“American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood has followed in the footsteps of her predecessors by seeing her first single debut at No. 1 on the charts.

Underwood’s single “Inside Your Heaven,” released June 14, takes over the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart this week from Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” which has spent several weeks at No. 1. “Inside Your Heaven” also sits atop the Pop 100 chart, displacing eight-week champ “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani.

Underwood, who was crowned the winner of the Fox talent contest about a month ago over Bo Bice, is just the third artist to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 chart since 1998. The others were ex-“Idol” contestants as well: Clay Aiken (“This Is the Night”) in 2003 and Fantasia (“I Believe”) last year.

Season two winner Ruben Studdard debuted one spot behind Aiken in 2003. Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” debuted farther down the chart – reflecting only a partial week of sales – before hitting No. 1 in its second week on the chart.

It’s a good week all around on the charts for current and past “Idol” winners. In addition to Underwood’s chart-topping debut, Clarkson’s “Breakaway” heads Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart for the 17th straight week. That song has dropped out of the top 40 on the Hot 100 chart, but she still has two others, “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Since U Been Gone,” in the top 12.

“Idol” runner-up Bice’s version of “Inside Your Heaven,” with a B-side of “Vehicle,” hit stores this week.



BROKAW BACK ON NBC

Tom Brokaw will be back on NBC in the coming days for his first news projects since he stepped down as anchor of the network’s evening news.

First up for the 65-year-old newsman is an hour-long look at the war on terrorism, airing on “Dateline” Friday. Brokaw traveled to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, among other spots, to seek answers to questions about how the U.S.-led fight is perceived in the Muslim world and how the search for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is progressing.

He also interviews new CIA Director Porter Goss about intelligence efforts. The report, titled “The Long War,” is Brokaw’s first project for NBC since he left the “NBC Nightly News” in December.

Then on July 6, Brokaw will anchor a news special on the recent unmasking of “Deep Throat,” the famous, formerly anonymous source who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein unravel the Watergate coverup that led to the downfall of President Richard Nixon.

Brokaw will interview Woodward – who’s at work on a book about the source, ex-FBI official Mark Felt – Bernstein and former Post managing editor Ben Bradlee about the Watergate story and Felt’s role in it.



MTV BLANKETS LIVE 8 CONCERTS

MTV and its sister networks around the world will go live for extended periods on July 2 to cover the Live 8 concerts.

In the United States, MTV, VH1 and college network mtvU will air a shared live feed from noon to 8 p.m. EDT July 2 to cover the shows in London, Philadelphia, Paris, Berlin, Johannesburg and elsewhere. Live 8, put together by Live Aid organizer Sir Bob Geldof, is aimed at raising awareness of global poverty and calling for action at the July 6-9 G-8 summit of the world’s richest nations.

“Our proudest moments are when we use our unique global position to help connect our audience with the important events of the day and offer a creative outlet for artists to express themselves about the issues of our time,” MTV Networks Chairman Judy McGrath says. “Live 8 is one of those moments and we’re glad to join our musical brothers and sisters in every corner of the world to help shine the spotlight on ending poverty.”

MTV’s coverage will consist of live concert footage from multiple venues, interviews with artists and fans at the concert sites and features on the 1985 Live Aid, Live 8’s goal and the G-8 meetings. MTV’s international networks will also offer live looks and interview packages.

Among the artists scheduled to perform at the free concerts are U2, Destiny’s Child, the Dave Matthews Band, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Keith Urban, Green Day, P. Diddy, Stevie Wonder and a reunited Sex Pistols and Pink Floyd.

ABC is also planning to air two hours of concert footage in primetime; details are still being worked out.



BRAVO RESURRECTS “BATTLE OF THE NETWORK STARS’

Have you been wondering, really wondering, about what the likes of “Big Brother 2” contestant Mike “Boogie” Malin and the first “Swan,” Rachel Love Frasier, have been up to? And while you were wondering, did you ever think about how they might perform in a swimming-pool kayak race?

So have the folks at Bravo, who will resurrect the “Battle of the Network Stars” format later this summer with a post-millennial twist: All the participants will be former reality-show contestants.

“Battle of the Network Reality Stars,” scheduled to premiere Aug. 17, will involve 32 such folks, from 16 different shows, in the competition, along with three others – “Bachelor” Bob Guiney, Omarosa Manigault Stallworth (“The Apprentice”) and Trishelle Cannatella (“The Real World,” “The Surreal Life”) – working as sideline reporters. Former NBC Sports guy/”American Gladiators” host Mike Adamle has the thankless play-by-play job.

In addition to Malin and Frasier, the six-episode series will feature Evan “Joe Millionaire” Marriott, “Survivor” foes Susan Hawk and Richard Hatch, “America’s Next Top Model” wild child Brittany Brower, “Joe Schmo” Matt Kennedy Gould and “American Idol” rejectees Nikki McKibbin and Ryan Starr, among others. Events will be modeled on those featured in the original “Battle of the Network Stars,” which made its debut in 1976.

The show will also feature “Battle” veterans like Lou Ferrigno, Loretta Swit and Jimmie Walker as referees.

NBC, Bravo’s corporate sibling, took a stab at reviving the show in the summer of 2003. The special, which featured only stars of NBC shows, didn’t perform very well. That version and the Bravo series were both produced by TWI, which is also behind Bravo’s “All-Star Reality Reunion” later this year.



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