The TV Column: 'Dancing With the Stars,' Britney and Charlie Brown are Thanksgiving Stars

Rosie O'Donnell's variety show, with Harry Connick Jr., drew a paltry 5 million viewers to NBC.
Rosie O'Donnell's variety show, with Harry Connick Jr., drew a paltry 5 million viewers to NBC. (By Virginia Sherwood -- Nbc)
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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Millions of turkeys died last week -- and one of them starred Rosie O'Donnell.

Here's a look at the week's giblets and leftovers:


· "Dancing With the Stars." Monday and Tuesday's seventh-season finales of ABC's dance competition series were the second and third most watched broadcasts of the November sweep, with 21 million and 20.7 million viewers, respectively. No. 1 for the sweep: The "60 Minutes" interview, two weeks back, with TV's newest rock star, President-elect Barack Obama.

· "Britney: For the Record." MTV's "no topic off-limits" interview with Britbrit clocked nearly 4 million viewers Sunday, which, eerily, is exactly the same as the number of people who watched the first episode of Britbrit and K-Fed's UPN Love-Story-Infomercial "Britney & Kevin: Chaotic" way back in May of '05. Despite the newer Britney infomercial's shocking lack of, um, answers to any of the questions everyone wants answered -- you know, like what was up with shaving your head? (Brit said people did it all the time, which seemed to satisfy her interviewer.) And why did she date a member of the paparazzi, which she claims to be the poor victim of, blah, blah, blah?

"Brit: FTR" was the week's third most popular show among 18-34-year-old chicks, behind only ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and Fox's "House," which had a very special hostage-taking episode. All you college communications majors: I'm sure there's a term paper in there somewhere about chick-viewer trends.

· "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving." Nearly 3 million of the 11 million viewers who watched its bajillionth broadcast were kids aged 2 to 11, making the animated holiday classic the week's No. 1 prime-time program -- cable or broadcast -- in that age bracket. No broadcast show has accomplished that feat since the "American Idol" season finale back in May.


· Rosie O'Donnell. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, Rosie resuscitated the Old-Fashioned Variety Show on the final night of the November sweep, in what was to have been a backdoor pilot for a variety series. Sadly, only about 5 million bothered to tune in, giving the resuscitation of OFVS the life span of your average plant louse. (On the bright side, Rosie's variety show clocked more than twice as many viewers as Ellen DeGeneres's TBS variety show, three nights later.) Although a very bad sweep number, interestingly, it was far from NBC's worst sweep performance. Twelve NBC telecasts did worse, in fact, than Rosie during the November ratings derby: four episodes of "Crusoe," four episodes of "Lipstick Jungle," three episodes of "My Own Worst Enemy" and one Friday "Deal or No Deal."

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