By ED BARK
***The annual honor of being fall's first cancellation goes to Fox's Nashville, silenced after just two Friday night episodes.
The reality series will be replaced by repeats of the new and also struggling series K-Ville until major league baseball's postseason kicks in.
***Nielsen Media Research is making a significant change in its audience measurements by giving broadcast networks the option of a single, combined rating for series episodes that air twice within a single broadcast week. The commercials also have to be identical for each telecast.
Nielsen says that NBC's Heroes is the first series to "take advantage" of the "new processing option." Monday's second season premiere and this Saturday's repeat will be counted as one episode in Nielsen's national weekly ratings.
***New NBC entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman keeps ordering new series from Reveille, the company he founded in 2002. The latest is My Dad is Better Than Your Dad, a co-production of Reveille and reality maestro Mark Burnett (Survivor, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?).
Better Than Your Dad, with an eight-episode run earmarked for midseason, pits old man against old man in "a series of unique stunt-driven challenges," says NBC. The network's riotous vp of alternative programming, Craig Plestis, confidently predicts success because Reveille and Burnett are "the 'Big Daddies' of the reality genre."
By ED BARK
24's late season creative slump and some false starts for its upcoming seventh have prompted at least one drastic measure. Agent Tony Almeida (Carlos Bernard), left for dead in Season 5, will be resurrected to rejoin Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).
Fox announced his return Wednesday, with executive producer Howard Gordon contending that the show had "left the door open" for Tony after leaving him presumably deceased in CTU's infirmary.
"Since there was no silent clock at the conclusion of his last appearance -- the 24 tribute to a major character's demise -- we always kept this as a possibility," Howard said.
Season 7, beginning with a two-night, three-hour "premiere event" on Jan. 13-14, will find Jack facing trial in Washington, D.C. for his "actions in the pursuit of justice." He turns an even whiter shade of pale when Tony pops up in the opening episode.
As previously noted, CTU has been disbanded but agents Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and Bill Buchanan (James Morrison) are returning in different guises. Cast additions include Cherry Jones as President Allison Taylor and Janeane Garofalo as FBI agent Janis Gold. President Taylor also will have a "First Gentleman" named Henry (Colm Feore).
24 initially planned to set Season 7 in China.
By ED BARK
Preliminary "fast national" Nielsens indicate that Sunday night's Emmy telecast on Fox will be the second smallest draw in the awards' 59-year history.
The annual trophy giveaway averaged 13.1 million viewers, ranking ahead of only the 1990 prime-time ceremony on Fox, which drew 12.3 million viewers. Last year's awards on NBC, which aired in late August and didn't have to compete against a pro football game, drew 16.2 million viewers.
Emmy's best showing, in years for which total viewer numbers are available, came in 1986 on NBC. The ceremony lured 35.8 million viewers that year. But Emmy hasn't topped 20 million viewers since 2000, when 21.8 million watched the ABC telecast.
By ED BARK
The 2007-08 fall TV season makes its first peep Friday with Fox's Nashville, one of 28 newbies coming your way from the five major broadcast networks. Here's the complete download-and-save lineup of premiere nights and dates, with all times central.
Sept. 26 Private Practice, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
Sept. 26 Dirty Sexy Money, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Sept. 27 Big Shots, Thursdays, 9 p.m.
Oct. 2 Cavemen, Tuesdays, 7 p.m.
Oct. 2 Carpoolers, Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3 Pushing Daisies, Wednesdays, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 Women's Murder Club, Fridays, 8 p.m.
Oct. 15 Samantha Who?, Mondays, 8:30 p.m.
Sept. 19 Kid Nation, Wednesdays, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 The Big Bang Theory, Mondays, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 Cane, Tuesdays, 9 p.m.
Sept. 28 Moonlight, Fridays, 8 p.m.
Oct. 18 Viva Laughlin, sneak preview Thursday, 9 p.m., then Sundays, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 Chuck, Mondays, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 Journeyman, Mondays, 9 p.m.
Sept. 26 Bionic Woman, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
Sept. 26 Life, Wednesdays, 9 p.m.
Sept. 14 Nashville, Fridays, 8 p.m.
Sept. 17 K-Ville, Mondays, 8 p.m.
Sept. 19 Back to You, Wednesdays, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 Kitchen Nightmares, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
Oct. 19 The Next Great American Band, Fridays, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 Gossip Girl, Wednesdays, 8 p.m.
Sept. 23 CW Now, Sundays, 6 p.m.
Sept. 23 Online Nation, Sundays, 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 25 Reaper, Tuesdays, 8 p.m.
Oct. 1 Aliens in America, Mondays, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 7 Life Is Wild, Sundays, 7 p.m.
By ED BARK
***Jon Stewart's got the Oscar gig again. The Comedy Central mainstay will host for the second time next year, sandwiching Ellen DeGeneres.
"I'm thrilled to be asked to host the Academy Awards for the second time because, as they say, the third time's a charm," Stewart quipped, as he is wont.
Stewart, in his ninth year as host of The Daily Show, also guided the 78th Oscar-cast. The 80th is set for Feb. 24 on ABC.
***Today it's NBC's Today. Soon enough it will be a return visit to her old home. Meredith Vieira will rejoin ABC's The View for a day on Oct. 8 after moderating the show for nine seasons.
She left it in June, 2006 after being roasted and toasted by the likes of Joan Rivers, Kelsey Grammer and Mario Cantone. The View's new moderator, Whoopi Goldberg, recently took the chair vacated by bombastic Rosie O'Donnell.
***Fox's MADtv will open its 13th season with successive guest host stints by Jerry Springer (Sept. 15), Jeff Probst (Sept. 22) and Perez Hilton (Sept. 29).
***TNT's third season finale of The Closer set a ratings record for a basic cable series, drawing 9.2 million viewers. That's slightly more than half the 17.2 million viewers for The Disney Channel's High School Musical 2, which recently became cable's all-time record holder in any genre.
TNT already has ordered a fourth season of The Closer, of course. And star Kyra Sedgwick is up for a best actress Emmy this Sunday.
***At the other end of the ratings teeter totter, HBO had a pretty dismal time of it Sunday night. The premiere of its very sexually explicit Tell Me You Love Me series aroused just 910,000 viewers. The network's extraordinary Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, produced and hosted by James Gandolfini, fared a bit worse with 901,000 viewers. Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm, starting its sixth season, upped those numbers only a bit to 1.2 million viewers.
Also on Sunday, MTV's annual collision of posers, idiots and de-toxers, a k a the Video Music Awards, lured 7.1 million viewers. That's up from 5.8 million the previous year, thanks in no small part to a big tune-in for the opening debacle by Britney Spears. Best line on that one comes from Simon Cowell, who told Extra, "She stole the show, whether you liked it or not . . . I would think every other artist on that show hates her guts."
By ED BARK
***Comedian/actor Steve Martin, Beach Boys guru Brian Wilson and diva Diana Ross are among the latest quintet of Kennedy Center Honor recipients. They'll be joined by director Martin Scorsese and pianist Leon Fleisher at the 30th annual ceremony on Dec. 2nd in Washington, D.C. CBS will televise the event on Dec. 26th.
***As fully expected, Barbara Walters has tabbed actress/comic Sherri Shepherd (Beauty Shop) to join The View as a full-time panelist. Shepherd already has guested 23 times.
"She is irreverent, charming, funny and loveable," Walters said in an ABC release.
Shepherd joins Walters, fellow newcomer Whoopi Goldberg, and Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the show, which is in its 11th season.
By ED BARK
The high-powered stunt casting continues on NBC's 30 Rock, with Edie Falco signed to guest star for three episodes in a so far undisclosed role.
The former mainstay of The Sopranos joins Jerry Seinfeld as a 30 Rock-er. He'll play himself in an episode next season.
"We're thrilled to have such an amazing actress join us," 30 Rock creator/producer/star Tina Fey says in a Peacock statement. "Also, a lot of guys on our crew want The Sopranos ending explained to them."
30 Rock returns on Oct. 4 as part of an acclaimed but ratings-impaired Thursday night comedy block that also includes The Office, My Name Is Earl and Scrubs.
By ED BARK
Well-meaning Earl Hickey will still be behind bars when NBC's My Name Is Earl returns for its third season on Sept. 27th. So the cast has put together a broad-appeal "Free Earl" singalong to help get him out. Here's what it looks like:
Free Earl Music Video
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