Sideshow: 'Abbey' debut sets records

Dan Stevens, as now-deceased Matthew Crawley.
Dan Stevens, as now-deceased Matthew Crawley. (GILES KEYTE)
Posted: January 08, 2014

Despite critical bile, Sunday's U.S. debut of Season 4 of ITV/PBS world-smasher Downton Abbey was a winner for PBS. (Who needs you, Matthew Crawley???) It snagged 10.2 million viewers, the highest-rated drama premiere in PBS history - 22 percent more than Season 3's kickoff (7.3 mils). BTW, Dan Stevens, who played Crawley, famously killed for Christmas at the end of Season 3, lives in Brooklyn these days, so he had "absolutely no idea" what happened to his/Matthew's widow, Lady Mary ( Michelle Dockery). So he watched last night in real time in the United States! (Did he plug his ears, we wonder, when spoilers started talking?)

And DYK they named the poor, dadless Crawley heir George, same as Prince George of Cambridge, bairn of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge? Anything for ratings, right? Wrong: The show revealed the name in March, well pre-Georgie baby.

Celebrity Web follies!!

Jenny McCarthy was the subject of a RadarOnline article on Friday that was all sorts of messed up. It claimed Jenny changed her anti-vaccination stand (not so) and that she said her son, Evan - center of her advocacy on behalf of parents and children contending with the autism spectrum - had never been diagnosed with autism. Jenny went online, called the claims "irresponsible and inaccurate," and shook extremely loud legal sabers. Bad: The article cited old Time mag stuff that said nothing like what was being claimed. You can bet that article's been taken down. The fracas exploded on ├╝ber-chat-site reddit, and resparked the online vaccination/autism debate. Recent science has really sort of devastated that debate. . . . But the point is, Jenny has the right to say what she thinks. But pro-vaccination folks want her to come out and fight.

If you're gonna Google yourself, you gotta be ready.

And then - no, we're not being dirty. We are telling the moment Sandra Bullock, on a whim, Googled herself. And she found out, to her utter surprise, that she was in a fight with Julia Roberts over George Clooney. She had no idea! To find out this way!!

Sandra joked about it at a big movie bash Saturday in Palm Springs. She reported getting slagged all over the Internet for being - over 40. How dare she? Meryl Streep says amen: "Everything that Sandra Googled about herself, they say about me too, except they say over 60."

And finally, speaking of the InterWebs, it seems Shia "Supervowels" LaBeouf has an unsuspected talent - for alienating folks via Twitter. Seems he plagiarized somebody in a movie script, so Lena Dunham made fun of him, so he made fun of her by plagiarizing an old apology of hers . . . it all gets so meta, baby.

Little snowflakes of news

Maybe we're wrong, but it strikes us here at SideShow as excessive to equate meat-eating with rape, murder, and pedophilia (as singer Morrissey did in a Jan. 2 online fan Q&A). . . . Robin Roberts of ABC's Good Morning America said Monday she's as healthy as ever right now - and then shared on live TV a pikkie from her niece's wedding, including Robin's petite amie, a golden-haired lady named Amber Laign. . . . Saturday Night Live made it official Monday: They've signed Sasheer Zamata, who will be the first black female regular in five years. How can that be? . . . Will Smith says his Fresh Prince TV dad , James Avery, who passed Dec. 31, was a true role model who helped make Will a "respectable human being."


This column includes material from Inquirer wire services.

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