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TV Notes: 12/16/03

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Oprah extends her own invitation to Letterman

The "Super Bowl of Love" will go on after all: Oprah Winfrey has invited David Letterman to be a guest on her show.

Letterman had been begging Winfrey to appear on the CBS "Late Show," which she said she wouldn't do again because she felt uncomfortable during her previous two appearances.

Now, in an apparent attempt to resolve their public feud, Winfrey has asked him to appear on her syndicated daytime program.

"What we're hearing now is that Oprah no longer hates me," Letterman said on the "Late Show" Friday. "And what we're hearing now -- and while I'm gratified on the one hand, I'm a little concerned about this -- we're hearing that Oprah is actually inviting me to appear on her show."

A spokeswoman for Winfrey's show confirmed Friday that Winfrey had extended an invitation to Letterman but could provide no further details.

Letterman joked that he'd "break down and sob like a little girl" once he got to her Chicago studio, which his bandleader, Paul Shaffer, said would be appropriate behavior.

"You'll see the big advertisements for the 'Late Show Super Bowl of Love.' And Dr. Phil will come out first and straighten me out, because the problem is me," Letterman said, referring to Winfrey's protege, Dr. Phil McGraw. "And then, when he feels it's safe, Oprah will come out. ...

"And then the love will explode. And at the end of the show, Oprah and I will go downstage, the audience will have flowers for us. Oprah and I will embrace. Oprah and I will kiss."

Winfrey already has sent Letterman a tub of children's books to celebrate the recent birth of his first baby.

(Associated Press)

Sandra wins 'Survivor'

In a "Survivor" contest packed with villains and indelible characters, Sandra Diaz-Twine, a mother of two from the Northwest, had the staying power to win the television game.

Diaz-Twine beat Lillian Morris, the tearful Scoutmaster from the Cincinnati area, in the final vote revealed during CBS's three-hour finale of "Survivor: Pearl Islands" on Sunday.

An office worker for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Diaz-Twine won $1 million and a new sport utility vehicle.

"I'm in shock! I'm in shock!" Diaz-Twine said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I didn't think I was going to win, so I didn't make any plans for the money."

She didn't have too much trouble thinking of a few ideas, however: new cars for her mother and grandmother, a cruise vacation and "something for my husband."

The CBS game has proven the most popular long-running reality show on TV, and this fall's edition did particularly well. With more than 22 million viewers the week before last, it was the week's most watched prime-time program, according to Nielsen Media Research.

(David Bauder, Associated Press)

'Will' producers sue NBC

The executive producers of "Will & Grace" have sued NBC and its production studio, alleging the network conspired to keep the sitcom's price down to reduce the producers' share of the profits.

In the complaint filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, David Kohan and Jason Mutchnick ask for damages, saying the network and NBC Studios breached contracts and acted in bad faith.

The men, who created the show and wrote many of its episodes, accuse the two companies of failing to shop the show to the highest bidder, colluding instead to keep profits within the NBC family. General Electric owns both companies.

NBC entertainment spokeswoman Rebecca Marks had no comment pending a review of the lawsuit.

Kohan and Mutchnick said the lawsuit stems from the industrywide trend of media conglomerates buying up independent production studios.

"It used to be that production companies had an economic interest to obtain fair market value for their programs," the lawsuit states. "This is no longer true in the increasingly common case of negotiations between closely related or commonly owned parties."

"Will & Grace," about a New York City interior designer and her best friend, a gay lawyer, has won 12 Emmys since its creation in 1998.

Despite the show's success, the network pressured NBC Studios last year not to increase the fee for its licensing rights, according to the lawsuit.


Isaak's final season

Chris Isaak is going back to the simple life of just being a rock star.

The upcoming third season of "The Chris Isaak Show" will be its last, Showtime announced last week. The first of 13 new episodes premieres on the pay cable channel on Jan. 8.

"Chris is a fantastic talent, and we wish we could convince him to keep doing the series, but we understand his desire to focus more on his music and other things in his life," said Robert Greenblatt, Showtime's entertainment president.


'The Shield' back in March

FX's cop drama "The Shield" has completed eight weeks of production on its third season and will return with new episodes in March. In the past, FX has ordered 13 episodes, but for the upcoming season, FX bought 15 episodes of the cable hit.

Likewise, FX upped the order for season two of "Nip/Tuck" from 13 to 16 episodes. It's tentatively slated to return with new episodes in June.

(Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor)

'Carnivale' renewed

As expected, HBO has renewed freshman drama "Carnivale." New episodes are expected to premiere in late 2004.


WQED goes 'Live from Studio A'

The latest installment of WQED's semi-regular local music show "Live from Studio A" airs at 8 p.m. Thursday. "Holiday Jam 2003" will feature local musicians, including Kenny Blake, Shari Richards, Etta Cox, Jill West, Catch 22, Carol Lee Espy, Pete Hewlett and Scott Anderson.


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