- - Thursday, July 12, 2012

Viacom is ramping up its war with DirecTV over how much it is paid for shows including “The Daily Show” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Unfortunately, its latest tactic is causing some collateral damage.

According to the Associated Press, Viacom on Wednesday shut off access to full-length episodes on its own websites, such as MTV.com and ComedyCentral.com, to all visitors, even those who have no stake in the dispute.

The move apparently was in response to DirecTV telling its 20 million U.S. subscribers where on the Internet they could find programs they no longer could watch via DirecTV.

Viacom’s sites are now taken over by a video ad that informs visitors about the dispute and prompts people to call DirecTV to complain.

Some areas of the websites that once offered full episodes now say, “Full episodes are currently unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

Certain episodes of Viacom programming, such as 2-week-old episodes of “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report,” were available online at Hulu. Others, including “Jersey Shore,” were blocked.

DirecTV Group Inc. stopped carrying channels owned by Viacom Inc. late Tuesday because of a contract dispute. They include MTV, Nickelodeon, VH1 and Comedy Central.

DirecTV said Viacom was asking for a 30 percent increase in rates. Viacom said its latest agreement was made seven years ago and DirecTV is paying less than its competitors. The two companies blamed each other for the shutdown.

Many DirecTV subscribers took to Twitter to vent. “Viacom” and “Tosh,” which references the Comedy Central show “Tosh.0,” were trending topics on Twitter.

Courtney Mattison, a 22-year-old bank employee in Rutland, Vt., tweeted that the two companies were “acting like children over a business deal.”

In an interview, she said she felt caught up in a dispute that shouldn’t concern her, and it was costing her a couple hours of reality TV per night.

“I just want what I’m paying for, and if I can’t get it from DirecTV, I’m happy to get it elsewhere,” Miss Mattison said.

J.Lo on ‘American Idol’: ‘It’s time for me to go’

Apparently all the buzz about fresh faces on the “American Idol” judges panel is not premature.

According to People magazine, Jennifer Lopez, who’s been on the show for two seasons, appeared on Thursday’s “Today” show and said that when it comes to doing a third season, “I am thinking that it’s time for me to go.”

But leaving the Fox show, which crowned Phillip Phillips the season 11 winner in May, won’t be easy for Miss Lopez, who, besides being mom to 4-year-old twins Max and Emme, is on tour with Enrique Iglesias and stars in the new animated movie “Ice Age 4: Continental Drift.”

“I’ve loved it so much. I’ve enjoyed the show so much. I enjoy just the whole process of the show. … It’s a tough decision either way, but I have to say there are so many things I do that I put on hold for that,” said Miss Lopez, 42. “It’s a heartbreaking decision if I have to go.”

But it seems there’s still an “if.”

When “Today’s” Natalie Morales asked if she has made up her mind, Miss Lopez said, “Little by little, I am. … All I can let you in on is my own thought process with it because that’s where I truly am. … I love everybody, I love all the guys on the show, I love the family that’s there, … but I am thinking it’s time for me to go and do other things I love to do.”

Kristin Chenoweth injured on set of ‘Good Wife’

Actress Kristin Chenoweth is out of the hospital after being injured on the set of the CBS drama “The Good Wife.”

According to the Associated Press, her publicist, Jill Fritzo, said Thursday that Miss Chenoweth was home recovering after being hit on the head by a piece of set equipment that fell in a gust of wind on Wednesday.

After being treated by medics on the scene, the 43-year-old actress was taken to a hospital by ambulance.

Ms. Fritzo said Miss Chenoweth “thanks everyone for their prayers and good wishes.”

Miss Chenoweth won a Tony Award for her role in Broadway’s “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and an Emmy Award for her work on “Pushing Daisies.” She has a recurring role on “The Good Wife” in the upcoming season.

— Compiled by Web and wire reports.

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