- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 9, 2009

‘Burn’ smokes rivals

The third-season premiere of “Burn Notice” and the series premiere of “Royal Pains” delivered strong ratings for USA Thursday night, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

“Burn Notice” had its best season premiere ever, drawing 2.5 million viewers between 18 and 49 and 6 million total viewers, topping both a rerun of “CSI” on CBS and the premiere episode of “The Listener” on its broadcast sibling NBC.

The series premiere of “Royal Pains” at 10 p.m. drew 2.3 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 and 5.6 million viewers overall, B&C says.

However, “Royal Pains” delivered a better rating within the 18-to-49 demographic and more total viewers than both “Burn Notice” and “In Plain Sight” did in their series premieres.

Early overnight data shows that ABC handily beat the competition with the NBA Finals, although it looks like viewers in the mood for scripted fare drifted toward cable.

Tony ratings up

Tony Awards organizers can be pleased about a winning night at the television turnstiles.

Broadway’s big night was seen by 7.45 million people, Associated Press reported Monday. Nielsen Media Research says that’s a 19 percent increase over last year’s awards show, which had 6.27 million viewers.

Elton John’s show “Billy Elliot” won the Tony Award for best musical, and the three young men who play the title role share the best actor prize. “God of Carnage,” by French playwright Yasmina Reza, was named best play.

Neil Patrick Harris (CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother”) was the host of Sunday’s show at Radio City Music Hall. Angela Lansbury earned her fifth Tony Award, and Oscar winners Marcia Gay Harden and Geoffrey Rush also took home trophies.

Nielsen said it was the biggest audience for the Tonys in three years, the second-biggest since 2003.

‘Shield’ tops TCA bids

The Television Critics Association announced nominees for its annual TCA Awards, with the final season of FX’s “The Shield” leading the list.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The Shield” earned four nominations, including program of the year.

Meanwhile, although NBC has struggled in the ratings and critics have knocked some of the network’s newer programs, the Peacock network led rivals with 11 nominations for “30 Rock,” “The Office,” “Saturday Night Live” and other shows. HBO also had a fine year, with six nominees dominating the movies and miniseries category.

For program of the year, critics favored serialized dramas, nominating the final season of Sci Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica,” ABC’s “Lost,” AMC’s “Mad Men,” FX’s “The Shield” and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

For best new program, Fox’s “Fringe,” CBS’ “The Mentalist,” HBO’s “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency,” HBO’s “True Blood” and Showtime’s “United States of Tara” made the list.

The ceremony will be held Aug. 1 in Pasadena, Calif., and will be hosted by E! personality Chelsea Handler.

‘Garage’ returns

Discovery Channel is bringing back one of its most-recognizable franchises, “Monster Garage.” The new incarnation of the popular show, “MG: Motor City,” will be set in Detroit, which has been hit particularly hard by the current economic crisis, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

On June 1, General Motors Corp. — one of Detroit’s original automakers — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The original “Monster Garage” ran on Discovery from 2002-06, and featured host Jesse James and a team of designers overhauling automobiles into weird and wacky machines.

Ledger tribute set

Cable channel Ovation TV has acquired “Heath Ledger: A Tribute,” an hourlong documentary special on the life of the late Oscar-winning actor, the Hollywood Reporter says.

The documentary, from Australian production company World Wide Entertainment, will have its American premiere in August as part of Ovation TV’s week-long programming event, “Live Fast, Die Young,” which focuses on stars whose lives ended prematurely. Those profiled include Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and John Belushi.

“Throughout his short career, Heath Ledger seemed a star destined to burn brightly and leave a lasting mark,” said Kris Slava, Ovation TV’s senior vice president for programming.

“This documentary is a warm, honest portrayal of the actor and the man, and features footage that has never been seen in America.”

Priestly show on Web

TheWB.com is teaming with former “Beverly Hills, 90210” star Jason Priestley for “The Lake,” a new online series.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “The Lake” is a coming-of-age drama about four families who spend each summer together at a lakeside retreat.

Twelve episodes of “The Lake” have been ordered, each with a fairly significant running time (for online content, at least) of 7 to 10 minutes each.

“The Lake” will premiere in August.

Nick mag ends

Viacom’s print Nickelodeon Magazine is closing down this year after a 16-year run, the company said.

In a company memo, Nickelodeon Television President Cyma Zarghami said that the company has “decided to exit the magazine business” at a time when print publications are “severely challenged.”

Nickelodeon magazine is published 11 times a year and claims 7.7 million readers per issue. The company said some staff members will remain on board to put out the final issues but the rest of the staff will be let go.

Nickelodeon Magazine Group also published Nick Jr. Magazine and Nickelodeon Comics.

“Laura Galen and her terrific team put their hearts and souls into these magazines, and it showed,” Miss Zarghami said in her memo. Their total audience grew to reach more than 13 million loyal readers, she added.

‘Ray’ renewed

Daytime syndicated talk show “Rachael Ray” has been renewed through the 2011-12 season after the ABC Owned TV Stations inked a deal to pick up the Emmy-winning show for two more seasons, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Now in its third year, “Rachael Ray” — winner of the best talk show Daytime Emmy Award last year — is nominated for four 2009 Daytime Emmys including best talk show and best talk show host, the Hollywood Reporter notes.

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

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