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October 2, 2010 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Stephen J. Cannell, the prolific television writer and producer who co-created "The Rockford Files" and "The A-Team" and later became a bestselling novelist, has died. He was 69. Cannell died Thursday evening of complications associated with melanoma at his home in Pasadena, his family said. In a career that began in the late 1960s when he sold his first TV script and took off as he soon became the hottest young writer on the Universal lot, Cannell created or co-created more than 40 TV shows, including "Baa Baa Black Sheep," "Baretta," "The Greatest American Hero" and "21 Jump Street.
August 25, 2010 | Times staff and wire reports
Jack Horkheimer, an amateur astronomer who created and hosted the long-running weekly public television segment "Star Gazer," died Friday in Miami. He was 72. Horkheimer had battled respiratory problems for many years, according to Tony Lima, a spokesman for the Miami Science Museum and Space Transit Planetarium. Horkheimer directed the planetarium for 35 years until his retirement three years ago. A flamboyant showman, Horkheimer was not taken seriously by professional astronomers, but his exuberant promotion of naked-eye astronomy — stargazing without a telescope — made him a celebrity among amateurs and gave his five-minute weekly television segments a campy appeal.
August 6, 2010 | By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
Lorene Yarnell, a dancer who became half of the Shields and Yarnell comedy mime team that came to fame in the 1970s and briefly starred in their own TV variety series, has died. She was 66. Yarnell died of a brain aneurysm July 29 while watching television with her husband, Bjorn Jansson, at their home in Sandefjord, Norway, said Robert Shields, her former husband and show business partner. "I'm devastated by her death," Shields told The Times on Thursday. "Lorene was an incredibly gifted and magical person."
April 7, 2010 | By city news service
ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" outdrew both editions of Fox Broadcasting's "American Idol" to become last week's most-watched prime-time television program, marking the first time any regular series -- outside of post-Super Bowl shows -- has bested the ratings giant in nearly five years. "Dancing With the Stars' " two-hour competition edition on March 29 averaged 22.97 million viewers, a series high outside of premieres and finales, according to live-plus-same-day figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co. The last time both weekly "Idol" episodes were beaten by regular series, outside of post-Super Bowl shows, was the week of May 16-22, 2005, when the series finale of the CBS comedy "Everybody Loves Raymond," the CBS drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and the first-season finale of ABC's "Desperate Housewives" did it. CBS had five of the week's six most-watched scripted programs to be the most-watched network for the fourth consecutive week and 21st time in the television season's 28 weeks, averaging 10.12 million viewers.
March 31, 2010 | Times Wire Reports
Competition programming reigned last week in prime time, from basketball to singing and dancing, plus other assorted reality fare. The NCAA men's tournament rewarded CBS with bursts of March Madness in the form of robust Nielsen ratings. Those championship games, along with such shows as "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race," helped CBS win the week overall, the Nielsen Co. said Tuesday. Also giving CBS a boost was its new reality hit, "Undercover Boss," which ranked fourth for the week with 16.7 million viewers.
March 25, 2010 | By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul
Reporting from Bogota, Colombia, and Caracas, Venezuela -- A Venezuelan judge on Wednesday ordered a former state governor and critic of President Hugo Chavez to remain in custody without bail while facing charges of conspiracy, incitement and spreading false information. The incorrect information, government prosecutors said, was an assertion by former Zulia state Gov. Oswaldo Alvarez Paz in a March 8 television program that Venezuela has become a drug-trafficking hub. "Venezuela has converted into a center of operations that facilitates the business of drug trafficking," Alvarez Paz said without directly accusing Chavez of being involved in illicit activity.
March 24, 2010 | By city news service
CBS' coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, combined with the customary strength of its regular programming, made it the most-watched network for the 19th time in the prime-time television season's 26 weeks. Although Fox Broadcasting got a 1-2 finish from the week's two "American Idol" broadcasts, CBS had each of the next eight most-watched shows and averaged 10.82 million viewers for its prime-time programming between March 15 and Sunday. CBS was the most-watched network on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, when its prime-time programming consisted entirely of the NCAA men's basketball tournament coverage, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co. The week's most-watched cable program was Sunday's premiere of the Discovery Channel nature documentary series "Life," which averaged 6.14 million viewers.
March 17, 2010 | By city news service
CBS' season-long dominance in scripted programming returned the network to the top of the prime-time ratings last week after a four-week interrup- tion caused by the Winter Olympics and Academy Awards. CBS had each of the eight most-watched scripted programs and averaged 11.27 million viewers for its prime-time programming between March 8 and Sunday -- its 18th weekly victory in the television season's 25 weeks, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co. CBS' most-watched program was "NCIS," third overall, averaging 19.58 million viewers, behind the Tuesday and Wednesday "American Idol" episodes.
March 3, 2010 | By city news service
Viewership for the second and final week of NBC's prime-time Winter Olympics coverage was down 14% from the first, but nearly double that of runner-up Fox Broadcasting, despite finishing behind "American Idol" two of the three times it aired last week. NBC averaged 21.32 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Feb. 22 and Sunday, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co. Friday night's Olympics coverage was the week's most-watched program, averaging 24.52 million viewers, more than double the 11 million combined viewership of ABC, CBS and Fox. Sunday's closing ceremony averaged 21.4 million viewers -- 45% more than for the 2006 closing ceremony.
February 24, 2010 | By city news service
The first full week of Winter Olympics coverage gave NBC its most-watched week since the 2008 Summer Olympics and its widest margin of victory in the prime-time ratings race during the official television season since the 2002 Winter Olympics. With the Winter Olympics accounting for seven of the week's 10 most-watched programs, NBC averaged 24.75 million viewers for its prime-time programming between Feb. 15 and Sunday. Fox Broadcasting was second, averaging 8.68 million viewers, according to figures released Tuesday by the Nielsen Co. NBC averaged 26 million viewers for the first 10 nights of Vancouver, Canada, Olympics coverage through Sunday, 27% more than the 20.4 million average for the 2006 Winter Games, which were held in Turin, Italy.
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