Ken Burns opened the tap and poured some big ratings for the first night of his PBS documentary "Prohibition."
The first episode Sunday night averaged 3.9-million viewers, according to Nielsen.
PBS estimated that at least 7.6-million viewers saw at least six minutes of the first installment of the three-part, 5½-hour program.
Those are giant figures by PBS' usual standards, reflecting the power of Burns to draw a large audience. But they are small by commercial broadcast yardsticks and also lower than for some of the filmmaker's past multi-part projects. Burns' "Baseball" in 1994 reached a cumulative audience of 28 million, and nearly 14-million viewers tuned in to the first episode of his landmark "The Civil War" in 1990.
Michael Jackson, the Cirque way
As the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson's former physician Conrad Murray continues, the late performer's estate and Epic Records are moving forward with Jackson's second posthumous album, "Immortal."
The album, which is slated to hit stores Nov. 21, is a soundtrack to the new Cirque du Soleil show of the same name. It will feature reworked versions of some of Jackson's classic hits, mash-ups and never-before-released outtakes, à la the Beatles' Cirque album "Love."
The Cirque production "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" opened in Montreal on Sunday. The show combines Jackson's choreography, music and videos with the acrobatic troupe's signature big-budget spectacle. It will travel to 27 cities across North America, reaching Los Angeles' Staples Center and Anaheim's Honda Center in January.
—Gerrick D. Kennedy
'Five' doing fine in Beck's old slot
The Fox News Channel talk show given a summer tryout in Glenn Beck's old time slot will be sticking around.
Fox said Monday that it has picked up "The Five," a political talk show that rotates five cohosts each day from a panel that includes Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Eric Bolling, Juan Williams, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Greg Gutfeld and Andrea Tantaros.
Beck left in June to start an online venture. Although "The Five" isn't attracting as many viewers as he did, Fox said it is more profitable because advertisers that had boycotted the controversial Beck have returned.
Foreign-language Oscar race is off
The Academy Awards may be five months off, but the race for foreign language film is well underway. Monday marked the deadline for countries to submit a film to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for the 2012 Oscars.
More than 40 films already had been entered before Monday, and more were expected to squeak in at the last minute in a contest that is already generating some controversies.
The academy committee that whittles down the selections will begin reviewing the submissions this week, with plans to announce those that meet the eligibility requirements next week. Then a three-month screening period begins.
—Nicole Sperling and Emily Rome