- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

HBO eyes Lincoln

With the success of “Adams,” HBO is developing another historic miniseries, “Manhunt,” a look at the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the frantic 12-day hunt for his killer, John Wilkes Booth, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

The project reunites the network with the creative forces behind two of its former critical hit series — David Simon, who created “The Wire,” and Tom Fontana, creator of “Oz.” The two have not collaborated since Mr. Fontana turned Mr. Simon’s book “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets,” into the cop drama “Homicide: Life on the Street” for NBC.

“Manhunt” is based on James L. Swanson’s best-seller. HBO Films optioned the title from Walden Media, which scooped up the book before it hit stores in 2006 with the intention of turning it into an action film.

According to Broadcastingcable.com, Mr. Simon and Mr. Fontana will explore the assassination not from Lincoln’s or Booth’s point of view, but through the eyes of the little-known players, Mr. Fontana said.

End of an era

Time to start the countdown clock on MTV’s countdown era: “Total Request Live” is slated to leave the air after 10 years, Associated Press reports.

Dave Sirulnick, executive producer of “TRL,” said Monday that the music-video countdown show will conclude in a two-hour special on a Saturday afternoon in November.

He stressed that the show wasn’t ending for good, but that now was the right time to give it a break after an unprecedented run on the cable music channel.

“TRL” premiered in September 1998 and became the splashy center of the teen pop music scene with Britney Spears, the Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync and other acts. From its heyday into 2008, it has been a destination for musicians, movie stars and’ celebrities promoting their new music, movies and other projects.

A little ‘Tweet’ talk

Current TV is handing over feedback on the upcoming presidential debates to those who make up much of the network’s programming: its audience.

During the debates, the network, which is bent on viewer-created content, will broadcast Twitter messages — or “tweets” — from viewers. In close to real time, Current will display comments on the screen while Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama face off.

Comments will be filtered, but Current CEO Joel Hyatt says they will be filtered only to suit broadcast standards, AP reports.

The first presidential debate is planned for Sept. 26, with two more and a vice presidential debate to follow. Current, partnering with Twitter, will have a similar live stream on its Web site, Current.com.

Current TV — started in 2005 and co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore — devotes much of its programming to viewer-created short programs called “pods.” It won an Emmy last year for best interactive television service.

NBC scores again

According to Nielsen Media Research, the top five shows for the week of Sept. 8 through 14, along with their networks and viewerships were: 1) “Sunday Night Football” (Pittsburgh at Cleveland), NBC, 17.83 million viewers; 2) “Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick,” NBC, 13.56 million; 3) “60 Minutes,” CBS, 12.54 million; 4) “Saturday Night Football” (Ohio State at USC), ABC, 11.94 million; 5) “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 11.70 million.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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