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In the Know / A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

'Making the Band' Makes a Return

April 09, 2001

Make way for another round of "Making the Band." ABC's unscripted series about a manufactured boy band, which drew modest overall ratings last year (averaging 8.3 million people per episode) while attracting teens and young viewers, returns Friday with a one-hour premiere at 8 p.m. Produced by Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray ("The Real World," "Road Rules"), this half-hour entry followed the formation of a new musical group called O-Town, whose first single, "Liquid Dreams," debuted at No. 1 on the pop charts. The second season will track the development of O-Town's career, from the recording of its first album to the making of a music video and the launch of a concert tour. Some of that terrain was also covered by "Popstars," the WB network series about an all-girl group that completed its first season last week. On April 20, "Making the Band" moves to its regular 8:30 p.m. Friday slot--the same half-hour that "Popstars" occupied--with a repeat of the previous week's episode running at 8 p.m. For its part, ABC is hoping "Band" members Ashley Parker Angel, Erik-Michael Estrada, Dan Miller, Trevor Penick and Jacob Underwood will climb the Nielsen charts, with or without a bullet.

The Movie Business' Easter Egg Hunt

Easter weekend is traditionally a time for religious observances, cute little bunnies, Easter egg hunts and family get-togethers, but if the box office is any judge, it is also a time when Americans increasingly take in a movie or two. While it lacks the economic punch of holidays like Memorial Day and Christmas, Easter has proven to be a good, if not great, time for studios to release movies that may turn into blockbusters. In 1998, for example, the ethereal romance "City of Angels," starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan, debuted over Easter and grossed $15.4 million. The following year, it was "The Matrix," which debuted at No. 1 with $27.8 million. And last year, the World War II submarine thriller "U-571" opened over Easter, grossing $19.5 million. So, while it's a little early for summer, there should be some stiff competition among movies opening this week heading into Easter. Slugging it out for the youth crowd are two PG-13 comedies opening Wednesday--"Josie and the Pussycats," a satire about a girl rock band from Universal Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; Columbia Pictures' "Joe Dirt," starring David Spade as a janitor with a mullet hairdo, acid-washed jeans and a dream of finding the parents he lost--or who lost him; and the more adult-oriented comedy "Kingdom Come." Opening Friday there's "Bridget Jones's Diary," a romance about a year in the life of a British woman who works in the publishing world. And, for the more adventurous, the highly regarded, edgy film from Mexico, "Amores Perros," also opens Friday in Los Angeles and 50 theaters nationwide. "I think the success of Easter weekend is really dictated not by the holiday but by the films in the marketplace," said Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box office tracking firm Exhibitor Relations Co. "If there was a 'U-571' or 'The Matrix' hitting the marketplace this year, it would be clear who the winner would be, but there is so much out there right now that I think the audience will be fairly fragmented [in terms of box office]."

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