Just like last year, the last Sunday of the broadcast season saw a schedule full of specials and finales. Unlike 2012, the specials and the finales split the difference for the top spots. With wins by Taylor Swift and Madonna, boos from the audience directed at Justin Bieber and a closing performance from Prince, the 2013 Billboard Awards (3.6/10) was up big from last year. On ABC for the third year in a row, the live three-hour Tracy Morgan-hosted ceremony surged up from its 2012 broadcast. The highest-rated show of the night. The Billboard Awards was up 33% among adults 18-49 and up 28% in total viewers to 9.47 million watching. ABC aired the season finale of America’s Funniest Home Videos (1.8/6) before the Billboard Awards. The most watched show of the night with 9.84 million viewers, the original found footage show was up 29% from its May 12 show and up 20% from last year’s finale on May 20, 2012. With 8.863 million watching, ABC won the night among viewers and adults 18-49.
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Well, it’s April 1st and we have our fool. After all his huffing and puffing, Donald Trump has unsurprisingly withdrawn his $5 million lawsuit against Bill Maher. The Celebrity Apprentice host had his lawyers file the request for dismissal with prejudice in LA Superior Court on March 29. Trump, whose NBC show hit a season low last night, first filed the breach of contract suit back in early February against the HBO host. He said that Maher broke a written promise that he’d give $5 million to the charities of Trump’s choice if The Donald could prove he wasn’t “the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan.”
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Donald Trump was, sadly, nowhere in sight this morning as NBC kicked off the broadcast portion of the TCA winter press tour. So it was left to the actual castmates of NBC’s All-Star Celebrity Apprentice to supply the eye-popping commentary, which Penn Jillette was more than happy to oblige at the outset. In response to a question about why he would participate in an unscripted endeavor that might qualify for an episode of his previous Showtime series Bullshit, he maintained that in fact Celebrity All-Star Apprentice is “the most honest show I’ve ever heard about in reality.” Seriously? “That’s the stunning thing that blows people’s minds,” Jillette continued. “Celebrity Apprentice has more integrity and is the most straightforward show I’ve ever seen…I have never seen or heard an example of disingenuous editing or anything being done out of context.” When this claim didn’t elicit gasps in the room, he continued, “The story that’s told on Celebrity Apprentice seems to be the story that could be told if you were there. I was really amazed by that, and honesty is perhaps as important to me as anything else. So I was thrilled to go back and trust the editors and the producers.” Jillette added that in a genre often generously described as being at least partially scripted, he stressed that the celebs on the show are not playing a role and are encouraged instead to be themselves. “It’s no different than being in life. It’s exactly the same.”
Back in the headlines after his recent Celebrity Apprentice win, Arsenio Hall is mulling a return to the late-night syndicated talk show circuit. I hear Hall has been in talks with CBS TV Distribution about a …