_ And in another sign that there's money to be saved by delaying gratification, BBC America yesterday announced it had acquired basic-cable rights to all four seasons of Showtime's "The Tudors," featuring the eighth English king named Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers), his six wives and too many beddings and beheadings to count.
BBC America will launch "The Tudors" at 9 a.m. Jan. 16 with a marathon of Seasons 1 and 2. If you have a life (or too little room on your DVR), the entire series, beginning with Season 1, will be shown at 10 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 18.
_ Don't know how many times I've been asked how much longer "Larry King Live" would be on CNN, but if you're one of the questioners, here's the answer: two more nights.
On tonight's show (9 p.m., CNN), King, who's been talking to the famous and the infamous for a quarter-century on the news channel, will interview Barbra Streisand.
Tomorrow's being billed by CNN as "a bunch of surprises for [King] - and you."
_ Showtime, which likes to put first-rate actors - Edie Falco, Toni Collette, Laura Linney, Mary-Louise Parker, David Duchovny - in half-hour shows and call whatever happens after that a comedy, is adding Don Cheadle ("Hotel Rwanda") to the lineup.
Cheadle will star in and executive-produce "House of Lies," described as a half-hour "dark comedy" - really, aren't they all? - in which he'll play a management consultant.
Created by Matthew Carnahan ("Dirt"), the show's based on Martin Kihn's book, "House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Tell You the Time."
Production starts in February.
"Don Cheadle is one of the great dramatic actors of our generation," said Showtime entertainment president David Nevins in a prepared statement. "He also happens to be an extremely funny man . . . Honestly, I would have been happy just to get his autograph."
_ Nevins wasn't the only one to attempt to liven up the section of press releases where reporters' eyes normally glaze over.
CNN, in yesterday's announcement of its plans for New Year's Eve, which involve the return of Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin for a fourth year as co-hosts for the night, quoted them thusly:
"The Most Trusted Name in News just got a whole lot more trusting," said Griffin. "I'm thrilled that they're letting me co-host New Year's Eve with Anderson Cooper again!"
"Once again, I'm terrified to be co-hosting CNN's New Year's Eve show with Kathy Griffin," said Cooper. "It's often bitterly cold, and yet after being with her for a few minutes on live television, I find myself drenched in sweat."
_ As weight-loss TV continues to evolve as a genre, I'm seeing pitches for shows that sound, at least, as if they might offer a little more than the screaming, puking and cutthroat competition of NBC's "The Biggest Loser" (which, yes, returns Jan. 4 with all-new twists).
On Dec. 29, MTV premieres "I Used to Be Fat," which follows students from the last few weeks of high school through the beginning of college the following fall as they attempt to lose anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds "and prepare for a fresh start."
That's a short time and a lot of weight - one thing "Biggest Loser" doesn't seem to have inspired in a lot of people is patience - but I like the idea that each episode will focus on just one teen and that they don't seem to be competing against anyone but themselves.
Competition's apparently not the focus, either, in A&E's "Heavy," which premieres Jan. 17 - just about the time most people are abandoning their New Year's resolutions - and in 11 one-hour episodes follows 22 people through a six-month treatment program in which, we're told, they lost more than 2,240 pounds as a group, "with half of the participants shedding more than 30 percent of their body mass and losses between 63 to 173 pounds."
Somewhat longer period. Still a considerable amount of weight.
To put that into perspective, the Style Network's "Ruby," which follows a Savannah, Ga., woman who once weighed 700 pounds and who's experienced some more typical ups and downs while losing, is expected to return in March.
For its fourth season. *
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