- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ABC winning Web

ABC is dominating prime-time TV — when it comes to watching prime-time TV on the Web, that is.

According to MediaWeek.com, the network’s shows accounted for nine of the top 10 series ranked by the Nielsen Co.’s February VideoCensus report, which tracks the audience for online video. “Lost” was the most streamed show in February, Nielsen said, reaching 2.5 million unique viewers, an increase of 41 percent over the previous month, when the current season began. “Lost” also led all shows, with 48 million total streams, an increase of 20 percent compared to January.

The only other series to top 1 million unique online viewers were ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” which was streamed by 1.5 million unique viewers, and “Grey’s Anatomy,” viewed online by 1.3 million individual viewers. Rounding out the top five shows were “The Bachelor” (962,000 unique views) and “Brothers & Sisters” (801,000 uniques).

“Dancing With the Stars,” which kicked off its eighth season March 9, exhibited the largest month-over-month increase in total streams, which soared by 1,678 percent.

Among the other ABC shows to score with Web viewers in February were “Scrubs,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Desperate Housewives” and “Private Practice.” ABC says season-to-date visitors to ABC.com have at least started to stream more than 106 million episodes. (The network does not break out how many episodes were streamed in their entirety, MediaWeek says.)

NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” was the only non-ABC show to crack the VideoCensus top 10, coming in at No. 8 on the list.

Major project

Turner Classic Movies plans to premiere an ambitious new series in 2010, thus far being called “Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood.”

The series will consist of 10 one-hour documentaries, each focusing on a different era of American movie history, from the invention of the first photographs that moved to the astonishing, computer-driven imagery of the present, TCM announces.

Each installment will feature rarely seen photographs and film footage, clips from memorable American movies and interviews with distinguished historians and major Hollywood figures. Bill Haber of Onstar Productions will be the executive director.

‘Cash Cab’ rolls on

Fresh installments of the Emmy Award-winning series “Cash Cab” will leave Discovery Channel’s garage next month.

The contestant trivia show, filmed inside a specially equipped New York City taxi driven by host Ben Bailey, will be stripped weeknights at 6:30 p.m. starting April 20, Multichannel.com reports. Discovery had ordered 20 new installments from Lion Television.

In the new season, Mr. Bailey will again give unsuspecting passengers a chance to more than pay for their fare en route to their Big Apple destinations. New this season: Random contestants are given the opportunity to double their winnings in the “double ride” portion of the show.

Mr. Bailey received his show-business start by answering phones at Los Angeles’ Comedy Store, where he was mistaken for a comic in the greenroom. The booker, seeing that the other comics in the room could not get enough of Mr. Bailey’s jokes, hired him on the spot. After a few years of performing in Los Angeles, he moved back to New York — where he honed his craft during open-mike nights at various clubs for two years.

Ten years of stand-up later, Mr. Bailey made the jump to host “Cash Cab” — although he needed to pass the city’s exam to get his taxi license.

‘Scrubs’ star tapped

In other ABC news, “Scrubs” co-star Donald Faison has joined Cedric the Entertainer in the network’s comedy pilot “The Law,” the Hollywood Reporter notes.

According to THR, “Law” revolves around reserve L.A. Police Department officers, two of them played by Cedric and Mr. Faison.

On tap tonight

Dancing With the Stars (9 p.m., ABC). The first elimination is announced.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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