BOB EINSTEIN OF SUPER DAVE AND “CURB” FAME DIES AT 76
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The brother of Bob Einstein says the comedy veteran known for “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” has died. He was 76. Einstein’s younger brother, filmmaker and actor Albert Brooks, posted a tweet Thursday in which he said Einstein “will be missed forever.” Brooks called Einstein a great brother, father and husband as well as a “brilliantly funny man.” Details of Einstein’s death were not immediately available. Einstein created and played the spoof daredevil character Super Dave Osborne, who appeared on comedy-variety shows and specials. Einstein played Marty Funkhouser on Larry David’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” He won an Emmy for writing on the 1960s series “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” on which he also played opposite Tom and Dick Smothers.
NEW YEAR’S EVE TELEVISION VIEWERSHIP TAKES A DIP
NEW YORK (AP) – Television ratings for New Year’s Eve celebrations took a tumble this year – and you can probably partly blame the weather. Contrary to what the soggy celebrants in New York’s Times Square might think, it is because of good weather, not bad. Last year’s ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” had its biggest audience since at least 1991 with much of the country locked in a deep freeze. This year, the Nielsen company said viewership for ABC’s prime-time New Year’s show with Ryan Seacrest averaged 9.1 million people, down 26 percent from last year’s 12.3 million. Fox’s prime-time show with Steve Harvey was down 47 percent to 3.1 million people. Preliminary estimates show that there was a similar dip in viewers for late-night, when coverage included the countdown to 2019.
NETFLIX RAISES MOVIE-VIEWERSHIP CURTAIN WITH ‘BIRD BOX’
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Netflix has provided the movie industry with an unprecedented peek at how a newly released film is faring as competition for Hollywood’s biggest names intensifies. The company disclosed in a recent tweet that 45 million subscriber accounts worldwide had watched the Sandra Bullock thriller “Bird Box” during its first seven days on the service. That’s the biggest first-week success of any movie made so far for Netflix’s 12-year-old streaming service. The revelation created a stir in Hollywood and on Wall Street. While getting that many people to theaters would be impressive, one analyst says the better yardstick is viewership on TV, given that subscribers didn’t have to leave their homes or pay extra for this movie. By that yardstick, viewership spread over a week isn’t as impressive.
WWE: WRESTLING STARS INTERVIEWER ‘MEAN GENE’ OKERLUND DIES
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Eugene “Mean Gene” Okerlund, who interviewed pro wrestling superstars “Macho Man” Randy Savage, The Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan and became a ring fixture in his own right, has died. He was 76. World Wrestling Entertainment announced Okerlund’s death on its website Wednesday. No details were given, but Okerlund’s daughter-in-law, Patricia Okerlund, confirmed his death to The Washington Post. A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Eugene Okerlund in Osprey, Florida, declined comment and referred questions to WWE. Okerlund started as an interviewer in the Minneapolis-based American Wrestling Association. He moved to WWE in 1984 and hosted several shows, including “All-American Wrestling,” “Tuesday Night Titans” and “Prime Time Wrestling.”
BOX OFFICE RECORDS BREAK AS BROADWAY SAYS GOODBYE TO 2018
NEW YORK (AP) – Broadway producers had plenty of reasons to pop the bubbly as 2018 wound down: Many shows recording their most profitable weeks despite some eye-popping ticket prices. Eight shows last week earned more than $2 million for the week ending Dec. 30, led by “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked,” according to the Broadway League, a national trade association for the industry. “Hamilton” crossed the $4 million mark for the week, with an average ticket costing $375.39. The two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” set a new Broadway record for weekly ticket sales for a play, reporting a gross of over $2.5 million for eight shows.