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Posted at 06:20 PM ET, 02/09/2012

Clooney’s kitchen more interesting to viewers than JFK intern fling

Meredith Vieira interviewing Mimi Alford on "Rock Center" (NBC)
“Rock Center’s” big-get interview with Mimi Alford, in which she shared with viewers the details of her teenage-intern fling with President John F. Kennedy in 1962, only attracted 5.1 million people to the NBC newsmagazine on Wednesday night.

 In her new book, “Once Upon A Secret,” Alford says she and the president began an affair her fourth day on the job at the White House. Which, to reiterate, 5.1 million people wanted to hear about Wednesday night.

 To put this in perspective: Elsewhere Wednesday night, 6 million people came to learn the most intimate details of George Clooney’s kitchen on the premiere episode of resuscitated Edward R. Murrow famous-people-at-home interview show, “Person to Person.”  On that CBS News program, Lara Logan and Charlie Rose grilled George about his kitchen.

“What’s inside your fridge, George,” Logan asked in her no-nonsense way.

 “Mmmmmm…nothing?” Clooney guessed.

 “He doesn’t know!” Rose revealed to America.

 “I, uh…there's some lady that makes salads for me… salads and some sort of a juice thing because, you know, one of my New Year's Eve resolutions was to eat better and to, sort of, do one of those cleanses,” Clooney said.

“I'm really glad I did that.”

Co-anchors Lara Logan and Charlie Rose interview George Clooney at his Los Angeles home. (CBS - CBS)
 But, the same night Mimi Alford was dishing delicious details about JFK to her audience of 5 mil, and Clooney was making kitchen confessions to 6 mil rabid fans, a whopping 19 million people had tuned in to “American Idol” to learn all the details of a teen chick’s plunge off the “Idol” stage during the Fox singing competition’s grueling Hollywood Week at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

 On the other hand, all 19 million were disappointed to learn “Idol” producers had just strung them along for the hour with repeated  showings of the same very short clip in which cute 16-year-old Symone Black is seen plunging off the stage — and that they’d have to tune in again Thursday night to see what happened to her after that (Hollywood-in-Pasadena Week episodes are taped in advance).

 At the end of the hour, viewers saw Symone lying on the floor at the foot of the stage at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Her stage dad rushed to her side, while “Idol” exec producer Nigel Lythgoe shouted, “Medic, please!” Meanwhile the show credits  rolled.

 “Tomorrow night, find out what happens to Symone,” show host Ryan Seacrest intoned.

 And, on Twitter, Lythgoe exulted in real time: “I know you’re all going crazy. You’ll have to wait till tomorrow. That’s why I’m a mean producer,” he tweeted.

“It’s not a ‘cliffhanger’,” he added.

“She didn’t hang — she fell”.

By  |  06:20 PM ET, 02/09/2012

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