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Olympic viewership remains steady; 'Idol' boys drop

Day 14 of the NBC’s Olympic coverage Wednesday remained steady in viewers (20.1 million) versus the 2010 Vancouver Games (20.3 mil), but 18-49 ratings dropped 9% for the night to 5.0, according to Nielsen. Still, those numbers were wildly better than what the competish averaged, with ABC flat-out waiving the white flag by airing mostly repeats.

Let’s start with NBC and where it stands as it prepares to wrap up its Olympic coverage. Overall, Sochi is down from Vancouver by 13% in 18-49 (5.9 vs. 6.8) and 10% in viewers (22.5 vs. 24.9 million), as well as down 6% from Torino in 18-49 (5.9 vs. 6.3).

Fox — aka American Idol and the Top 10 boys — finished second in the key demo with a 2.6 rating, down 4% from Tuesday’s Top 10 girls performance. That’s up, however, in viewers (9.9 million vs. 9.7 million).

CBS finished third in the demo with a 1.8 after airing a repeat of Hawaii Five-0, and originals of Criminal Minds (2.4) and CSI (2.0). ABC came in fourth with a mere .8, after airing repeats of The Middle, Suburgatory, Modern Family and Nashville. That was the season finale of Super Fun Night, but it only notched a .9 rating, down 31% from last week to a series low. It was kinda fun while it lasted, gals.

'Judge Judy' continues to rule in ratings

It’s still a standing-room only courtroom for the syndicated Judge Judy.

The long-running daytime strip featuring the gavel-swinging Judy Sheindlin just posted her highest-rated week in 11 years. According to Nielsen data for the week ending Feb. 9, Judge Judy averaged 11.91 million daily viewers — her best audience since the week ending Feb. 17 in 2003. She’s also up 13% in viewers versus last year (11.91 versus 10.53 million).

Judge Judy first premiered in 1996.

When she’s not presiding over her arbitration-based court show, Sheindlin is also helping to find new shows for CBS Prods. The studio is running with an idea she recently pitched called Hot Bench, which focuses on a three-judge courtroom. It’s already been sold in 75% of the country.

'Ray Donovan' casts star from 'The Wire'

Showtime’s drama Ray Donovan has picked up a popular actor from The Wire to recur in season 2.

Wendell Pierce, who played Det. Moreland on HBO drama, will guest star as Mr. Keith, which the net describes as a “down on his luck parole officer who gets a payoff from Ray (Liev Schreiber). Most recently, Pierce starred on NBC’s The Michael J. Fox Show, which is not expected to earn a second season pickup.

Production on the second season of Ray Donovan, which also stars Jon Voight, is currently underway in Los Angeles to prepare for a summer premiere. Other actors joining the series this season are Hank Azaria, Sherilyn Fenn and Vinessa Shaw.

Fallon day 2 beats combined ratings of Letterman, Kimmel

Jimmy Fallon has snagged The Tonight Show’s best overnight ratings on a Tuesday in seven years. Day 2 of Fallon’s debut week — which featured a pretty nifty rendition of R. Kelly’s “Ignition”– averaged a 5.3 rating in homes, according to Nielsen’s sweep of 56 local markets.

That’s Tonight’s biggest Tuesday since Feb. 13, 2007, when it also scored a 5.3.

The midnight start didn’t seem to hurt Fallon either; he topped the combined scores of Late Show with David Letterman (2.2) and Jimmy Kimmel Live (1.9) by 29% (5.3 vs. a combined 4.1). Here’s the most interesting stat, provided by NBC (of course): Fallon’s second outing retained 75% of the show’s premiere rating in overnights (5.3 vs. 7.1), up from a 70% retention rate for night two of Conan O’Brien when he headlined the show on June 1, 2009 (5.0 on June 2 vs. 7.1 on June 1, 2009). Yep, they will go there.

Because of NBC’s Olympics coverage, Fallon will air at midnight until Friday, when he’ll move to the traditional 11:35 p.m. start.

One of last night’s guests was Harry Styles (played by Kristen Wiig).

CBS developing another 'CSI' spinoff

Think CBS is done dreaming up CSI spinoffs? Think again.

The net is looking to extend the brand by airing a backdoor pilot that was inspired by Producer Mary Aiken, who previously worked as a cyber-psychologist. Set to bow as a CSI episode in the spring, the action will revolve around a special agent named Avery Ryan and will be set in Quantico, VA. Here’s the logline: “Technology, as we know it, has amplified human behavior to the point where faceless criminals are committing crimes at global proportions with a touch of a button.”

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Showtime orders more 'Shameless' and 'House of Lies'

SHAMELESS.jpg

Look for another season of Shameless and House of Lies on Showtime. The pay network announced today that it has ordered 12 more episodes of Shameless, currently in its fourth year, and Lies, which is on its third.

Production for both Sunday night series will begin in Los Angeles later this year. Showtime already announced that it renewed Episodes that stars Matt LeBlanc for a fourth season.

Shameless, at 5.5 million viewers, is enjoying its highest-rated season yet. The William H. Macy starrer is up 8% versus last year. Lies, meanwhile, is averaging 3 million viewers per week across multiple platforms. It features Don Cheadle.

'Green Acres' actress Mary Grace Canfield dies

Mary Grace Canfield, a veteran character actress who played handywoman Ralph Monroe on the television show Green Acres, has died. She was 89.

Her daughter, Phoebe Alexiades, says Canfield died of lung cancer on Saturday at a hospice in the California coastal town of Santa Barbara. READ FULL STORY

Bob Costas eyes his return, NBC Olympics EP defends Bode Miller interview

After six nights away from his Fortress of Solitude desk, Bob Costas will return to NBC’s primetime Olympics coverage Monday night. Speaking on a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Costas categorized his pinkeye status: “On the injury list of 1 to 10, this is now at about a 2.” The light sensitivity and blurriness has subsided, but, “as people will see tonight, there’s still some redness there,” he said. “It won’t look as bad as it did the last night I was on the air. And probably it will look better 10 days from now, but the Olympics will be over, so you just go with it.” READ FULL STORY

Joel McHale to headline 100th White House Correspondents' Dinner

The Soup goes to Washington!

Community star Joel McHale — who also hosts E!’s weekly pop culture recap show — will headline the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, WHCA President Steven Thomma announced today.

“We’re thrilled that Joel will headline the dinner when we celebrate our centennial,” said Thomma on Twitter. “He’s sharp, funny, and just the type of comic who can navigate the unique challenge of our dinner, making fun of Democrats, Republicans and especially the news media. Washington can use a little good-natured ribbing.”

Last year, Conan O’Brien hosted the annual event, which skews both politicians and the media. (The most memorable Correspondents’ performance, however, is probably still Stephen Colbert’s blistering 2006 speech.) This year, the event — broadcast on CSPAN — will take place May 3.

In a likely preview of jokes to come, McHale tweeted, “This is very cool & the website to apply to host it worked perfectly.”

'Believe': Alfonso Cuaron, J.J. Abrams lead us through pilot's first scene -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Believe — the NBC drama created by Oscar-nominated Gravity director Alfonso Cuarón (and exec produced with J.J. Abrams) — doesn’t premiere until March 10, but we’ve got your first look at how they shot the tone-setting opening sequence.

In it, the mysterious “sinister forces” hunting 10-year-old Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) — a girl with the powers of levitation and telekinesis and the abilities to control nature and see the future — crash her family’s car. “It, to me, was one of those great opening scenes that, when Alfonso described it, I had that sense of, ‘Wait a minute, I’m not changing the channel until I know exactly what’s going on,’” Abrams says in the video below.

So what is going on in the Cuarón-directed pilot? Bo’s protector, Milton Winter (Delroy Lindo), will be forced to enlist the help of Tate (Jake McLaughlin), a wrongfully imprisoned death row inmate, to protect Bo — and the two go on the run. READ FULL STORY

'Scrubs' Broadway musical: Everything you want to know, and why there won't be a movie -- EXCLUSIVE

First, NBC canceled Scrubs after seven seasons, then ABC picked it up before scrapping it again after season 9. By the time the ax finally fell on the hospital sitcom in 2010, creator Bill Lawrence had to agree that the show had come to a fair end. “We filmed so many episodes that I feel like it had played its full course,” says Lawrence, who tells EW that he currently has no plans to pursue a movie continuation of the series, despite the wishes of some fans. “You could argue Veronica Mars got cut short in its lifespan, but for us, I never really saw any life moving past nine years. It’s not really the type of show for a movie.”

Enter another idea for Lawrence: Rather than let the series (which still boasts around 13 million Facebook fans) completely fizzle out, Lawrence has set his sights on a different type of future for Scrubs. He announced back in September 2012 that he was developing a musical for Broadway, and just in time for EW’s cover story on the rebirth of Veronica Mars, we caught up with Lawrence to find out where his musical resurrection project stands. As it turns out, the sitcom might be scrubbing in to a Broadway theater near you by, oh, 2017 or so. READ FULL STORY

Sid Caesar dies at age 91

Sid Caesar, at once one of the greatest improvisors and one of the most rigorous sketch-comedy artists in television history, has died at the age of 91. His friend Larry King revealed Caesar’s passing Wednesday on Twitter.

Caesar was a modest dynamo, a man who disappeared into his comedy as though it was his escape from reality. A New York-born nightclub performer, he helped to usher in the dawn of the TV revolution. His 90-minute Saturday night variety program, Your Show of Shows, premiered in 1950. The live broadcast became a hit that lasted four years and immediately morphed into Caesar’s Hour, from 1954 to 1957. Eddy Friedfeld

The legendary writing staff of Your Show of Shows included Woody Allen, Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, and Larry Gelbart (the latter would go on to adapt M*A*S*H for TV). They wrote sketches that played off Caesar’s tall, broad-shouldered physique, casting him as everyone from Tarzan to blustering military types. (Brooks’ famous description of Caesar: “He could punch a Buick in the grille and kill it.”) READ FULL STORY

'Justified' postmortem: EP Graham Yost dissects 'Kill the Messenger'

Spoiler alert! If you haven’t watched this week’s episode of Justified, “Kill the Messenger” written by Ingrid Escajeda and directed by Don Kurt, stop reading now. As he’ll do throughout the season, showrunner Graham Yost takes us inside the writers room. READ FULL STORY

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