- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

‘Pirate’ mission

Just a day after the U.S. Navy successfully rescued Capt. Richard Phillips from Somali pirates who were holding him hostage, Spike TV says it is going forward with a pilot following the U.S. Navy on its pirate-hunting missions.

“Pirate Hunters: USN” (working title) will give viewers an up-close and personal look at the Navy’s efforts to fight modern pirates in the Gulf of Aden off the African coast, Broadcasting cable.com reports.

The Navy is allowing a crew from Spike and the production company 44 Blue Productions (“Lockup,” “The True Story of Black Hawk Down”) to accompany sailors aboard the USS San Antonio and the USS Boxer as they depart the base in Djibouti and patrol the open water.

‘Trust’ goes bust

TNT has canceled its low-rated dramedy “Trust Me,” starring Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”) and Tom Cavanagh (“Ed”), Entertainment Weekly reports, citing a report in the New York Times.

The show, which centers on two best friends and their co-workers in a fictional Chicago advertising agency, lasted just 13 episodes.

Michael Wright, head of programming for TNT, said the show simply failed to find an audience, averaging a meek 1.4 million viewers per episode since its debut in January.

‘Rescue’ falls short

The fifth season of the FX firefighter series “Rescue Me” got off to a lukewarm ratings start, which the network hopes will heat up considerably when live-plus-seven-day data is measured, Multichannel.com reports.

According to Nielsen Media Research, the April 7 premiere of the show — which stars Denis Leary — averaged 2.3 million total viewers, including 1.5 million in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 age demographic. The numbers were down 18 percent among viewers and 16 percent in the demographic compared to the fourth-season premiere in June 2007.

Travelin’ man

Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel’s latest sensation, is taking a comedy show on the road for six live performances over six days during the first week of June, Variety reported Monday, citing a story from Associated Press.

Mr. Beck calls his act a “poor man’s Seinfeld” and says he intends to mix topical humor with his modern-day reimagining of Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense.”

The radio and TV talk-show host will start June 1 in Denver, then perform in theaters in Phoenix, San Diego, Kansas City, Mo., Houston and Richmond, over the next five days.

Mr. Beck has done such live performances in the past, most recently during the downtime between his departure from CNN’s HLN network and his start on Fox’s schedule in January.

His profile has increased significantly since then, with his 5 p.m. show nearly doubling Fox’s ratings in the time slot. He also has become a favorite target for Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert to lampoon and has been criticized by liberals for over-the-top criticisms of President Obama.

“I couldn’t have guessed this success at Fox,” Mr. Beck says. “We would never have put money down on the table that we would have had this kind of success.”

Since he began doing live performances in 2004, Mr. Beck has appeared before more than 100,000 fans, he says.

The live shows give him the chance to see firsthand what sort of themes are resonating among his regular followers, Mr. Beck says. For the first time during his most recent tour, there seemed to be no regional differences in the concerns his fans expressed, he notes.

“I learn something from the audience,” Mr. Beck says. “I know my thoughts, but I can see their reaction to things.”

Em TV

Rap star Eminem will perform at the MTV Movie Awards, airing May 31, TVWeek.com reports.

More presenters and performers will be announced at a later date.

Fans will be able to participate in the nominating process for the first time by voting from an eligibility list at Movieawards.mtv.com starting Monday. The nominees will be announced May 4.

The awards show will be hosted by Andy Samberg. Mark Burnett serves as executive producer.

Beginning of the end

Showtime has renewed “The Tudors” for a fourth season, allowing the historical drama to complete the saga of King Henry VIII.

The pickup consists of 10 episodes that Showtime says will dramatize King Henry VIII’s last two tumultuous marriages, to Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The new episodes will continue the show’s current quickened matrimonial pace of going through two wives per season, a narrative strategy that was planned from the show’s outset, given that Henry’s first two wives (Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn) were the best known and most influential.

The final season will air in spring next year and will be written by series creator Michael Hirst. Ending “The Tudors” also frees up Mr. Hirst to work on a Camelot project he is developing for the network.

With Showtime recently rejecting several other projects, including an “L-Word” spinoff, there’s likely to be a slot or two still available — and if “Camelot” follows “The Tudors’” model, the project should be picked up straight to series, THR notes.

The third season of “The Tudors” debuted recently to steady, strong ratings for the network. Given the show’s historical nature, the series was never seen as a program that could run indefinitely. The question was only whether it would receive healthy enough numbers to finish at its own pace.

“The Tudors,” which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as King Henry VIII, premiered its third season April 5 to 726,000 total viewers — and a cumulative audience of 1.3 million once encores and on-demand viewing was factored in, Variety reports.

“I’m thrilled to complete the saga of Henry VIII as reconceived by Michael Hirst,” said Showtime president Robert Greenblatt. “He and Jonathan Rhys Meyers have breathed new life into the costume drama by making it both modern in sensibility but also faithful to history. I think we proved that even after 500 years, this is a great story.”

On tap tonight

Deadliest Catch (9, Discovery Channel). The crew faces storms while searching for a ship that sank.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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