Amanda's Return Fails to Save Dying Melrose Place

It was too much to ask, but in the legends of television, Heather Locklear has been endowed with the powers of a superhero. And now we finally know, even even Amanda can't ride in to save us from ourselves.

Suddenly the Universe is a very cold and empty place.

• Apparently we are not a nation of people waiting for Amanda Woodward to return to Melrose Place. Heather Locklear's trip back to the series did little to ease its struggles, lifting its gruesome ratings by a mere 15 percent to a 0.8 rating in the 18 - 45 demo. [Hollywood Reporter]

• Meanwhile, just as the world was sending its mocking obituaries to the printers, guess who's having a good week? Jay Leno is up five percent this week, "matching its highest ratings in six weeks." [Hollywood Reporter]

• With two and a half months to go, the Super Bowl's ad space is almost sold out. CBS reports a 90 percent sell-out rate thus far, meaning only six slots are still available. Like everything else these days, Super Bowl ad sales are being viewed as a barometer of the nation's economic health. [Ad Age]

• A Writers Guild report of diversity among its ranks finds "little if any improvement" for the prospects of women and minority writers. Variety writes that the report "found that women scribes remain stuck at 28% of TV employment and 18% in features while the minority share has been frozen at 6% since 1999." [Variety]

Jennifer Hudson will play Winnie Mandela, the ex-wife of the ex-South African President Nelson Mandela in Winnie, a biopic to be directed by Darrell J. Roodt, maker of Cry the Beloved Country. [Variety]

Roger Ebert may be off the airwaves, but his influence lives on, remarkably, as the online buzz king. A survey by Nielsen of which critics dominate the internet reveals that Ebert remains a goliath online, crushing all the competition combined. [thehotblog]

• Making 2012's grosses look like the change fallen under the cushions of your sofa, the video game Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 2 reported sales of more than $550 million in the first week of its release. The LA Times puts production costs on the game in the $40 - $50 million range (a fraction of 2012 or Avatar), putting its total budget including marketing somewhere around $200 million. Who's in the wrong business now, movie people? [LA Times]

Lovely Bones director Peter Jackson told a reporter that, despite his PG-13 rating he had upped the violence in his upcoming film after early test screening audiences "were simply not satisfied" with the depiction of a character's death. [Hitfix]

• Nikki Finke reports that investor Carl Icahn has been snatching up MGM bonds like "A bat out of hell." [Deadline]

• The LA Times reports further on Disney's heroic decision to pull the plug on McG's attempt to America's memories of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with his remake. The paper writes that execs saw the project, scripted by novelist Michael Chabon as "too dark" and that they will take another stab at it somewhere down the line. [LA Times]