- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 30, 2009

Southern discomfort

Will the South rise again as Bravo’s reality hit “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” returns for its second season at 10 p.m. Thursday?

Let’s hope cooler heads will prevail following the near dust-up between two of the original cast members during the first season’s reunion show.

Fans will recall: One-time BFFs NeNe Leakes and Kim Zolciak were on the outs - a war further fueled by Lisa Wu Hartwell’s threatened on-camera beat-down of Miss Zolciak.

There also was Sheree Whitfield’s flopped fashion show and the levelheadedness of the otherwise extravagant DeShawn Snow, who has since departed the fiery quintet. “[One of the producers] called and said that I was ‘too human for a circus show’ and that because the show did so well, they are about to pump up the drama and they didn’t think that I would fit in,” Mrs. Snow told Essence magazine earlier this year.

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kandi Burruss (formerly of the ‘90s pop-and-R&B group Xscape) replaces her.

Let the games - and the drama - begin.

CNN’s July gains

Michael Jackson’s sudden death and the blitz of coverage surrounding the investigation and the custody of his children was enough to put CNN’s prime time back into second place among cable news networks for July, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

CNN bested MSNBC by 57 percent in the 25-to-54 demographic and 48 percent in total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC surpassed CNN in prime time for first quarter 2009.

“Larry King Live,” which hosted a succession of Mr. Jackson’s friends and associates, experienced a 69 percent bump in the demographic and 54 percent in total viewers, year to year, B&C notes.

Fox News Channel, the top-rated cable-news network, posted a 70 percent increase in prime time, year to year. The network was the third-most-watched basic-cable network behind USA and TNT and claims nine of the top 10 cable news programs among total viewers.

“The O’Reilly Factor” was up 37 percent year to year among total viewers, while Glenn Beck’s 5 p.m. program posted a 120 percent gain. “Sean Hannity” and “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” were up 41 percent and 60 percent, respectively, B&C said.

HLN had its best July ever in the demographic and total viewers in total day as well as prime time. “Nancy Grace” finished second at 8 p.m. for the month in the demographic, behind FNC’s “O’Reilly Factor.”

Also Thursday…

She’s Got the Look (9 p.m., TV Land) - It’s the season finale, and the winner is announced - either Cindy, age 39; LeeAnne, 41; or Theresa, 47 - in this modeling competition for women 35 and older.

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

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