ANOTHER CBS RATINGS VICTORY

CBS continued to dominate the Nielsen ratings last week, accounting for half the entries in the ratings research group's top ten, including the No. 1 show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. ABC's Desperate Housewives remained strong, placing second, while the new series Grey's Anatomy, which follows it, continued its upward move, placing seventh on the Nielsen list. NBC continued to sink, with Joey, its Friends replacement, dropping to No. 55 on the list. CBS averaged an 8.1 rating and a 13 share for the week, while its rivals bunched up far behind, NBC and Fox tying for second with a 5.7/9, followed by ABC with a 5.6/9.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 16.9/26; 2. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 14.6/22; 3. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 14.3/23; 4. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 13.8/21; 5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 13.0/21; 6. Survivor: Palau, CBS, 11.7/20; 7. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 11.3/18; 8. House, Fox, 110./17; 9. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 10.9/16; 10. E.R., NBC, 10.8/18; 10. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 10.8/16.

CBS NEWSCAST PLUMMETS

Despite drawing considerable praise from TV critics, the CBS Evening News, anchored by Bob Schieffer, attracted fewer viewers last week than at any time in its history. Nevertheless, CBS News President Andrew Heyward indicated Tuesday that he has no plans to adopt a multiple-anchor format for the newscast to boost ratings. Such a format had been suggested by CBS Chairman Les Moonves. "Part of Leslie's job is to be an agent provacateur," Heyward remarked in an interview with the Boston Globe. Meanwhile, NBC Nightly News edged out ABC's World News Tonight once again, although the latter newscast, which has temporarily lost its regular anchor, Peter Jennings, who is undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, continues to make headway against the leader. Among the all-news cable channels, the audience for Fox News Channel surprisingly dropped 6 percent from its level a year ago while CNN jumped 11 percent. MSNBC was also up by 7 percent. Nevertheless, Fox maintained a commanding lead over its rivals with 1.5 million viewers versus 893,000 for CNN.

IDOL, HOUSE ARE WINNERS FOR FOX

Tuesday night represented another blowout for Fox, as American Idol and House overwhelmed the competition. Idol captured a 14.7 rating and a 23 share in the 8:00 p.m. hour, while House followed at 9:00 p.m. with a 10.6/16. Fox led overall for the night with an average 12.7/19 -- far ahead of second place CBS, which finished with an 8.3/13. NBC placed third with a 5.0/8, while ABC trailed with a 4.7/7.

BLOOMBERG WANTS TONIGHT SHOW TO RETURN TO N.Y.

Appearing on Conan O'Brien's late-night TV talk show Tuesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joked that he would not allow O'Brien to leave New York for Hollywood when he succeeds Jay Leno as host of the Tonight show in 2009. O'Brien responded: "It's not up to me. I work for The Man. If he says, 'yeah,' then we're fine." He added that in return for remaining in New York, he'd like the city to rename the Holland Tunnel The Cone Zone. Meanwhile, NBC announced Tuesday that Saturday Night Live will join Late Night with Conan O'Brien as a high-definition live telecast. It said that Studio 8H, where the comedy show originates, will be refitted for high-definition by October.

STUDY SUGGESTS DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE TV

A new study indicates that African-Americans and Hispanics watch more TV than the general population. According to the study by Scarborough Research and reported Tuesday by the website MediaDailyNews, African-Americans take greater advantage of the different types of cable services available, including pay-per-view, digital cable, and premium channels, while Hispanics are 70 percent more likely to watch kids programming than the general population. African-Americans watch 70 percent more soap operas and 22 percent more sci-fi programs than the general population. "I don't think we can answer the question as to why they watch more, we can only say that they do," Cheryl Greenblatt, senior vice president of television sales for Scarborough, told the website.

TV SHOWS AVAILABLE FOR LEGAL DOWNLOADING TODAY

A new file-sharing company, co-headed by Netscape originator Marc Andreessen, is due to be launched today (Wednesday), offering authorized content mostly from public television and radio. Sunnyvale, CA-based Open Media Network has reportedly signed agreements with such public TV stations as KQED, San Francisco; WGBH Boston; and Washington State University's KWSU. It also has deals with New York Public Radio and Northwest Public Radio. "It's a wonderful showcase for state-of-the-art digital distribution,'' Open Media founder Mike Homer told the San Francisco Chronicle.. "While illegal content has been the story, I think legal content in the audio and video world is poised to take off."

ABDUL'S DEMEANOR CHANGES ON IDOL

American Idol judge Paula Abdul appeared to have undergone an emotional makeover Tuesday night after denying published speculation last week that her seemingly erratic behavior might have been attributable to drugs. New reports emerged this week that she may have had an affair with Corey Clark, a contestant who was booted off the show and may be one of the sources for an ABC Primetime Live special scheduled to air next week. The special will reportedly also allege that Abdul picks favorite contestants "to nurture." Commenting on her Tuesday-night appearance, Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes observed today (Wednesday): "Someone clearly got to Paula before last night's show. Gone were the slutty outfits she's way too old to wear, gone was the wild dancing during contestant performances, no more gushing at male contestants that she was falling in love with them, no pouncing on colleague Simon Cowell, only minimal seal flapping and waving of arms over her head."

DISNEY WOOING PIXAR AGAIN

The Walt Disney Co. "definitely" wants to renew its relationship with Pixar Animation Studios, Disney Studios chief Dick Cook has told the London Times. "This has been probably the most successful relationship in the history of Hollywood," Cook told the newspaper. "It's definitely our desire to further the relationship with Pixar for years to come, and develop it even more, and we're hopeful they feel the same way." It has been more than a year since Pixar Chairman Steve Jobs angrily broke off contract-renewal talks with CEO Michael Eisner. Although he has reportedly met with the heads of other studios, he reportedly has been taking a wait-and-see approach to determine whether the company's incoming CEO, Robert Iger, will be less intractable to his terms.

SONY'S WALKMAN LIMPS

As expected, Sony's first-quarter earnings report was bad -- a $533-million loss -- but not so bad as analysts had expected. (A survey of eight analysts by Bloomberg News indicated that they had expected Sony to report a loss of $633 million.) The figure widened from a $332-million loss during the same period a year ago. The larger loss was blamed primarily on the company's introduction of a digital Walkman that failed to challenge Apple's iPod effectively and to falling prices of flat-screen television sets. Even Sony's brightest light -- its motion picture business -- seemed somewhat dimmer as operating profit fell 63 percent to $129 million. Although Sony's release of its PlayStation Portable has been snapped up avidly by consumers, some analysts predicted it could add to Sony's woes. Goldman Sachs Japan analyst Yuji Fujimori was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, "The hardware costs are too high, and they may not be able to meet shipment targets if the production yield for the chips [doesn't] improve."

DISNEY PULLS PLUG ON VIDEO-ON-DEMAND TEST

Disney has decided to shut down its MovieBeam video-on-demand service this week in the three cities where it has been tested since 2003 -- Jacksonville, FL, Spokane, WA, and Salt Lake City, UT, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday). Unlike other VOD systems, MovieBeam uses a part of an over-the-air television signal to transmit dozens of titles to a settop box, where they can be accessed at any time of the day. Although Disney said that the service was being shut down for an upgrade, it did not indicate when it will be relaunched.

LUCAS CONTEMPLATES LIFE AFTER STAR WARS

George Lucas appears to be ambivalent about his future career course after the final episode of Star Wars is released next month. On the one hand, he told Wired magazine, "I've earned the right to just make things that I find provocative in my own way. ... I've earned the right to fail, which means making what I think are really great movies that no one wants to see." On the other hand, he appears to be no less preoccupied with making commercially successful fare. "With film, if you get a million people to see your movie on the first weekend, you've made about $5 million. That basically will not end up on the top-10 chart," he told Wired. "You have to get 10 million people on the first weekend. And if you don't do it in two days, you're basically out of the theaters and into the DVD market. There's just an ecology there. If you're a mouse, don't expect to kill a lion, because it ain't gonna happen. If you want to have that kind of power, it's better to be a lion, because the mice are fine -- you can have a life and everything -- but the lions are the ones out there prowling and scaring the hell out of everybody."

BOLLYWOOD BOARDED BY PIRATES

Overseas movie piracy is producing financial losses for Indian moviemakers second only to their Hollywood counterparts, the Times of India indicated today (Wednesday). Citing figures from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the newspaper said that of six million pirated DVDs and VCDs seized in raids last year in Malaysia, 600,000 were copies of Indian movies. More than 125,000, it said, turned up in raids in the Netherlands. FICCI entertainment committee chairman Yash Chopra called for state governments in India to take a hard line on piracy, pointing out that after the state of Tamil Nadu cracked down on pirates, ticket sales in theaters jumped 300 percent.

MARYLAND GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO ATTRACT MOVIEMAKERS

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has signed into law a bill granting movie studios a tax credit, saying that it will keep HBO's The Wire filming in Baltimore. He pointed out that passage of the bill had already attracted two independent films that will generate about $30 million in direct spending in the state and more than double that in total impact. Today's (Wednesday) Baltimore Sun quoted Aris Mellissaratos, the state's business and economic development secretary, as saying: "We have built up a marvelous film industry over the last few years, but other states and Canada have begun offering generous incentive programs. ... We were likely to lose all that activity if we didn't have equivalent incentives."