- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009

Emmy changes — again

The 61st Primetime Emmys are returning to their original date, Sept. 20, Hollywood Reporter says.

Two weeks after CBS, which carries the awards show this year, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences took the rare step of moving the ceremony up a week to Sept. 13, they did an about-face.

The decision was made after they learned that MTV’s Video Music Awards are slated for Sept. 13, THR says. MTV, part of Viacom and once a corporate sibling of CBS, is expected to make an official announcement about the date, venue and host of this year’s VMAs next week but told CBS about the plans in advance.

“After we announced plans for Sept. 13, MTV informed us they were locked into the same day for the Video Music Awards, with venue and sponsorship agreements in place. We had the flexibility to move; they didn’t,” said Jack Sussman, CBS’ executive vice president for specials, music and live events. “It’s best for the industry and the audience that these events not compete against each other.”

In addition to attracting top music talent, the VMA ceremony, MTV’s premiere annual event, draws big ratings. Last year, the cable awards show, hosted by edgy British comic Russell Brand, attracted 8.4 million viewers, most of them in the sought-after younger demographics.

The decision to move the Primetime Emmys to Sept. 13 came after the NFL released its schedule, featuring a double-header on Sept. 20 — which will be carried by CBS. Fearing the Emmy ceremony would be delayed if the late-afternoon game bled into prime time, the network opted to move the show to Sept. 13, when it would have faced the lower-profile Bears-Packers NFL game on NBC.

On Sept. 20, the Emmys will run against the marquee Giants-Cowboys showdown.

To limit any delay to the Emmy show on Sept. 20, “60 Minutes,” scheduled from 7 to 8 p.m., will be shortened if needed to keep the Emmys’ start time at 8 p.m. The Emmy ceremony will be delayed only by the unlikely scenario of the game running past 8 p.m.

Nominations will be announced July 16.

Going to the ‘Dog’

Will “Dog Whisperer” Cesar Millan be motoring about in a Subaru as he travels the country to help misbehaving pups mend their ways?

Maybe.

According to MediaWeek.com, cable’s National Geographic Channel has signed Subaru as the lead sponsor for the upcoming sixth season of “Dog Whisperer.” The agreement will extend through the season.

Terms of the deal include the integration of the Subaru Forester throughout the fall season of “Dog Whisperer” as well as custom elements such as billboards and branded content across National Geographic’s digital platforms.

Automotive ad spending, an integral part of National Geographic’s portfolio, has crumpled, falling 15.4 percent across all media in 2008, says TNS Media Intelligence. Still, National Geographic has managed to hold on to an enviable portion of its car dollars, says Rich Goldfarb, senior vice president of advertising sales.

“Since the market began changing, we’ve continued to do incremental business with automakers,” Mr. Goldfarb said. “This particular campaign is a great example of the lengths we’re willing to go to to provide clients with very targeted packages and digital extensions.”

Subaru said it jumped at the chance to hook up with “Dog Whisperer,” which until recently had been unavailable. (Toyota Venza had locked down the sole vehicle sponsorship for the show’s fifth season.)

In addition to the “Dog Whisperer” package, Subaru has signed on as presenting sponsor of National Geographic’s “Preserve Our Planet” special “Wild Spaces,” which premieres in July. The network is prepping three 30-second custom vignettes around the Subaru Outback, each of which will encourage viewers to “experience more of our country’s majestic open spaces.”

Subaru sales dipped 5 percent in May, Multichannel.com reports. According to data from Nielsen, Subaru spent $138 million on measured media in 2008, and another $23 million in the first quarter of this year.

‘Alice’ gets stars

Sci Fi has cast the lead actors in its upcoming miniseries “Alice.”

The re-imagining of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” follows in the footsteps of 2007’s “Tin Man,” a take on the classic “Wizard of Oz.”

Oscar winner Kathy Bates has signed on to play the Queen of Hearts, with Tim Curry playing Dodo. The lead role of Alice will be played by Caterina Scorsone (Starz’ “Crash”), Broadcastingcable.com reports.

Other cast members include Colm Meaney (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”) as the King of Hearts, Philip Winchester (“Crusoe”) as Jack of Hearts, Matt Frewer (“Watchmen”) as the White Knight, Andrew Lee Potts (“Primeval”) as Hatter, Alessandro Juliani (“Battlestar Galactica”) as 9 of Clubs, Timothy Webber (“Taken”) as Carpenter, Alex Diakun (“Sanctuary”) as Ratcatcher, Zak Santiago (“Kingdom Hospital”) as 10 of Clubs, and Eugene Lipinski (“Animorphs”) as Doctors Dee and Dum.

“Alice” is slated to premiere in December on Sci Fi — which will rebrand itself as Syfy next month.

Weekend watch

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (9 p.m. , Food Network) — In tonight’s episode, titled “Who’Da Thunk It,” host Guy Fieri heads west for unexpected discoveries at greasy-spoon eateries. There’s a 50-year-old drive-in in Boise, Idaho, where you can order prime rib; Jamaican cooking in Fort Worth, Texas; and a Santa Fe, N.M., pizza parlor where green chilies top the tasty pies. A second installment of “D, D and D” — titled “Burgers, Rings and Fries” — follows at 9:30, with Mr. Fieri traveling to Minnesota and Michigan in search of multiple variations on the all-American favorites.

Merlin (8 p.m. Sunday, WRC-NBC4) — This 13-episode drama updates for contemporary audiences the story of the infamous sorcerer of Arthurian legend who uses his talents to unlock Camelot’s mystical secrets. Colin Morgan has the title role, and Bradley James is Arthur.

Killer Hair (8 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime Movie Network) — Maggie Lawson is Lacey Smithsonian, the “Crimes of Fashion” columnist at a fictional newspaper in the District, who gets something other than style tips to report on when dead bodies suddenly turn up at the chic hair salon owned by her best friend. Finola Hughes (Style TV’s “How Do I Look?”) and Mario Cantone (HBO’s “Sex and the City”) co-star. Based on the “Crimes of Fashion” book series by Ellen Byerrum.

Written and compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports.

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