- - Wednesday, June 29, 2011

News broadcasts get collective viewer boost

The evening newscasts have been fighting a war of attrition for years. But a particularly newsy second quarter with the royal wedding, the tsunami and earthquakes in Japan, and the killing of Osama bin Laden has given the broadcasts a ratings shot in the arm, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

All three newscasts added viewers in the second quarter - the first time they have reported a collective year-over-year increase in more than 10 years.

“NBC Nightly News” had its best quarter since second quarter 2006. “ABC World News” drew its biggest audience in three years. “CBS Evening News,” which had anchor Katie Couric pass the baton to Scott Pelley this month, was up 8 percent compared with the second quarter of 2010, averaging 5.6 million viewers for the just-ended quarter. Additionally, in Mr. Pelley’s first three weeks in the anchor chair, the broadcast has added more than a quarter-million viewers.

“Nightly News” with Brian Williams continued as the top-rated newscast, averaging 8.5 million viewers for the quarter, up 12 percent year over year. “World News” with Diane Sawyer averaged 7.6 million viewers with 2 million in the news target demographic of 25- to 54-year-olds.

Collectively, the three evening news broadcasts averaged more than 21 million viewers a week during the quarter.

Sheen’s wages garnished $55,000 monthly for children

A judge has ordered Charlie Sheen’s former bosses to garnish $55,000 a month for child support from any payments they make to the former “Two and a Half Men” star, the Associated Press reports.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Hank Goldberg on Friday approved a request by Brooke Mueller Sheen to garnish any payments that Warner Bros. Television makes to her ex-husband.

The pair divorced May 2, about two months after Warner Bros. fired Mr. Sheen from “Men.” The actor and the studio have been fighting over payments ever since.

The hefty monthly payments are intended to support the former couple’s twin sons and were part of a divorce settlement they reached earlier this year.

‘Ugly Betty’ star Ferrera ties the knot

America Ferrera is a married lady.

People.com says the 27-year-old “Ugly Betty” star and her longtime boyfriend, Ryan Piers Williams, were wed Monday night in “an intimate setting” with close friends and family in attendance.

A representative for Miss Ferrera confirmed the report to the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Miss Ferrera won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of Betty Suarez on ABC’s “Ugly Betty.”

The couple met at the University of Southern California when Mr. Williams cast her in his student film.

They were engaged last year.

Former ESPN commentator faces trial on stalking charge

Former ESPN commentator Jay Mariotti must stand trial on charges he stalked, injured and assaulted his ex-girlfriend, a judge ruled Tuesday.

According to the Associated Press, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Windham found sufficient evidence for Mr. Mariotti to stand trial on one felony count each of stalking, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, and assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury. He also faces two misdemeanor counts of disobeying a domestic court order.

Prosecutors say Mr. Mariotti confronted the woman at a restaurant Sept. 30, the same day he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery count stemming from an August incident with her.

In that plea, he was sentenced to 36 months of probation, community service and a domestic violence course.

Mr. Mariotti, a former Chicago Sun-Times columnist, also is accused of grabbing his former girlfriend outside a Venice restaurant April 15. He allegedly pulled out a chunk of her hair and took her cellphone from her while shouting at her.

Mr. Mariotti’s attorney, Shawn Holley, called the allegations meritless.

“We look forward to trial when we will have the opportunity to present a strong and vigorous defense,” Mr. Holley said in a statement.

‘Eastbound & Down’ bound for S.C. shoot

The HBO comedy “Eastbound & Down” will be taped in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the Associated Press reports.

The sometimes raunchy series about a ballplayer past his prime received permits from the City Council on Tuesday to film there next week. The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports that the council was told filming would take place in locations including BB&T Coastal Field, the boardwalk and the beach.

The series, starring Danny McBride, is about a former major leaguer named Kenny Powers who is struggling to get back into professional baseball. During season three, Powers will pitch for a minor league team in Myrtle Beach.

Councilman Wayne Gray says he’s a fan of the show. During the meeting, he asked whether he could make a cameo appearance.

‘Modern Family’ premiere may be set in Wyoming

Jackson Hole, Wyo., is reportedly in the running to be the setting for the premiere of “Modern Family,” according to the Associated Press.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Wednesday that producers of ABC’s “mockumentary” sitcom named the resort town as their top pick, but that network approval is still pending. The proposal would have the show’s characters on a family vacation at the Lost Creek Ranch, a lodge and spa.

ABC officials declined to comment.

The newspaper reports that Jackson emerged as the front-runner after the Snow King Resort offered to set aside rooms for the production crew and actors, and the lodging tax board agreed to help pay for the rooms.

The show also considered sites in Tucson, Ariz.; Bozeman, Mont.; and Steamboat Springs, Colo.

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