday), Fox, 24.8 million; 2) “American Idol” (Tuesday), Fox, 24.7 million; 3) “Dancing With the Stars” (Monday), ABC, 18.4 million; 4) “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 18 million; and 5) “Dancing With the Stars” (Tuesday), ABC, 16.9 million.

Compiled by Gabriella Boston and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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