America Does Dallas
O'Reilly Scandal Is Great for Ratings...
...So Why Isn't Jon Stewart Talking?
Hey, Hey, It's the Cheetah Girls
is the granddaddy of over-the-top, family-based prime time soaps. Now the Ewing family drama, which ran from 1978 to 1991 on CBS, is enjoying a sudsy revival. The show's first two seasons are out on DVD, and CBS will air Dallas Reunion: Return to Southfork
on Nov. 7. Plus, a Dallas
feature film is in the works for early 2006. "It's the Dallas
story, retold and current," says show creator David Jacobs, who also launched the sex-in-the-suburbs saga Knots Landing. Unlike Charlie's Angels
and The Brady Bunch, the Dallas
movie will not be a parody of a classic show. And it's got buzz: A-listers Brad Pitt and Catherine Zeta-Jones are said to have starring roles.
Modern hit soaps Nip/Tuck
and Desperate Housewives
push boundaries, just like Dallas
did in its day, says Jacobs proudly. But he's struck by how fast some characters cut to the chase. "We never could have done that on Knots Landing
or Dallas," he says, referring to sex scenes. "We had sort of the same implications, but not that fast!"
As Bill O'Reilly and his accuser began settlement talks Friday, it was clear that the dispute hasn't been bad for business. The embattled Fox News Channel star has been enjoying sky-high ratings since Oct. 14, when producer Andrea Mackris filed a $60 million sexual harassment suit against the network and its star. But loyal O'Reilly viewers don't mind the mudslinging, and the scandal doesn't seem to have alienated his largely conservative audience. Since it broke, The O'Reilly Factor
is averaging 3.04 million viewers, up 27% from the third quarter. The high point came Oct. 18, when 3.35 million viewers tuned in, clearly drawing curious gawkers. Face it, Bill. Sex sells. Fox typically draws between 1.5 million and 2 million viewers in prime.
Did you see The Daily Show's outrageous bit about Bill O'Reilly? We didn't, either. That's because Jon Stewart didn't do one. He hasn't uttered so much as a single falafel joke since moralizing talk show host O'Reilly and Fox News were smacked with a titillating suit. Leno and Letterman made up for the loss, feasting on the explicit allegations about O'Reilly engaging in phone sex. They even made nearly identical jokes Monday night about him calling Martha Stewart in prison. But not a peep from Stewart, who can usually be counted on to skewer media figures with glee. The silence is deafening. Is it because Stewart and O'Reilly have become pals after appearing on each other's shows? Or do The Daily Show's frat-house writing sessions make O'Reilly's problems too hot to handle? A Comedy Central rep dismisses such speculation, saying that with the election so close, The Daily Show
is focusing on the campaign.
There is talk that the Disney Channel is spinning off a girl band from its mega-hit movie The Cheetah Girls. The film, about a diverse group of musical teens striving to make it big, starred Disney TV talent Raven, along with the girls from Sony Epic Records' 3LW. That's So Raven, now in its third season, is the highest-rated series on the network, known for strategically cross-marketing its talent. In August, Raven, 18, signed a one-year, high-six-figure development deal with ABC to star in a series next fall. Her debut studio album This is My Time
(Hollywood Records) came out Sept. 21. The Cheetah Girls
scored a record 6.5 million viewers for Disney and was the No. 1 basic cable telecast when it premiered in August 2003. It also spawned the platinum-selling The Cheetah Girls
soundtrack, the first ever from a Disney Channel original movie. No word yet if Raven is ready to answer the Cheetah call.