Plus: Applegate bounces back, Cheney book deal, and more

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 30, 2005 08:50 AM

RATED: In its season premiere Monday night, the two-hour edition of ABC’s The Bachelor, starring Charlie O’Connell (brother of Crossing Jordan‘s Jerry), proved that the honeymoon is over for the dating-game franchise. The show averaged a disappointing 8.26 million viewers, according to preliminary ratings, putting it in fourth place in the 9-10 p.m. timeslot and only a slightly better third place from 10-11 p.m. In better news for its network, the new Sunday night series Grey’s Anatomy, with Sandra Oh, attracted 16.2 million viewers for its premiere this week, following the return (after a five-week hiatus) of Desperate Housewives. The week’s top show was Tuesday’s American Idol, with nearly 28 million viewers.

TREATED: Pope John Paul, 84, was put on a feeding tube Wednesday, the Vatican said. The measure was taken after the pontiff found it hard to swallow due to the breathing tube that was used during his recent hospital stay, the Associated Press reports. The feeding tube is not the only source of nutrition for the pope, a Vatican official said on condition of anonymity. Because of his recent ills, the pontiff severely curtailed his duties during last week’s Holy Week.

DIAGNOSED: Moral Majority founder Rev. Jerry Falwell, 71, is in critical condition at a Virginia hospital, where he is on a respirator after suffering a relapse of pneumonia late Monday, say reports. Falwell previously had been hospitalized for two weeks for pneumonia and was released March 4.

RESUSCITATED: The news is again sweet for the troubled Broadway bound revival of Sweet Charity, which had its plug pulled last weekend. The producer has now put the plug back in, after pleas from injured (with a broken foot) star Christina Applegate, The New York Times reports. The show will now begin performances in New York on April 11,with Applegate’s replacement, Charlotte d’Amboise. The Married … with Children star, with a healed foot, is expected back onstage April 18.

SIGNED: Mary Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, plans to publish a memoir under a new subdivision of Simon & Schuster devoted to conservative books, the company has announced. Cheney, a top aide during her father’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004, has drawn much political attention because she is openly gay. Her memoir is the first acquisition for Republican strategist Mary Matalin’s publishing subdivision, Threshold.

SETTLED: The Walt Disney Company and its Miramax division have severed relations with Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein after a long run of successful films (including Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love and Chicago) and a highly contentious relationship. According to trade reports, Disney will keep the Miramax library, while Harvey and Bob will be free to launch their own new company and keep their Dimension Films subsidiary.