- The Washington Times - Monday, July 20, 2009

‘Idol’ sans Paula?

On the heels of Ryan Seacrest inking a $45 million, three-year contract to continue hosting “American Idol,” comes word that his colleague Paula Abdul has been less than thrilled with her future on the show.

As such, Miss Abdul may not return to judge the ninth season of “American Idol,” the New York Daily News said Sunday, citing a report in the Los Angeles Times.

“She’s not a happy camper as a result of what’s going on. She’s hurt. She’s angry,” said manager David Sonenberg, who began working with Miss Abdul at the end of June.

Mr. Sonenberg adds that Miss Abdul, who has judged the show’s eight previous seasons, has yet to receive a proposal for a new contract.

“I find it under these circumstances particularly unusual; I think unnecessarily hurtful,” he said. “I find it kind of unconscionable and certainly rude and disrespectful that they haven’t stepped up and said what they want to do.”

Due to the stalled negotiations, chances of the “Idol” judge returning for another season seem unlikely.

“Very sadly, it does not appear that she’s going to be back on ‘Idol,’ ” he said.

Upon news of Miss Abdul’s possible exit from the reality competition show, the “Idol” judge took to her Twitter page to address the situation.

“I’m actually moved 2 tears upon reading the enormous amount of tweets showing me your kindness, love, & undying support. God bless all of you!” Miss Abdul tweeted. “If it weren’t for you, this specific time and situation would feel a whole lot worse!”

As for Miss Abdul’s other “Idol” colleagues, Simon Cowell is reportedly in negotiations to renew his contract that ends next year, while Randy Jackson has inked his stay until 2011. No word yet on the show’s newest judge, Kara DioGuardi, but she has also expressed interest in returning.

Auditions for the ninth season of “American Idol” are currently under way. The show is set to return on Fox in January, the Daily News reported Sunday.

Farrah’s Emmy nod

Tucked away, but certainly not forgotten, among Thursday’s Emmy nominations is one given posthumously to Farrah Fawcett.

The “Charlie’s Angels” star — who lost her long battle against cancer on June 25 — received a nomination for the TV special that documented her fight with the disease.

As one of the producers of the NBC documentary “Farrah’s Story,” the actress was nominated in the outstanding nonfiction special category, TVGuide.com reports. The special aired in May, just weeks before Miss Fawcett’s death at age 62.

This is Miss Fawcett’s fourth Emmy nomination. She previously received TV-movie acting nods for “The Burning Bed” (1984) and “Small Sacrifices (1989), and was recognized for a guest spot she did on “The Guardian” in 2003.

“Farrah’s Story” will compete against “102 Minutes That Changed America,” a History Channel documentary about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; HBO Films’ “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” and “The Alzheimer’s Project: Momentum in Science (Parts 1 & 2),” also from HBO; and ABC’s “Michael J. Fox: Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.”

Sound of silence

“The Listener” will no longer be heard from on NBC after this month.

According to Variety, the Peacock Network said the drama will leave the air to make way for “Law and Order” repeats, which will take over the Thursday 10 p.m. slot starting July 30.

Five episodes of “The Listener” remain in the can, Variety says. The series originally was scheduled to air through August, but it hasn’t been much of a ratings performer for NBC.

“The Listener” is one of several international co-productions hitting network airwaves this summer. The show comes from Shaftesbury Films and Canada broadcaster CTV, and is produced along with NBC and Fox International Channels. ShineReveille distributes the show internationally.

“The Listener” stars Craig Olejnik as a paramedic who happens to be telepathic.

Also at NBC: The network confirmed that its hospital drama, “Mercy,” will air Wednesdays at 8 p.m. in the fall, starting Sept. 23.

That’s the slot being vacated by “Parenthood,” which was pushed to midseason to give star Maura Tierney time to deal with health issues.

NBC had been mulling a potential schedule switch in light of the “Parenthood” news, but ultimately decided to simply slide “Mercy,” originally set for midseason, into the spot, Variety says.

Lucrative catch

Long John Silver’s is swimming with sharks — at least on Discovery.com — in conjunction with the programmer’s long-running summer stunt.

The restaurant chain has secured banner and skyscraper ads on the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” microsite, Multichannel.com reports. Touting its 99-cent Baja fish tacos offering, the schedule began Wednesday and runs through Aug. 31.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, Multichannel.com reports.

“Shark Week” is set for Aug. 2 through 8 on the network, which also has given Long John Silver’s association rights to its online Sharkrunners game, wherein users can virtually track the big fish in their natural habitats.

Additionally, the chain’s branding is integrated within shark-related items on the Discovery-owned site HowStuffWorks.com.

Still not switched

Nielsen tells Broadcastingcable.com that 1.5 million TV households, or 1.3 percent of the country, were still unready for DTV July 12 - a month after the transition date.

Still, that’s down 200,000 households from the 1.7 million that weren’t ready two weeks before, according to the latest Nielsen figures.

Nielsen defines unready as homes that don’t have a digital TV set or a DTV-to-analog set-top converter hooked up.

It was Nielsen’s 5-million-homes-plus unreadiness figure in January and early February that many in Congress used to buttress arguments for moving the DTV conversion date from February to June 12, B&C; notes.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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