…Don’t miss Seth Arenstein’s reviews of weekend programming on cable, including HBO‘s graphic Tell Me You Love Me and James Gandolfini’s return, his Alive Day Memories doc on 10 soldiers who survived Iraq, both premiering Sunday night along with the new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm.
ABC Family‘s season 2 premiere of Lincoln Heights attracted 1.6 million total viewers, 811,000 viewers 12-34 and 614,000 viewers 18-49. It was cable’s #1 telecast for females 12-34 (540,000) on Monday night.
CMT scored its most-watched telecast ever with Tuesday’s premiere of Dale. The Dale Earnhardt documentary averaged 3.1 million viewers and a 1.7 rating in adults 18-49 for its Sept. 4 debut.
CNBC will host a GOP debate Oct. 9 in Dearborn, MI. Republican presidential nominees will focus on economic issues, in a forum co-sponsored by MSNBC and the Wall Street Journal.
Discovery Channel will premiere Some Assembly Required, a popular science series co-starring Louis Bloomfield, a physics professor at the University of Virginia, and former Daily Show with Jon Stewart correspondent Brian Unger, on Dec. 26. [The News Virginian]
Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens, who stars in High School Musical 1 & 2, admitted that racy photos circulting the Internet are indeed her. "It is a personal matter and it is unfortunate that this has become public," her rep tells E! Online.
ESPN is facing steep increases in its TV rights fees for major sports, with NFL, MLB, NBA and NASCAR contracts kicking in Oct. 2009 (to boost expenses an additional $1.02 billion per year) — just as ESPN’s contracts with Comcast and Time Warner Cable will limit subscriber fee increases to an average 7%, according to an analysis by UBS Securities analyst Michael Morris. The impact will squeeze profits at Disney, reports Bloomberg.
The Fight Network named George Burger CEO and announced expansion plans.
Fine Living premieres The Shopping Detective, a half-hour weekly series that offers viewers a virtual personal shopper, on Sept. 29.
MTV‘s Video Music Awards will feature a comeback performance from Britney Spears, Sunday at 9pm ET. And MTV will premiere A Shot at Love With Tila Tequila on Oct. 9 at 10pm ET. Billed as MTV’s first bisexual reality dating show, the 10-episode series starring the MySpace phenom, who will choose from male and female suitors, was originally slated for VH1.
Nickelodeon‘s iCarly (which premieres tomorrow at 8pm) incorporates an actual website, icarly.com, that will allow viewers to contribute to the show-within-a-show. Today’s New York Times profiles the series and its star, Drake & Josh‘s Miranda Cosgrove.
Ovation TV is pre-empting its schedule Monday to air a 20-hour tribute to Luciano Pavarotti starting at 8am with a 1995 Italian doc, Pavarotti: The Best is Yet to Come. Other programming highlights include the famed tenor in Aida. Its schedule is here.
ResearchChannel, a non-profit consortium of leading research institutions including Yale, the University of Chicago and the National Science Foundation, tapped TVN for VOD services and distribution.
Showtime renewed its David Duchovny-starring series Californication for a second season, planned for summer ’08.
TLC debuts Fashionably Late with Stacy London on Nov. 23. The hour-long weekly talk show hosted by the What Not to Wear co-host was greenlit for six episodes.
TNT‘s The Closer was #1 on cable for the week ending Sept. 2, with 7.78 million viewers.
VH1‘s The Pick-Up Artist averaged 1.8 million total viewers and a 1.3 rating in viewers 18-49, a series best.
Comcast confirmed its bandwidth caps to the Washington Post, which came late to a story that’s been widely circulating on blogs. "It’s our responsibility to make sure everyone has the best service possible, so we have to address abusive activities so they won’t damage the experience for other customers, " Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said. "To trigger a disconnection warning, customers would be downloading the equivalent of 1,000 songs or four full-length movies every day." Douglas declined to reveal specific bandwidth limits.
• IN OTHER NEWS
News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch earned less than the company’s CEO Peter Chernin last year, according to the company’s filing that reported Murdoch received about $32.1 million in compensation for the year ending June 30 vs Chernin’s $34 million. [WSJ.com]
Microsoft now supports four CableCARD tuners (up from 2) in Windows Vista. [Gearlog]
Showtime VP and executive producer of digital media Chris Lucas is running his 12th New York City Marathon in November to raise money for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. More info here.
MTV co-founder Tom Freston and his wife Kathy established a $1 million scholarship at Freston’s alma mater, Emerson College, to promote diversity. [Boston Globe] • Don’t miss this morning’s top headlines … »