- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Flatley on NBC

NBC is getting into the dance business with its pickup of the reality competition “Superstar Dancers of the World,” Variety reports.

The project, from “So You Think You Can Dance” producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, will see dance pros from eight countries compete against one another. Countries to be represented in the show are the United States, Ireland, India, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia.

“Lord of the Dance” star Michael Flatley, who recently served as a guest judge on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” is set to host, Variety says.

“The physical feats these athletes and artists pull is mind-blowing,” says Craig Plestis, executive vice president of NBC Entertainment and alternative programming and specials.

Mr. Lythgoe, who recently left his post as executive producer of “American Idol” (where Mr. Fuller continues) called the show “the most challenging and exhilarating project I’ve ever done.”

Mr. Lythgoe also serves as a judge on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Mr. Fuller’s 19 Entertainment is behind the show, and he and Mr. Lythgoe will serve as executive producers for “Superstars.” The new show will premiere sometime in midseason, Variety says.

Back for No. 6

A&E; has renewed its nonfiction series “Intervention” for a sixth season, Variety reports.

The hourlong reality show, in which substance abusers are confronted by loved ones in the hope of getting them into treatment, is A&E;’s top-rated series.

Season five averaged 2 million total viewers, up 33 percent over the previous year. Among adults 18 to 49, “Intervention” averaged 1.5 million viewers, an increase of 50 percent over the 2007 figures.

Positive feedback for the series led A&E; to launch the Recovery Project, a nonprofit social initiative that raises awareness of addiction and recovery issues.

Day in court for A&E;

In other A&E; news, a federal jury in Charleston, S.C., has awarded “Flip This House” creator Richard C. Davis $4 million in damages in his suit against the cable network.

According to Variety, Mr. Davis contended that he had an oral agreement with the network that guaranteed him a 50-50 split of the revenue from the real-estate-based reality show.

In a statement, A&E; said the company was “deeply disappointed” in the jury’s decision and intended to “follow the appropriate procedures to have the verdict reversed.”

Last week, the jury found in favor of Mr. Davis and his Trademark Properties after five hours of deliberations. The dollar amount represents half of the series’ first-season earnings.

“Flip” is in its fourth year, though Mr. Davis ended his involvement with the show after the first season. He produces and hosts a similar series, “The Real Estate Pros,” for TLC.

Short takes

— MTV’s “TRL” ended its run Sunday night with a host of stars - including Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles, Diddy and Kid Rock - showing up to pay their respects, says TVWeek.com, citing a story in the New York Times. The show has been losing viewers since 2000, and MTV has been moving music-video programming to the Web, the paper says.

— Brian Dennehy has been tapped to co-star opposite Donnie Wahlberg on TNT’s drama pilot “Bunker Hill,” the Hollywood Reporter notes. The drama explores crime, corruption and deceit in the Bunker Hill section of Boston and centers on Mike Moriarty (Mr. Wahlberg), who returns to Boston as a cop protecting the streets he grew up on. Mr. Dennehy will play Martin Kelsey, a flower-shop owner who formerly was a mob boss.

— The campaign is over, but Barack Obama is still a TV hit. CBS’ “60 Minutes” had its highest overnight ratings in nearly a decade with Sunday’s episode featuring Steve Kroft interviewing the president-elect and future first lady, Associated Press reports. According to Nielsen Media Research’s preliminary estimate the show was seen by 24.5 million people. That’s more than any other episode of a prime-time show seen this season, and the biggest audience for “60 Minutes” since January 1999.

On tap tonight…

The Real Housewives of Atlanta (10 p.m., Bravo) - The backbiting among the five Southern belles (Lisa Wu Hartwell, DeShawn Snow, Kim Zolciak, NeNe Leakes and Sheree Whitfield) comes to a head, with at least one surprise promised in the season finale of this brief reality series.

Sex Change Hospital (11 p.m., WeTV) - The show’s title pretty much says it all. This six-part series follows patients as they arrive in Trinidad, Colo. - an Old West mining town dubbed the “Sex Change Capital of the World” - to see Dr. Marci Bowers, formerly Mark Bowers, who will provide them with the ultimate life-changing operation. From retired grandfathers to construction workers and businessmen, they all share their unique stories of how they came to terms with their sexuality.

— Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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