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Quick Takes: Telethon to be Jerry Lewis' last

May 17, 2011

Telethon to be Lewis' last

Jerry Lewis, who has hosted the annual Muscular Dystrophy Assn. telethon for 45 years, said Monday he would be retiring from that job after this year's show, which is undergoing a major overhaul.

Starting this September, the Labor Day telethon will shrink to six hours, with the 85-year-old entertainer joined by four co-hosts: Nigel Lythgoe of "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance," "Entertainment Tonight's" Nancy O'Dell and Jann Carl, and "The Biggest Loser's" Alison Sweeney.

MDA spokesman Jim Brown said the new format will help the telethon attract more A-list celebrities to appear and more stations to carry the programming.

—T.L. Stanley

Huckabee won't do Bible show

Mike Huckabee, we'll take "Animals of the Ark" for $10,000.

Word has leaked out that the former Arkansas governor — who recently announced he won't run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 — was in the running to host a Bible quiz show on GSN.

The project, which is still in development, would quiz contestants on biblical trivia. The cable network is eyeing the event as a two-week event that would culminate in some sort of championship round, according to sources familiar with the plans.

"Gov. Huckabee was asked to participate, but politely declined the offer," a Huckabee spokesman said Monday.

The former governor certainly has the requisite background: He's an ordained Southern Baptist minister who once worked as an aide to televangelist James Robison.

Huckabee has hosted a political commentary show on Fox News since 2008.

—Scott Collins

KIIS wins April radio ratings

Pop station KIIS-FM (102.7) again grabbed the top spot in Los Angeles-Orange County radio in April, and even widened its lead slightly, according to ratings released Monday by Arbitron.

KIIS increased its average share of the listening audience ages 6 and older, moving from 5.1% in March to 5.2% in April. And the station grew its average weekly audience from 3.898 million to 3.943 million, based on the survey of listeners between March 31 and April 27.

Rounding out the top five most-listened-to stations were, in order, talk KFI-AM (640), adult contemporary KOST-FM (103.5), oldies KRTH-FM (101.1) and hip-hop KPWR-FM (105.9).

In the key weekday hours of 6-10 a.m. — prime time for radio because of the number of people listening as they prepare for work and school — KFI reclaimed its traditional top spot, after being displaced for a month by the team of Kevin Ryder and Gene "Bean" Baxter on alternative rock KROQ-FM. KFI's combination of local host Bill Handel and then the first hour of Rush Limbaugh's syndicated program snagged 6.4% of the audience, while "Kevin & Bean" fell to second at 5.3%.

—Steve Carney

From 'Survivor' to 'Flipped'

"Survivor" villain Russell Hantz will try to outwit, outlast and outplay the real estate market in his Houston hometown.

Hantz, who couldn't beat Boston Rob on the just-concluded season of "Survivor: Redemption Island," will be back on TV later this year in an A&E series dubbed "Flipped" that will follow him and his family as they buy, renovate and resell homes.

A&E has ordered seven episodes. Hantz told "Survivor" host Jeff Probst on Sunday to hang on to his phone number for a possible return engagement.

—T.L. Stanley

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