- - Wednesday, February 22, 2012

TBS extends contract for ‘Conan‘ into 2014

Cable network TBS said Wednesday it has extended the late-night series “Conan,” hosted by Conan O’Brien, through April 2014.

Since premiering in November 2010, ” ‘Conan‘ has been a hit with TBS‘ core audience of young adults,” the Time Warner network said.

While “Conan” has underperformed in the ratings, TBS highlighted that it recently had its third consecutive month of audience growth. “The success of ‘Conan‘ also extends well beyond the show’s TBS telecasts to include widespread DVR, online and mobile viewing, interaction through Twitter, Facebook and TeamCoco.com,” the network said.

“We are proud to be in business with Conan O’Brien for the long run,” said Michael Wright, executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies.

Said Mr. O’Brien: “I am excited to continue my run with TBS because they have been fantastic partners.” He also quipped: “This means I’ll be taping episodes of ‘Conan‘ well into the Ron Paul presidency.”

TBS has yet to permanently fill the post-“Conan” midnight slot previously occupied by George Lopez’s “Lopez Tonight.” That show was canceled last summer after two seasons. “Lopez” lost almost half of its viewers when TBS moved it to midnight to make room for “Conan.”

Chelsea Clinton may stay as NBC correspondent

Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who has served as a special correspondent for NBC News since late last year, is close to extending her three-month contract with the broadcast network’s news division, the New York Times reported.

The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has contributed “Making a Difference” segments to “NBC Nightly News” and also appeared on “Rock Center With Brian Williams,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Some observers slammed NBC News for bringing Miss Clinton on board. But NBC News president Steve Capus defended hiring her, saying it was not as a publicity stunt and promising to keep her away from political news coverage.

Miss Clinton’s debut drew mixed reviews from media critics. A spokeswoman for NBC declined to comment on Miss Clinton’s contract situation.

Comcast launching video-streaming service

Cable-TV giant Comcast is launching a new subscription video service that will enable its customers to instantly view movies and TV shows both in and out of the home.

The service, called Xfinity Streampix, will be available this week to Xfinity video customers, the Associated Press reports. The company said Tuesday that it will allow customers to access programming on multiple screens and devices including TVs, online platforms and mobile devices.

In the coming year, Streampix will be available on additional devices, such as the Xbox 360 game console and those powered by Android.

This new service complements the 75,000 TV shows and movies now available on Xfinity On Demand and XfinityTV.com as well as through the Xfinity TV app.

‘America’s Next Top Model’ renewed for 19th cycle

The CW has clicked its high heels and ordered a 19th edition of reality competition series “America’s Next Top Model.”

With the Tyra Banks-hosted series set to premiere its 18th edition next week, the network has given an early pickup to the series in order to get a leg up on casting its next cycle, which is expected to begin soon.

Set to return in the fall, the 19th cycle will be a college edition, the Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The franchise, which dates back to the former UPN network, ranks as the CW’s highest-rated property. Last year’s edition averaged a 1.7 rating among the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic.

The 18th cycle - the network’s first “British Invasion” theme, premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the CW.

Pair of Winfrey shows are hitting the road

Oprah Winfrey is a rolling stone. Besides taking her act on the road for the interview series, “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” OWN announced that “Oprah’s Lifeclass” is going on tour starting with its first new episode back on March 26.

Dubbed “Oprah’s Lifeclass: The Tour,” Ms. Winfrey will take the show to three cities over six new episodes. The first episode shoots live at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis on March 26. Then, the production heads to Radio City Music Hall in New York on April 2. A third city has yet to be announced.

“Taking ‘Lifeclass’ on the road gives Oprah the opportunity to connect on a whole new level with our viewers in person, on-air and online,” OWN President Sheri Salata said. “We are gathering the most inspiring teachers to discuss the fundamental life principles that are the keys to unlocking our own greatest potential.”

Oprah’s guest teachers for the trip include Iyanla Vanzant, a once-frequent “Oprah Winfrey Show” guest who squashed her longtime estrangement from the host in a two-part appearance on “Oprah’s Lifeclass” last season, and Bishop T.D. Jakes in St. Louis. Spiritualist Deepak Chopra and business and life coach Tony Robbins will join Ms. Winfrey in New York.

The episodes will also live-stream at Oprah.com.

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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