- - Thursday, September 15, 2011

Veteran ‘Big Brother’ player wins $500,000 prize

Rachel Reilly has no reason to pout over the “Big Brother” results.

After being locked away from the outside world for 75 days, the weepy “Big Brother” veteran emerged Wednesday as the winner of CBS’ voyeuristic reality TV competition, the Associated Press reports. The show’s six-person jury selected the 26-year-old cocktail waitress from Los Angeles to win the $500,000 grand prize over 23-year-old new contestant Porsche Briggs from Miami.

At the beginning of the 13th season, the flame-haired Miss Reilly entered the “Big Brother” abode with fiance Brendon Villegas, a 31-year-old graduate student. The pair met last summer as competitors on the show’s 12th edition. The ups and downs of their relationship - and the game - resulted in frequent emotional outbursts from Miss Reilly throughout the summer.

“Oh, it’s going to be a very hard decision,” Mr. Villegas joked as he cast his vote for his fiance.

Miss Reilly, who secured four of the six-person jury’s votes, dominated the 13th season by winning several competitions with her veteran alliance and openly targeting the batch of new players.

Singer has ‘Talent,’ wins NBC competition

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. won’t be washing cars again - unless they’re his own.

The soulful vocalist who once supported himself by washing cars at an auto dealership sang his way to victory on Wednesday on “America’s Got Talent,” the Associated Press reports.

“Thank you so much for just believing in me,” he said upon hearing his name announced at the end of the NBC talent competition.

“It’s been a long, hard journey,” he went on, barely holding back tears as the audience roared, “ever since I was a kid. And it’s finally paying off.”

Mr. Murphy, a native of Logan, W.Va., won $1 million and a Las Vegas headlining contract.

With his rich voice and mild-mannered persona, Mr. Murphy had been a favorite of the judges and the audience all season. He bested three other finalists on the season-ending telecast. They included the Silhouettes, a troupe of youngsters from Arvada, Colo., who use shadow dancing to illustrate music. This enormous group, more than three dozen strong ranging in age from 3 to 19 years old, had charmed the audience with its visual effects.

Moments earlier, the other two acts had been cut. They were teenage rock band PopLyfe from Oakland, Calif., and Team iLuminate, whose dancing performers equip themselves with wearable wireless lighting systems.

Young viewers bypass new Kennedy interview

Fifty years on, Camelot has little apparent fascination for young people.

According to the Associated Press, the majority of the 8.4 million people who watched ABC’s two-hour special featuring a previously unheard interview with former first lady Jackie Kennedy had personal memories of the Kennedy administration. The Nielsen ratings company said just under 2 million of those viewers were ages 18 to 49.

More people in that youthful demographic watched reruns of “NCIS: Los Angeles” on CBS at the same time Tuesday or saw contestants dropping into the water on ABC’s “Wipeout” earlier in the night.

“Young people just don’t care about old people on TV,” said Bill Gorman, co-founder of the TV by the Numbers website, which analyzes television ratings. “It’s just the way it works.”

Still, add in the older viewers and it’s a much larger audience than ABC is accustomed to on a Tuesday night this summer. The Kennedy special grew in ratings as the night went on and was more popular than the season premiere of NBC’s “Parenthood,” Nielsen said.

Winkler honored for work with dyslexic children

The Fonz has earned some respect.

Henry Winkler, the actor best known for his work on the sitcom “Happy Days,” has been made an honorary member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his work helping children with dyslexia.

Ambassador Nigel Sheinwald presented the award to Mr. Winkler at the British Embassy in Washington on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Winkler’s dyslexia was diagnosed as an adult. He has toured schools in Britain in the past two years to talk about the condition, and has written books about Hank Zipzer, a boy with dyslexia.

Mr. Winkler said he is flattered to have his work recognized, and added that he hoped “to continue showing kids that their learning difficulty isn’t a disability.”

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