- - Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It looks as if NBC News notched two wins Tuesday night. After being the first network to call the presidential race in favor of incumbent Barack Obama, it also has an advantage in the ratings.

Fast affiliate returns for Tuesday’s prime-time block of election coverage gave NBC a 4.6 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.56 million viewers – topping its final ratings from four years ago, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A distant second in the demo, ABC’s coverage was much closer to NBC among total viewers. The network averaged a 3.8 rating among adults (down from 2008’s 4.5) and 11.15 million viewers.

CBS was up from fast affiliate numbers in 2008, but down from the finals with a 2.7 rating among adults 18 to 49. The network averaged 8.42 million viewers.

On Fox’s “Fox News Election Special: You Decide,” measured only between 8 and 10 p.m., brought in a 2.0 rating among adults 18 to 49 and 4.95 million viewers.

Univision averaged a 1.4 rating among adults 18 to 49 and 3.52 million viewers, while the CW aired encores to the tune of a 0.5 in the demo and 1.55 million viewers.

Final ratings for all of the broadcast networks’ election coverage – as well as returns from the cable outlets – were to be available later Wednesday.

British politician suspendedover reality-TV appearance

A British lawmaker was suspended by her party Tuesday after she swapped the political jungle for the Australian jungle and became a contestant on a reality-TV show.

Conservative legislator Nadine Dorries was under fire for taking part in “I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here,” The Associated Press reports. The show strands C-list celebrities in the Australian wilderness, subjects them to trials involving assorted creepy-crawlies and lets viewers vote them off one by one.

The Conservatives, who lead Britain’s coalition government, said Ms. Dorries was being suspended from the party’s parliamentary caucus until she could return and meet with Chief Whip George Young, who is responsible for party discipline.

Ms. Dorries was criticized by fellow Conservatives for taking up to a month off from her duties to appear on the show. Former Conservative member of Parliament Harry Greenway called the decision “outrageous,” and Home Secretary Theresa May said a lawmaker’s job “is in their constituency and in the House of Commons.”

But Conservative commentator Tim Montgomerie said that appearing on the show, which begins Sunday, could help Ms. Dorries “present an image of a Tory MP that defies some of the popular preconceptions and caricatures.”

It also could backfire.

In 2006, George Galloway, a lawmaker with the small Respect party, appeared on the TV show “Celebrity Big Brother” – and was widely mocked for escapades that included performing interpretive dance dressed in a red leotard and lapping imaginary milk while pretending to be a cat.

Ben Walker to starin HBO’s ‘Missionary’

HBO has found its missionary.

The premium cable-TV network has tapped Ben Walker to star in its Cold War drama pilot “The Missionary,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

From Charles Randolph (“The Interpreter”), Stephen Levinson, Malcolm Gladwell and Mark Wahlberg, the 1960s-set drama revolves around an American missionary who gets caught up in Cold War intrigue while helping a young woman escape East Berlin.

Mr. Walker, whose credits include the title role in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” will star as the missionary, Ben.

Mr. Randolph will pen the script, with Mr. Levinson, Mr. Gladwell and Mr. Wahlberg as executive producers.

Mr. Walker’s credits also include “Kinsey,” “The Notorious Bettie Page” and “Flags of Our Fathers.” The HBO drama, should it move to series, would mark his first regular TV role.

Britney Spears saysshe will return to ‘X Factor’

“X Factor” judge Britney Spears has revealed she is more than willing to return to the Fox franchise next season.

When Miss Spears was asked at a party for “X Factor’s” finalists whether she would continue her reported $15 million gig, the pop star didn’t hesitate in response, saying: “Yes, I definitely will.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Miss Spears has taken a shine to mentoring her Teens category, and on the red carpet, told media outlets, including CNN, that the show’s contestants are like her “little children.”

“They are so young,” she said. “When you see them do so well, my heart is out there with them, and it’s a really hard decision. It’s just such a hard thing to do.”

TV connections to Webon pace for 596 million

The number of TV connections to the Internet will hit 596 million by 2017, up from 105 million at the end of 2010 and the 212 million expected by the end of 2012, according to fresh research.

The report, published Wednesday by Digital TV Research, covers 40 territories and notes the U.S. contributed 48 million to the 2010 total (45 percent of the global total), and is expected to grow to 78 million in 2012, or 37 percent, and 147 million by 2017, representing only 25 percent of the global total.

According to the research, China will have 93 million connected TVs by 2017, up from just 2 million at the end of 2010.

China’s growth will push Japan, in second place in 2010 with 13 million, to the third spot in 2017 with 43 million predicted.

Report author Simon Murray said: “There has been something of a backlash against smart TV sets over the last year as critics argue that similar – or even better – offers are available on tablets or even mobile smartphones. Critics complain that connected TV sets provide a clunky experience. Although this is a wake-up call for those involved in the sector, these deficiencies are likely to be addressed reasonably soon as connected TV becomes mainstream. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of online usage via connected TVs is TV-related.”

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