- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 10, 2009

‘Nurse’ irks nurses

The New York State Nurses Association is not very happy with the portrayal of the nursing profession on Showtime’s new series “Nurse Jackie,” TVWeek.com says, citing a report from the New York Daily News.

The group is asking that Showtime include a disclaimer at the end of the show, which stars Emmy winner Edie Falco in the title role. The series’ premiere episode aired Monday night.

“We believe that the public’s view of nurses is influenced by TV dramas, and we have yet to see an accurate portrayal of what nurses really do,” NYSNA chief executive officer Tina Gerardi wrote in a letter to the premium cable network.

The group is concerned about repeated violations of the nursing code of ethics depicted in the series - including forging a donor card, stealing money from a patient and throwing away a patient’s dismembered ear.

“I almost fell out of my chair when I saw ‘Nurse Jackie.’ What are my patients going to think when they see that [show]?” said Barbara Crane, president of the National Federation of Nurses.

“This is a show of fiction, and its purpose, first and foremost, is entertainment. We are confident the viewing public will understand that and can differentiate between a work of fiction and a documentary, which this clearly is not,” a Showtime spokesperson said of the criticisms.

The show, which attracted more than a million viewers - giving Showtime its most-watched series premiere ever on a Monday night - already has been renewed for a second season, the Hollywood Reporter said late Tuesday.

Twitter wins Webby

Who needs Twitter’s 140 characters? Five words were enough for the winners at the 13th annual Webby Awards ceremony, where Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, took the prize for breakout of the year.

Sticking to the Webbys’ tradition of acceptance speeches limited to just five words, he said: “Creativity is a renewable resource,” Associated Press reports.

Also at Monday’s ceremony, “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane was honored for his Web series “Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy.”

Other winners included Arianna Huffington, whose Huffington Post won for best political blog.

Dave mulls new deal

David Letterman is near a deal to continue reading Top 10 lists on CBS for another three years, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The network is about to re-sign the Emmy-winning talk-show personality to continue hosting “Late Show” until 2011-12, sources told the trade publication. The agreement will represent a two-year extension on his current contract, which expires in 2010.

The decision to stay the course comes as rival NBC makes dramatic changes to its late-night lineup, moving Jay Leno to 10 p.m. in the fall and installing Conan O’Brien behind the “Tonight Show” desk. During his first week on “Tonight,” Mr. O’Brien bested Mr. Letterman in the ratings, though the gap between the shows narrowed as the week progressed.

Mr. Letterman, 62, has been with CBS since 1993, when he joined the network after leaving NBC’s “Late Night” (where he was replaced by Mr. O’Brien). Given the economic climate, CBS was able to negotiate a lower license fee with “Late Show” production company Worldwide Pants. Previous agreements gave the host a salary of about $30 million per year. It’s not clear if the fee cutback affects Mr. Letterman’s salary or just production costs, THR said.

From September to now, Mr. Letterman has averaged 3.8 million viewers, up 6 percent compared to the comparable period last year and steady in the adult demographic.

CBS declined comment, THR said.

‘Wives’ down a tad

Lifetime’s third-season premiere of “Army Wives” didn’t march in front of nearly as many viewers as the start of its sophomore campaign, Multichannel.com reports.

The series averaged 3.48 million viewers during its Sunday 10 p.m. airing, down 22 percent from the 4.5 million viewers who tuned in June 8, 2008, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

New life for ‘Earl’?

“My Name Is Earl” might live on.

Cable’s TBS is in preliminary talks to order 13 new episodes of the single-camera comedy from 20th Century Fox TV, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

The news comes just two weeks after NBC pulled the plug on the four-year-old series starring Jason Lee in what became one of the highest-profile cancellations of the upfront season.

Ever since “Earl” was put on the bubble for renewal at NBC in the spring, rumors began circulating that the series - the winner of five Emmys - might look for another home. Early speculation included 20th TV’s sister network Fox, whose entertainment president, Kevin Reilly, launched “Earl” while at NBC. ABC, which has been open to acquiring series that have aired on other networks, also has been mentioned as a possible home.

However, insiders also stressed that the conversations between 20th TV and TBS for new episodes are in the very early stages, and a deal is far from a lock, as the sides have to figure out whether an expensive network single-camera series can be produced under a basic cable network’s economic model.

Also, while still under a hold at 20th TV, “Earl’s” cast has not been lined up for a lower-budget reincarnation.

A cable afterlife for a canceled broadcast series often is considered, especially for shows with a devoted fan base, but the idea rarely pans out, THR notes. In 2005, Viacom’s Showtime flirted with the idea of picking up Fox’s Emmy-winning single-camera comedy “Arrested Development” after it was canceled, but a deal couldn’t be reached.

It’s easier when the cable network is part of the corporate family. In 2007, the NBC drama “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” moved to sister cable network USA, with the broadcast network getting a second window on the crime series. The show, which underwent budget trims, is produced by UMS, another NBC Universal entity.

3 join ‘Entourage’

Scott Caan, William Fichtner and Matt Letscher have signed on to guest-star on “Entourage’s” upcoming sixth season, TVGuide.com has confirmed.

Mr. Caan - the son of actor James Caan - will play Scotty Lavin, a talent manager who becomes E’s (Kevin Connolly) headache this season. Mr. Fichtner (“Prison Break”) takes on the role of slick TV producer Phil Yagoda, who is trying to remake his hit 1990s teen series for Drama (Kevin Dillon). Mr. Letscher, who got some screen time opposite Calista Flockhart on ABC’s “Brothers and Sisters” this season, plays Dan Coakley, a TV executive who oversees Drama’s TV series.

The HBO series returns at 10:30 p.m. July 12.

&#8226 Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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