Things U Need 2 Know- Fri 1/18/13

  • "American Idol" returned to Fox's Wednesday night lineup, luring 17.9 million viewers, down about 19% from last January's premiere.
  • Pauline Friedman Phillips, who under the name of Abigail Van Buren, wrote the long-running "Dear Abby" advice column, has died. She was 94.
  • Former "American Idol" judge Kara Dioguardi is preparing to become a first-time mom. The songwriter and her husband, Mike McCuddy, are expecting a son via a gestational surrogate in the next few weeks.
  • Once a year, Town and Country Magazine picks the world's 50 most eligible bachelors. At the top of the list this year, Britain's Prince Harry.
  • Jennifer Lawrence hosts SNL this weekend, with music from the Lumineers.
  • Actor Conrad Bain has died at age 89. He was the dad on the old Gary Colemen TV series, "Different Strokes."
  • "Inside Edition" has hired former Miss Alabama USA Katherine Webb -- the one Brett Musburger leered after -- to do some reports for them, prior to the Super Bowl game.
  • The head of PBS says that Elmo isn't going anywhere.
  • WELCOME BACK, NHL HOCKEY _ The abbreviated 2013 NHL hockey season begins tomorrow (Saturday) and goes through April 27. The Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings raise their banner Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks. The game will air on NBC (3p ET).
  • American Idol ratings are down 19%. [So they're making some changes. Out is Ryan Secrest as host, and in are Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.]
  • SUNDAY IS YOUR DAY _ Sunday is Disc Jockey Day.
  • DEAR ABBY DIES _ Pauline Friedman Phillips, aka Abigail Van Buren and "Dear Abby" has died. She was 94. She had a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
  • FACEBOOK PHOTO YIELDS NEW PUPPY _ A pair of Massachusetts parents are making good on a wager and getting a new puppy after their children got more than a million likes on a Facebook photo. Ryan and Evie Cordell said their five kids could have a dog if their photo could top 1 million likes.
  • A new list says the four most annoying tech habits are:  Spamming your friends' Facebook pages with your pet causes . . . pausing to text before you pull out of a spot in a crowded parking lot . . . talking on the phone in a public bathroom . . . and endlessly texting back-and-forth when you really just need a two-minute phone call.
  • We're not a "dinner and a movie" dating culture any more.  In a new survey, only 6% of single people said dinner-and-a-movie is ideal for a first date.  44% said the best first date is cocktails after work.
  • Harris Interactive just released the results of their annual poll on the most popular sports in the U.S.  And for the 27th year in a row, pro football came in first.  In 1985, there was only a 1% difference between pro football and baseball for the top spot.  In this 2012 survey, there was an 18% difference.  College football was third most popular, and auto racing was fourth.
  • 63% of Americans believe in at least one political conspiracy theory.  36% believe PRESIDENT OBAMA is hiding information about where he was born . . . 25% think PRESIDENT BUSH knew about 9/11 in advance . . . 23% think Bush fixed the 2004 election . . . and 19% think Obama fixed the 2012 election. 
  • BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD RETURNS TO THEATERS _ Beasts of the Southern Wild, which received four Oscar nominations, returns to select theaters today (Friday). Check local theater listings to see if it's playing in your city.... Also in theaters this weekend: Broken City (R); The Last Stand (R); Mama (PG-13); Silver Linings Playbook (R, moves to wider release)
  • NEW ON DVD THIS WEEKEND

Men of a Certain Age: The Complete Second Season