- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Schedules changed

CBS, NBC and ABC say they will televise President Obama’s Wednesday press conference at 8 p.m., Broadcastingcable.com reports.

Fox will not air the conference, instead sticking to its previously scheduled episode of “So You Think You Can Dance.” That’s the same plan the networks had for the president’s last prime-time press conference on April 29 — a decision that came in the wake of the Big 4’s increasingly loud grumblings that each presidential interruption costs the networks at least $10 million in lost ad revenue, TVGuide.com notes.

Fox’s cable news outlets — Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network — will air the press conference in its entirety.

The conference originally was scheduled for 9 p.m., which would have pre-empted the most popular summer programs on NBC (“America’s Got Talent”) and Fox (“So You Think You Can Dance”).

ABC had a new installment of its top summer competition series, “Wipeout,” set to air at 8 p.m. The network will push that back to 9 p.m., with “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” airing at 10 p.m. Also, an ABC News special report, “Over a Barrel: The Truth About Oil,” had been slated for 10 p.m. but will be pushed to 10 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, on cable, the start time for CNN’s “Black In America 2” — originally scheduled for 8 p.m. — will be pushed back an hour. The network’s current Wednesday evening lineup will feature a “Black In America 2” countdown live from Times Square at 7 p.m., leading into the presidential news conference at 8. “Black In America 2’s” first episode, dubbed “Tomorrow’s Leaders,” will premiere after the news conference, at 9 p.m.

Airing in two parts Wednesday and Thursday, the program will continue CNN’s focus on the most challenging issues facing black Americans — including health, education and marriage — and those who are using groundbreaking solutions to transform them.

Part two airs Thursday at 8 p.m. Network anchor Soledad O’Brien hosts.

‘Brother’ slur nixed

It was the most memorable speech in “Big Brother” history, but fans didn’t hear all of it.

Television viewers watching Thursday’s “Big Brother 11” eviction episode heard just part of contestant Chima Simone’s petition to stay on the voyeuristic CBS reality show, says the Hollywood Reporter, citing an account from Associated Press.

Show host Julie Chen later called it “the most memorable last-plea speech we’ve ever heard.” However, the audio cut out right as Miss Simone, a 32-year-old freelance journalist, referenced a derogatory term for people of Mexican descent that fellow nominee for eviction, Braden Bacha, a 28-year-old model-actor, had used against two other contestants. Mr. Bacha’s use of the term also was edited out.

Also censored was Miss Simone saying that Mr. Bacha had used a sexually insulting word to describe Miss Chen, who also co-hosts CBS’ “The Early Show.”

Mr. Bacha was eliminated; Miss Simone was saved.

CBS said the statements were removed from the broadcast because they were offensive and did not meet the network’s standards. Gay slurs slung by contestant Jeff Schroeder during an argument on the July 14 episode also were left on the cutting-room floor. The only place viewers could hear the heated words was on the show’s live streaming Internet feed.

In a statement issued Friday, the network said, “Any views or opinions expressed in personal commentary by a houseguest appearing on ‘Big Brother,’ either on any live feed from the house or the broadcast, are those of the individuals speaking and do not represent the views or opinions of CBS or the producers of the program.”

For 11 seasons, “Big Brother” has isolated contestants — or houseguests, as they’re called on the show — from the outside world. They live under constant surveillance on a soundstage constructed to look like a house. Once a week, the contestants vote to evict one another in hopes of being the last houseguest standing and winning the $500,000 grand prize.

On Showtime 2’s “Big Brother After Dark,” an uncensored and unedited live broadcast of what’s happening inside the house that airs for three hours each night, Miss Simone said the producers told her that her speech was censored. She also said she confronted producers about editing out the slurs.

“I said, I don’t think it’s fair because I don’t think they showed when it first was said,” Miss Simone told her fellow houseguests during “Big Brother After Dark” following the July 16 live eviction episode on CBS. “And I was like, ‘If someone’s a racist, they should be portrayed as one. You shouldn’t edit it to make them look good.’ ”

“Big Brother” has a history of contestants who spew controversial slurs. Ninth-season winner Adam Jasinski was fired from the United Autism Foundation after using an offensive word to refer to autistic children. Eighth-season contestant Amber Siyavus ignited a firestorm outside the “Big Brother” house when she said Jewish people tend to be “really money-hungry” and “selfish.”

Baseball tops ratings

Baseball’s All-Star game was a hit with viewers last week to top the ratings. But claiming the No. 2 and 3 slots for the week was a quirkier sort of competition: “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, notes Associated Press, citing data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Mostly on view this midsummer week were lots of episode repeats - much to CBS’ benefit, boasting hits like “NCIS” and “Two and a Half Men.”

Overall, Fox averaged 6.21 million prime-time viewers, with CBS close behind with 6.19 million viewers, Nielsen said.

NBC was in third place with 5.29 million viewers, followed by ABC with 4.16 million viewers, My Network TV with 1.44 million viewers, the CW with 920,000 viewers and ION Television with 580,000 viewers.

Among the Spanish-language networks, Univision led with an average audience of 3.19 million. Telemundo had 980,000 viewers, TeleFutura had 870,000 viewers, and Azteca had 170,000 viewers.

As usual, NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.4 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was second with 6.5 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.1 million viewers.

For the week of July 13 through 19, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships were: 1) All-Star game, Fox, 14.59 million viewers; 2) “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 13.51 million; 3) “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday), NBC, 11.64 million; 4) “MLB All-Star Pregame Show,” Fox, 11.22 million; 5)”NCIS,” CBS, 10.45 million; 6) “Two and a Half Men,” CBS, 9.12 million; 7) “The Mentalist,” CBS, 8.37 million; 8) “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 8.23 million; 9) “The Bachelorette,” ABC, 8.013 million; and 10) “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 8.012 million.

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

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