Silent film star, almost exclusively with Universal, a beauty contest runner-up invited to Hollywood by studio boss Carl Laemmle (the winner, Gertrude Olmstead, also enjoyed success in film). After tw...
It may have taken the blood, if not lives, of two of the show's favorite characters to achieve, but "ER" managed to again win the top ratings spot last week, beating back ABC's cash-soaked "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."
With the popular characters portrayed by Noah Wyle and Kellie Martin on life support -- and viewers left betting who'll flatline (hint: Martin says she's leaving the show) -- "ER" pulled a 20.9 rating, good for the No. 1. (Each rating point equals a little more than 1 million TV homes.)
That's the good news for the NBC drama.
The bad news is that the network may have to mug and maim the entire cast, or at least have Regis Philbin wheeled into the emergency room, to continue to fend off ABC's greed-fueled beast.
"Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" continued to look a lot like the Ed Sullivan-era Beatles on the Billboard charts, in a word: dominating.
Proving once and for all that money is indeed more seductive and addictive than, say, black tar heroin, ABC's green-dream machine was firmly parked in three of the four top rating slots. The Feb. 8 edition clocked in with a 19.2 rating; last Sunday's, with a 17.8; and, last Thursday's, with a 17.7.
Overall, ABC won the week, followed by NBC, CBS, Fox, UPN and the WB.
If the threat of death kept "ER" at the top of the ratings hill, the real-life demise of Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz helped nudge CBS' "60 Minutes" into the Top 10 after the classic newsmag ran a previously aired segment on Schulz. A quick recycle of the life and art of the man who brought us Snoopy -- less than 24 hours after he died -- was enough to carry Mike Wallace & Co. to the sixth-highest rated show last week with a 14.9 rating.
NBC's happy-go-lucky "Friends" actually fared better than "60 Minutes" (maybe they were all wearing their Peanuts jammies during a sleepover), taking a 15.4 rating, which was enough to put it over both NBC's "Frasier" and ABC's smart legal drama "The Practice."
In other ratings:
Not Enough Pot to Make it Funny: Fox's "That '70s Show" remained mired in the 70s -- as in 71st place -- drawing a relatively ungroovy 6.0 rating. A second installment pulled the same. Bad vibes? Anything but. The mellow network suits have renewed this thing through (rough estimate) the 24th century.
Say A Little Prayer: CBS is undoubtedly hoping its much-touted "City of Angels" (No. 64) will get touched by an angel before the Grim Reaper pays a visit, as the medical drama tanked again with an anemic 6.4 rating.
Sex, Drugs & Video Tape: The Funniest, Sexiest, Naughtiest, Caught-on-Tape, Real Video Network, sometimes known as Fox, saw its stable of "Did you see that!?" programs hover at the lower end of the ratings spectrum, with "The World's Wildest Police Videos" (No. 77), "TV Guide Sitcom Scandal 3" (No. 78), "World's Sexiest Commercials" (No. 81) and even the groundbreaking (or maybe that's ground-opening) "Cops" (No. 82) charting no higher than a 5.7 rating.
Here's a complete rundown of the Top 10 for the TV week Feb. 7-13, according to stats from Nielsen Media Research:
1. "ER," NBC 2. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Tues.), ABC 3. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Sun.), ABC 4. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" (Thurs.), ABC 5. "Friends," NBC 6. "60 Minutes," CBS 7. "Frasier," NBC 8. "CBS Sunday Movie: Sally Hemings -- American Scandal," CBS 9. "ABC Monday Night Movie: Mary and Rhoda," ABC 10. "The Practice," ABC
David Letterman or no, CBS is determined to milk those "Late Show" reruns and famous guest host offers for all they're worth.
The network has announced that another week of Letterman reruns is in store for the "Late Night" time slot -- albeit with some special star-power favor. Starting tonight until Friday, famous people -- in the caliber of Jerry Seinfeld, Danny DeVito, Bruce Willis, Bill Cosby, and others -- will recount personal "Late Show" memories and Letterman-related special moments that would serve as openers to each show until the end of the week.
"Late Show" fans need not worry about the whereabouts of their favorite talk show host. The weirdly eulogistic nature of these "backstage" conversations has nothing to do with the availability of the convalescing Letterman. Dave's slated to come back to the late-night talk show as early as next Monday.
Tonight's show will feature Julia Roberts, Regis Philbin and a John Malkovich-voiced Top 10 countdown titled, "Top 10 Things That Sound Creepy When Said By John Malkovich."
CAREER PATH EXAMINED: Where do movie stars go after they're no longer really movie stars?
To TV, naturally.
And so Mary Stuart Masterson, the late-1980s-early-1990s-era star of oeuvres such as "Some Kind of Wonderful," and "Benny & Joon," is slated to make her TV series debut as the star of the CBS drama "The Further Adventures."
Set for a fall 2000 premiere, the drama follows a single mom (Masterson) as she struggles through economic hardships and such to provide for her two sons.
RECESSION HITS "TWENTY-ONE": The folks from the NBC show "Twenty-One" have decided that it's just a bit too easy to be rich nowadays.
The Hollywood Reporter says that the Maury Povich-hosted game-show revival is slashing the first-time prize-money pot from $100,000 to $25,000 beginning Wednesday. Under the new rules, the bounty will increase incrementally with each consecutive win: $50,000 for the second win, $100,000 for the third win and up to $1 million for contestants who win seven matches in a row.
It "has nothing to do with saving money," NBC Studios exec Ted Harbert says of the prize-cutting move in the trade paper. "We have done research, and people have been saying that it was too easy to win a lot of money."
No word on who precisely NBC polled for its research -- billionaires, top studio execs or corporate CEOs?
MOVE OVER, ROGER EBERT: Chris Gore, the brains behind Film Threat (www.filmthreat.com) and film reviewer for FX's "The X Show," will expand his special brand of uncensored movie commentaries on anew weekly, half-hour show called, "The New Movie Show with Chris Gore." It's set for a March debut on FX.
First of five films opposite Norman Kerry, "Merry-Go-Round", directed by Erich von Stroheim; became established in leading roles
First leading role, "Danger Ahead"
Was the runner-up in a beauty contest at age 16; attracted the attention of Universal Pictures head Carl Laemmle (the winner, Gertrude Olmstead, also enjoyed success as a leading lady in Hollywood) (date approximate)
Last film opposite Kerry, E.A. Dupont's "Love Me and the World Is Mine"
Last silent film, "The Last Performance"
Played the leading role in the "5% talkie", "Girl Overboard"
Contract with Universal not renewed
First all-talking film, "The Shannons of Broadway"
Silent film star, almost exclusively with Universal, a beauty contest runner-up invited to Hollywood by studio boss Carl Laemmle (the winner, Gertrude Olmstead, also enjoyed success in film). After two years in Hollywood Philbin played in her first important film, Erich von Stroheim's lavish "Merry-Go-Round" (1923), opposite Norman Kerry, with whom she would act in five films. Philbin's best-known role remains that of aspiring opera singer Christine Daae, tutored and beloved by the frightful "Phantom of the Opera" (1925), with Lon Chaney in the title role. She later gave a touching performance as the blind heroine who becomes enamored of another disfigured protagonist (Conrad Veidt) in Paul Leni's stunning adaptation of Victor Hugo's "The Man Who Laughs" (1928).
Although Philbin essayed the title role of "Stella Maris" (1926) in the remake of the 1918 Mary Pickford showcase, and worked with such important directors as William Beaudine, Frank Borzage, E.A. Dupont and D.W. Griffith, her career ran out of steam at the end of the silent era. Her standard ingenue role in her first all-talkie, "The Shannons of Broadway" (1929), was rather small, and after making a plodding low-budgeter, "After the Fog" (1930), she retired from the screen.