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First Sign of the Apocalypse: Going Against 'Idol'

By Lisa de Moraes
Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page C07

The end may be here for NBC's "Revelations," thanks to Fox.

Fox has decided to supersize tomorrow's "American Idol" results show into an hour-long broadcast.

"Revelations" stars Bill Pullman and Natascha McElhone will have some unexpected company tomorrow night: "American Idol." (Larry Horricks -- Nbc Universal Via AP)

That means "Idol" will run against the entire debut hour of NBC's six-hour miniseries "Revelations," in which a scientist and a nun slave to hold off the Apocalypse as foretold in the Bible's Book of Revelation.

To expand "Idol," Fox will yank "Life on a Stick" after just two broadcasts. Not that we mind, because really we don't at all, but it's a little unusual.

And it seems an incredible coincidence that "Idol" is being expanded on the night "Revelations" is debuting.

But, one Fox suit insisted, the expansion of "Idol" was not about NBC's premiere of "Revelations" but about trying to make more noise on the night Fox is debuting its highly anticipated Pamela Anderson sitcom, "Stacked," in which she plays an employee of a bookstore. Seriously.

"If we were really going to nail 'Revelations,' we would have [scheduled 'Idol'] 8:30 to 9:30 and moved 'Stacked' to 9:30 p.m.," the suit explained.

A couple of weeks ago, Fox raised eyebrows when it hastily scheduled the results episode of "Idol" on Thursday at 9 p.m., followed by the premiere of "Life/Stick" at 9:30 -- in the same time slot as the highly hyped premiere of "The Office," NBC's adaptation of the Brit hit. Fox insisted it was a coincidence and that it had no choice but to rerun Tuesday's performances on Wednesday and bump the results show and the "Life/Stick" unveiling to Thursday after the bungling of some of the on-screen phone numbers viewers use to vote for their fave performers.

In the end, however, "The Office" prevailed slot over "Life/Stick" despite the enormous "Idol" lead-in.

ABC has decided keep "Grey's Anatomy" on Sunday nights following "Desperate Housewives" for the rest of the TV season.

William Shatner starrer "Boston Legal" was supposed to return to the 10 p.m. hour after ABC broadcast four episodes of the new hot-young-chick-docs-in-training drama.

But "Grey" has been averaging 17.4 million and is beating its closest competitor, NBC, by nearly 7 million viewers; "Boston Legal" averaged 12.5 million viewers in the same Sunday berth. Among the 18-to-49-year-olds ABC targets, "Grey" has averaged 32 percent more viewers in its three weeks on the air than CBS and NBC combined.

So "Boston Legal" will not be back until next season. Yesterday ABC said it will hang on to the episodes it did not air this season to give next season a total of 27.

It's a safe bet that Chris Shelton won't be winner of "The Apprentice."

Seminole tribal police arrested the 22-year-old NBC reality show contestant in Tampa over the weekend after he began to scream and swear in the lobby of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino upon being told that the hotel bar had a $20 cover charge.

Shelton was in town to celebrate the birthday of former fellow "Apprentice" contestant John Gafford, the Associated Press reported. According to the wire service, fliers distributed on the University of South Florida campus had advertised a birthday party for Gafford and promised the chance to meet other "Apprentice" contestants.

NBC had no comment on Shelton's arrest, telling the AP it was a "private matter."

Shelton was released after posting $250 bail.

Shelton and Gafford competed on this latest edition of NBC's reality series in which Donald Trump toadies-in-training try to win a job with his company. Gafford was booted last month; Shelton is one of six contestants still on the series, which finished filming several months ago. The Donald won't choose between the two finalists until the live finale airs during the May sweeps ratings race.

On the show, Trump has called Shelton a mess, a train wreck and, most recently, a "loser" with a temper. On last week's episode Shelton was seen telling an employee at Best Buy he would hate to have to "find an aluminum bat and break somebody's kneecaps" if they didn't find the credit card he'd left there the day before. In the improbable event Shelton makes it to the final two, Trump is unlikely to pick him, given his anger management issues, and now his arrest record.

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