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Kate Gosselin, 'Dancing' past 'Idol' and into the record books

HEARTFELT: The first family listens as Amber Riley of "Glee" sings the national anthem at the White House's Easter Egg Roll.
HEARTFELT: The first family listens as Amber Riley of "Glee" sings the national anthem at the White House's Easter Egg Roll. (Getty Images)

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By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

America's Most Put Upon Mom, Kate Gosselin, continued to spin ratings gold as she stomped and scowled her way around the "Dancing With the Stars" floor. Meanwhile, April Fools' Day played a cruel joke on the TV industry.

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Here's a look at the rating winners and losers:

WINNERS

"Dancing With the Stars." Kate Gosselin's second dance about her difficult life -- a jive performed to Elton John's "I'm Still Standing" -- became the most watched TV show in the country last week, attracting 23 million people. It beat both broadcasts of "American Idol" -- a feat that has not been accomplished in nearly five years by any show without the help of a Super Bowl lead-in. (This week, Gosselin pasodobled to "Paparazzi" and 21 million tuned in.) We can't wait to see how Kate will dance-interpret Jon Gosselin's announcement that he's going to seek primary custody of their eight kids because Kate's "Dancing" gig proves she's an absentee mom.

"Desperate Housewives." During a much-needed break, after scoring a record-low 10.8 million viewers two weeks ago, ABC's soap opera struck the mother lode when the show's former vixen Nicolette Sheridan filed a lawsuit claiming creator Marc Cherry allegedly smacked her upside the head before firing her. Look for improved ratings when the show returns April 18.

"V." In hopes that fans of lame duck "Lost" would take a fancy to the return of its aliens-are-among-us show "V" immediately afterward, ABC ran a "V" countdown during the entire "Lost" episode. Bad idea. "Lost" fans were furious and "V" clocked its smallest audience ever for an original episode (7.03 million viewers).

LOSERS

April Fools' Day programming. ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS's "CSI" and "The Mentalist" all suffered their smallest audiences ever on Thursday night while Fox's "Bones" logged its smallest audience this season.

"The Ten Commandments." The Blue Devils smote Moses on Saturday. ABC's 30th broadcast of the Cecil B. De Mille flick, starring Charlton Heston as Moses, attracted just 5.7 million viewers Saturday, which looks to be the flick's smallest audience ever on the network. ABC notes that this year the biblical orgy of excess faced a very highly rated March Madness, including the Duke Blue Devils' pounding of the West Virginia Mountaineers.

* * *

Really lousy streaming audio at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live made it impossible for those of us stuck at our offices to appreciate the awesomeness of the "Glee" cast performance at the White House on Monday for the annual Easter Egg Roll.

At our office, the performances looked pitchy and robotic and like the singers did not know who they wanted to be: actors, singers or budding associate directors of public engagement.

But "Glee" co-creator/executive producer Ian Brennan insisted Tuesday that their multi-song set was "a total, absolute, surreal dream."

"For me, it was one of the best moments of my life, standing there by the South Portico," Brennan gushed on a conference call with the press to plug the return of the show on April 13.

The "Glee" cast, dressed in red T-shirts and black jeans, like anarchists on Casual Friday, sleepwalked through several songs from the show at the White House event, including "Don't Stop Believin' " and "Sweet Caroline" (gak!).

Cast member/token diva character Amber Riley sang the national anthem, which Brennan insisted really impressed the first family:

"Obama kept looking over to Michelle, kind of like, eyes wide, 'Damn, this girl is good!' " Brennan said, reading into Obama's eyes.

"It was absolutely, absolutely incredible," he added.

But when WaPo TeamTV "Glee" bureau chief Emily Yahr asked if the president was a fan of the show, another "Glee" co-creator/executive producer, Brad Falchuk, claimed Obama had told some of the cast he didn't let his kids watch "Glee" because his daughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, are too young for the Fox series.

Brennan disagreed in the strongest terms, insisting little Sasha does watch the show, though he acknowledged it was possible Malia does not. But he was nearly certain Michelle is a "Glee" advocate.

"I would encourage all four of them to get Congress to mandate it, so it's some kind of a law that everyone in the country has to watch it," suggested Falchuk.

"Call it 'Glee' reform," he added, convinced of his own hilarity.

"I think a lot of the problems that we have would be solved if people got together and watched 'Glee,' " Brennan concurred.

A Chicago-based blogger on the call apologized to Brennan and Falchuk for not having seen the "Glee" cast when they came to the Windy City to perform on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," saying, "Oprah wouldn't let me anywhere near."

"Yeah, she's tough," Falchuk observed. "It was harder to get into 'Oprah' than it was to get into the White House."

For updates on "American Idol," the latest television industry news and more, read the TV Column blog at washingtonpost.com/tvcolumn.


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