- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

Top spot for USA

USA Network will finish July as the most-watched cable network, averaging 3.15 million total prime-time viewers and winning all three major demos, says TVWeek.com, citing a report from MediaWeek.

Citing Nielsen data for June 30 through Monday, MediaWeek says USA averaged 1.45 million adults ages 25 to 54, 1.29 million viewers 18 to 49 and 553,000 viewers 18 to 34, mainly owing to the popularity of its original series “Royal Pains” and “Burn Notice.”

Second place for July went to TNT, and Fox News Channel held onto third, the trade publication said.

Return engagements

Given USA’s top status, it should come as no surprise that the network’s hottest summer cable series will be back.

Sources tell the Hollywood Reporter that USA has renewed its flagship action drama “Burn Notice” and the breakout freshman hit “Royal Pains.”

The Thursday combo of “Burn” and “Pains” has been the main driver of USA’s ratings surge, with all fresh episodes of the series landing in the top 20 programs on ad-supported cable for the month.

On July 9, the original runs of “Burn” and “Pains” drew 7.1 million and 7.3 million viewers, respectively, THR says.

“Burn,” which stars Jeffrey Donovan, is being picked up for a fourth season. The show it helped launch, the Mark Feuerstein-starring medical soap opera, “Royal Pains,” is being renewed for a second turn.

Spidey’s mom lands show

Wendy Maguire, mother of “Spider-Man” film star Tobey Maguire, is working on a new reality series, “Growing Up Maguire,” says TVWeek.com, citing a report from the New York Post.

According to the newspaper, the show will follow Ms. Maguire and her other son — 15-year-old Weston — to see how normal they can stay as they try to avoid the downside of living in and around the entertainment business.

Early start

Fox is rearranging its fall launch plans, giving an early jump to frosh drama “Glee” and the fall edition of “So You Think You Can Dance,” Variety reports.

According to the trade publication, “Dance” and “Glee,” which were originally set to launch on Sept. 16, will instead bow Sept. 9. The move gives the shows a chance to get a bit more early sampling, away from the noisy premiere week set for later in the month.

Also, the network has pushed the start of its Friday comedy “Brothers” back a week, to Sept. 25, where two episodes will air — leading into the season premiere of “Dollhouse.” The season premiere of “‘Til Death” is now set for the following week, on Oct. 2.

The Friday moves mean Fox will air original episodes of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?” paired with “Glee” repeats on Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.

More ‘Payne’ ahead

TBS announced that it will film an additional 20 episodes of its top-rated original comedy series “House of Payne,” Multichannel.com reports.

The new order for the series, created by actor/playwright Tyler Perry and distributed by production company Debmar-Mercury, will bring the number of episodes to 172 since the sitcom premiered in 2006. The series — which follows a multigenerational black family living under one roof — is among the top-viewed original cable sitcoms, averaging 3 million viewers over 20 new episodes this year. That’s second only to the 3.5 million viewers watching the “Payne” spinoff comedy series, “Meet the Browns,” also on TBS. The two shows are also television’s most-watched series among blacks ages 18 to 34 in 2009, notes Multichannel.com.

Bushnell on Web

Meredith Corp. and its lifestyle magazine More have teamed up with Candace Bushnell, creator of HBO’s “Sex and the City” and NBC’s “Lipstick Jungle,” on a new Web series, MediaWeek.com says.

Written by Miss Bushnell and produced by director Ellen Gittelsohn (“Roseanne,” “Designing Women”), “The Broadroom” will take a humorous look at workplace issues facing women.

Cast members include Jennie Garth from “Beverly Hills, 90210” and Talia Balsam from AMC’s Emmy-winning “Mad Men.” Four episodes are scheduled to air starting in September, MediaWeek says.

As part of the deal, Miss Bushnell will pen columns for the September and October issues of More, a lifestyle magazine geared toward women 40 and older.

Red carpet ins, outs

TV Guide Network is shaking up its red carpet coverage, replacing hosts Lisa Rinna and Joey Fatone with “Dancing With the Stars” judge Carrie Ann Inaba and “The Bachelor” host Chris Harrison, says Broadcastingcable.com.

Miss Rinna and Mr. Fatone — a member of the pop group ‘N Sync — joined TV Guide Network in August 2007 as the faces of the network’s red carpet coverage in Hollywood. As the channel looks to revamp under its new ownership of Lionsgate and JP Morgan, it is seeking to change its public face. That strategy includes acquiring off-network series such as “Ugly Betty,” developing original programming, which TV Guide Network President Ryan O’Hara says is forthcoming, and changing its talent roster.

Mr. Harrison and Miss Inaba will host TV Guide network’s Emmy coverage later this year, followed by the Golden Globes, Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, Grammys and Oscars. Mr. Harrison also will host preview shows looking at each of the awards programs, while Miss Inaba will host fashion specials looking back at what the stars wore on the red carpet.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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