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News, May 19: Media Desperate To Get in on Jackson Case, "Idol" Doubles Voting Time for Finale, Martha Stewart Show Put on Hiatus, More…

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May 19, 2004 | 11:40am EDT

Top Story: Media Lawyers Petition for Jackson Papers

Lawyers for news organizations, including The Associated Press, are desperate to get their hands on the grand jury's indictment against Michael Jackson, petitioning the judge to release the unsealed transcripts of 13 days of testimony, AP reports. At the grand jury hearing April 30, Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville disclosed that Jackson had been indicted on child molestation charges as well as a conspiracy count involving allegations of child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion but ordered only edited portions of the indictment to be released. Citing decades of court precedent, attorney Theodore Boutrous Jr. argued that indictments can be sealed only under extraordinary circumstances, which he claims has not been part of the Jackson case. "This case does not raise any of the issues that have traditionally been invoked to seal or partially seal indictments, such as the need to protect the lives of witnesses, to ensure the defendant or other potential targets did not flee, or the need to protect innocent persons from injury," said Boutrous' motion, filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, AP reports. Melville said he sealed the material to protect the identify of the minor child who is accusing Jackson as well as insulate prospective jurors from publicity that might prejudice them.

Idol Goes Double-Time for Finale

Fox TV and American Idol producers have announced they will give callers four hours instead of the usual two to vote for their choices in the show's finale next week, Reuters reports. Idol has come under fire recently regarding their voting process after two of the more talented performers were voted off due to jammed phone lines. The producers have defended the system, saying that "power dialers" who set up repeat calls for one contestant "can be identified and discounted," but Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported the technology isn't sophisticated enough to handle the overtaxed phone lines. "This is not a quiz show scandal," Broadcasting & Cable editor in chief Max Robins told Reuters. "They're getting the votes the best they can given the system they've got, but technology is thwarting democracy on American Idol."

Martha Stewart's TV Show Put on Hiatus

Martha Stewart's home decorating and cooking show, which wraps up its 11th season this fall, has been put on hiatus because the homemaking maven is awaiting sentencing after being convicted in March for lying to investigators about a personal stock sale. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Estroff told Reuters nearly 40 jobs will be eliminated in the TV division, leaving 35 positions. "I am deeply sorry that it has become necessary for the show to go on hiatus until my personal legal situation is resolved," Stewart said in a statement. "I hope to resume our close collaboration just as soon as I am able to do so." Stewart faces possible jail time when sentenced on June 17.

Frasier Tops Nielsens

NBC's Frasier series finale top the Nielsens with a whopping 25.2 million this week, but it wasn't quite enough to give the network the No. 1 spot. CBS won in total viewership with 11.8 million viewers, narrowly beating NBC, which took in 11.2 million. Fox came in third with 9.2 million, followed by ABC with 8.3 million, the WB with 4.1 million and UPN with 3.3 million. For the week of May 10-16, the top 10 shows included: Frasier finale, NBC; ER, NBC; American Idol (Tuesday), Fox; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS; American Idol (Wednesday), Fox; CSI: Miami, CBS; Survivor All-Stars, CBS; Frasier clip show special, NBC; Without a Trace, CBS; Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS.

The Office Doesn't Qualify for Emmys

Although winning Golden Globes for lead actor and comedy series, BBC America's hit series The Office will not be getting an Emmy nomination. Variety reports the British laffer felt short of the six episodes requirement for consideration, with only five segments available for submission. There's always next year.

Sarah Jessica Parker Reveals Secrets of Marital Bliss

Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker told Charlie Rose in an interview to air Wednesday night on CBS' 60 Minutes II that the key to her long-lasting marriage to Matthew Broderick is servitude. "I take care of him," Parker said in excerpts released in advance. "I pack for him, I shop for him, I get his groceries. He's taken care of. That's who Matthew is--people take care of him. It's practically involuntary." And if there were one thing Parker could change about Broderick, it would be … his gait. "He walks too slowly. I walk really quickly. He never hails the cab--never. I've been doing it forever, so I guess he just thinks, 'Well, she does it so well.'" Parker and Broderick were married in 1997 and have an 18-month-old son.

Elfman Eyed for CBS Comedy

Sources tell Reuters that one of the new series CBS is set to unveil to advertisers Wednesday in New York is a comedy starring Jenna Elfman. The network is reportedly finalizing a deal with Jenna Elfman to develop a midseason comedy to be co-written by Two and a Half Men showrunner and executive producer Chuck Lorre. It would reunite Elfman and Lorre, who worked together on the 1997-2002 ABC sitcom Dharma & Greg. Elfman also did a two-episode guest stint on Men in February. According to Reuters, Lorre would co-write the comedy's pilot and help supervise the pilot production, but sources stressed he has no intention of giving up his current duties as showrunner on the freshman hit Men.

Drew Carey Gets Improv Comedy on WB

Drew Carey and his pals, meanwhile, are flying the ABC coop and heading over to the youth-oriented WB network with a new improvisational comedy show. Reuters reports Drew Carey's Green Screen Show is one of six new shows the WB plans to introduce this fall as part of the primetime slate. Green Screen will co-star several of Carey's Whose Line Is It Anyway? buddies, including Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie, Chip Esten, Brad Sherwood, Greg Proops, and Jeff Davis, along with

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