- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2009

‘Wife’s‘ good night

Tuesday’s premiere of the new legal drama “The Good Wife” helped lead CBS to a ratings victory that night, Zap2it.com reported Wednesday.

Bowing in the 10 p.m. time slot, “Wife” - which stars Julianna Margulies as a scorned political wife who’s forced to resume practicing law when her unfaithful husband is jailed for his role in a scandal - attracted 13.7 million viewers.

The hour’s big numbers, however, spelled trouble for NBC, where “The Jay Leno Show” settled for a third-place finish with 6.8 million viewers.

Meanwhile, the season premiere of CBS’ “NCIS” brought in 20 million viewers to best ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” (14.1 million) in the 8 p.m. slot. Similarly, the network’s winning streak continued at 9 p.m. when the series premiere of “NCIS: Los Angeles” - with 18.3 million viewers - topped “Dancing” (16.2 million) for a first-place finish for the hour.

K-Fed joins ‘Club’

Kevin Federline is about to slim down.

The now-portly father of four and former Mr. Britney Spears, is joining the cast of VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club,” says the New York Daily News, citing a report from People.com.

Also appearing on the seventh season of the show will be Mr. Federline’s ex-girlfriend (and the mother of two of his kids) Shar Jackson, an unnamed source tells the Web site.

Mr. Federline, a former backup dancer, has been lambasted in the press for putting on weight since his divorce from Miss Spears three years ago.

Other notable cast members include former “Baywatch” star Nicole Eggert and Whitney Houston’s ex-husband Bobby Brown.

The newest season of “Celebrity Fit Club” premieres on VH1 Feb. 14.

Abrams eyes sitcom

J.J. Abrams is taking a comedic turn at Fox with a half-hour project written by Mike Markowitz.

Mr. Abrams, co-creator/executive producer of Fox’s sophomore science-fiction drama “Fringe,” is serving as executive producer for an untitled comedy, which has been given a presentation order, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Details on the premise are being kept under wraps beyond a bare-bones logline of “a comedic medical show,” THR adds.

O still tops in talk

The much-ballyhooed season premiere of the CBS-produced “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” featuring the first half of a two-hour interview with the aforementioned Miss Houston, helped Miss Winfrey post a 55 percent jump in the ratings from last year, says TVWeek.com, citing a report from TVNews Check.com.

This year’s premiere also beat her 2007 kickoff. Like all syndicated shows, “Oprah’s” ratings have dropped steadily in recent years.

Elsewhere, ratings in the time period for Miss Winfrey’s spin-off, “The Dr. Oz Show” - which also premiered Sept. 14 - are up 31 percent compared to year-ago time periods and up 40 percent over its lead-ins, Broadcastingcable.com reports, citing data from Sony.

According to B&C, “Dr. Oz” performed especially well on Fox stations in Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, improving time periods in those markets by an entire ratings point or more.

Other new first-run strips this year are Warner Bros.’ court show, “Judge Jeanine Pirro,” which premiered Sept. 7.

Syndicator Debmar-Mercury’s “The Wendy Williams Show,” which premiered nationally in July, is adding 30 markets to its roster. It’s holding its own in New York and is growing in Chicago, but it needs to see growth nationwide, B&C noted.

CBS’ “Dr. Phil” had intended to premiere with a live episode shot in New York City, but decided to tape it and hold it until Sept. 15 because the show was pre-empted in many markets for CBS’ coverage of the Men’s U.S. Open Tennis Finals. Another episode aired instead.

‘L&O’ marks 20

A dozen past and present “Law & Order” stars gathered to mark the start of its 20th year.

According to Associated Press, the event was held Wednesday in the familiar courtroom set of the NBC series, which now ties “Gunsmoke” as TV’s longest-running drama.

Former regulars including Benjamin Bratt, Angie Harmon and Jill Hennessy joined Sam Waterston, Anthony Anderson and fellow members of the current ensemble.

The series began in September 1990 and has not only persevered, but has also spawned two successful spinoffs.

“Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf said he hopes the show will be back again next fall, when it can make sole claim to the endurance record.

And he says, “I hope we’ll see you here in 2013.”

The season premiere is Friday at 8 p.m.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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