By ED BARK
This should be good. Sir Paul McCartney will be visiting Comedy Central's The Colbert Report on Wednesday, Jan. 28th, ostensibly to talk about his new CD, "Electric Arguments."
Comedy Central says it's McCartney's "only scheduled U.S. late night appearance," so there. Show time is 10:30 p.m. (central).
***Former Fox4 anchor/reporter Natasha Curry, who primarily worked for Good Day, is now a news reader for CNN's HLN. She earlier joined Seattle's KOMO-TV after leaving Fox4 in 2007. Curry has been at HLN (formerly Headline News) since December.
***Mark Cuban and his Dallas-based HDNet are hooking up with Ring of Honor Wrestling, whose grapplers were featured in the Mickey Rourke movie The Wrestler.
Ring of Honor purports to present "authentic professional wrestling," which tends to make it a very bloody "sport." Says Cuban in a press release: "ROH has developed a cult following thanks to its special brand of professional wrestling and we are pleased to present it for the first time to a mass television audience."
There's no air date yet for HDNet's weekly ROH series. Its stars include Necro Butcher, Nigel McGuiness and Austin Aries.
By ED BARK
CBS isn't done with Katie Couric just yet. On the contrary, she'll be getting a double dose of prime-time exposure on the next two Wednesdays in hopes that more viewers might then be swayed to give her CBS Evening News a look.
On Jan. 28th, a one-hour special edition of the Evening News will air at 7 p.m. (central). Executive producer Rick Kaplan says it's "just another platform to bring our distinct reporting and franchise news series to a wider audience." Couric will have to go against American Idol, though.
On Wednesday, Feb. 4th, CBS has the 8 p.m. (central) hour reserved for Katie Couric's All Access Grammy Special, during which she'll interview and play around with Justin Timberlake, Lil' Wayne, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. The Grammy Awards ceremony will air the following Sunday, Feb. 8th, on CBS.
Couric still trails the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and ABC's World News with Charles Gibson in the national Nielsens. The latest numbers showed Nightly News comfortably on top with 10.48 million viewers for the week of Jan. 12-16. World News had 8.97 million viewers and Evening News 7.45 million.
It looks a bit brighter for Couric among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. In that measurement, Nightly News had 3.50 million viewers, followed by World News (2.94 million) and Evening News (2.37 million).
Couric finishes a heady second in one measurement -- 18-34-year-olds. But only a small percentage of viewers in this age group have any interest in the traditional dinner hour newscasts. For the week of Jan. 12-16, Nightly News drew 776,000 viewers in the 18-to-34 age range, with Evening News second (554,000) and World News lagging (538,000).
*** Want to make whoopee with game show evergreen Bob Eubanks? He'll be the main attraction at the Grapevine Heritage Foundation's fifth annual "Jubilee Event" on Friday, Feb. 6th. Tickets are $75 per person, and you can get more information here.
Ross Bannister, director of Heritage Programs and Preservation, describes the event thusly in an email to unclebarky.com: "Jubilee is a super nice cocktail party with heavy hors d'oeuvres, martini bar, live music and so forth. Then, once everyone is all wound up, they go to the Palace Theatre for a live version of The Newlywed Game with the real Bob. He's a lot younger than you might think."
Eubanks is 71 and still nicely preserved. It helps to have a little upkeep done on the old upper case.
By ED BARK
Conan O'Brien will spend close to three-and-half months prepping for his new hosting duties on The Tonight Show, NBC announced Thursday.
O'Brien will leave the network's Late Night on Feb. 20th, with new host Jimmy Fallon stepping in on March 2nd. As previously announced, O'Brien is set to succeed Jay Leno on June 1st. Leno then will move to prime-time next fall with a Monday-Friday show at 9 p.m. (central).
Fallon is still video-blogging in preparation for succeeding O'Brien, who has been hosting Late Night since Sept. 13, 1993. David Letterman originated NBC's Late Night franchise on Feb. 2, 1982. Letterman jumped to CBS in 1993 after NBC chose Leno instead of him to succeed the late Johnny Carson as Tonight Show host.
***The Office, 30 Rock and The Biggest Loser all have been renewed for next season, NBC says.
***The Peacock also has announced air dates for several new spring series, including Amy Poehler's post-Saturday Night Live sitcom.
Poehler will play a mid-level, Pawnee, Indiana government bureaucrat named Leslie Knope in a series that otherwise has no name yet. It's scheduled to premiere on Thursday, April 9th at 7:30 p.m. (central) in the slot now occupied by Kath & Kim. Rashida Jones (The Office) co-stars as a nurse.
Southland, a new police drama from ER maestro John Wells, also will premiere on April 9th -- in ER's 9 p.m. slot. Its stars include former O.C. heartthrob Benjamin McKenzie as a rookie cop under the wing of a prototypically hard-driving, no-nonsense taskmaster played by Michael Kuditz (A River Runs Through It). Three extra episodes of ER have been ordered, moving its series finale back to April 2nd.
The Chopping Block, a daintily titled new cooking competition, will move to NBC's front burner on Wednesday, March 11th at 7 p.m. Demanding chef/restaurateur Marco Pierre White rides herd, with the winning team getting $250 grand and probably heart burn.
NBC's previously announced Kings, initially set to premiere on Thursday, March 19th, instead will launch on Sunday, March 15th at 7 p.m. Ian McShane of Deadwood fame stars in what the Peacock describes as "an epic story of greed and power, war and romance, forbidden loves and secret alliances."
***Rival networks waiting for Fox's American Idol to draw its last breath might want to keep playing taps for themselves instead.
National Nielsens for Season 8's Tuesday-Wednesday launch were down a bit from the previous year's, but not enough to matter all that much.
Tuesday's two-hour dose had 30.4 million viewers, a drop from 33.4 million a year ago. But Wednesday's second two-hour Idol held serve with 30.3 million viewers, just a wee drop from the 30.5 million who watched Night 2's auditions from Dallas last January.
By ED BARK
TNT, the "We Know Drama" network, continues to invest heavily in serious-minded series.
Its latest pair, Time Heals and The Line, respectively star Jada Pinkett Smith and Dylan McDermott. Both have 10-episode orders and will premiere later this year.
Pinkett Smith, who's married to mega-film star Will Smith, plays a recently widowed nursing director named Christina Hawthorne. TNT says she'll continuously battle "hospital administrators, heartless doctors, apathetic colleagues and a system that sometimes forgets it's there to serve the sick." So there.
McDermott (The Practice, Big Shots) stars as "deeply wounded" covert cop Carter Shaw, who's "lost his wife and much of his former life as he struggles to bring down bad guys through complex undercover assignments."
Another incoming TNT drama, Trust Me, is set to premiere on Jan. 26th, with Eric McCormack (Will & Grace and Tom Cavanaugh (Ed) playing disparate creative partners in a Chicago ad agency. TNT's most popular drama series, The Closer, also will return on that date with the first of five new episodes.