FOX'S REALITY SHOW DEBUTS IN TOP 10
Fox's new reality show Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy made the Nielsen top-ten list last week, one of only two non-CBS shows to do so. (The other was NBC's Law and Order: SVU.) Network coverage of the Democratic convention failed to make much of an impact at all. The highest convention rating of the week was scored by CBS's Thursday coverage, which wound up in 35th place. UPN's much-hyped Amish in the City landed in the 45th spot. CBS again dominated the ratings, even though they appeared minuscule compared with those during the regular season. CBS's 5.3 rating and 10 share, its lowest rating since the summer season ended last year, trounced second-place NBC's 3.8/7, with ABC (3.4/6) and ABC (3.3/6) following close behind. Despite the fact that CBS came in first in convention coverage, NBC's Nightly News won the evening news race with a 5.8/13 average. ABC's World News Tonight landed in second place with a 5.4/12, while CBS's Evening News pulled a 4.5/10. The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 8.7/15; 2. CSI: Miami, CBS, 7.8/13; 3. 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.7/16; 4. CBS Sunday Movie, The Pilot's Wife CBS, 7.3/12; 5. Cold Case, CBS, 7.0/13; 6. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.3/11; 7. Amazing Race: 5, CBS, 6.2/10; 8. Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, 6.0/10; 8. Law and Order: SVU, NBC, 6.0/10; 10. Trading Spouses, Fox, 5.9/10.
NYPD CHIEF REPORTEDLY SNUBBED ABC
Angry over some of the content included in ABC's warts-and-all documentary series NYPD 24/7 about the New York Police Department, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly intentionally snubbed Good Morning America when he appeared on morning talk shows on Monday to discuss the federal government's weekend terrorist alerts, New York Daily News media columnist Lloyd Grove reported today (Wednesday). The NYPD reportedly is claiming that ABC News execs reneged on an agreement not to air anything embarrassing to the department and to allow it to review anything that might appear so. "Such an arrangement between a government agency and a news organization would be highly unusual, to say the least," Grove commented. (Officially, the department blamed Kelly's non-appearance on scheduling problems.)
NIP/TUCK PULLS BIG RATINGS, LOSES ADVERTISERS
Although the FX cable channel's Nip/Tuck has become a big draw among young-adult viewers, several advertisers have dropped out of sponsoring the show following complaints from viewers and the TV watchdog group Parents Television Council, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Wednesday). Among the mainstream advertisers opting out are Cingular Wireless, Orkin Pest Control, Progressive Casualty Insurance Co., Gateway Inc., and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, the Times said. [Conspicuously absent from the newspaper's list were The Gap clothing stores, a particular target of the PTC, which sent the company a letter stating, "American families are being poisoned by the extremely offensive content in this show. Such TV programming is seriously harming America's children and grandchildren, and SPONSORS LIKE YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT WITH YOUR ADVERTISING BUDGET!" (Caps, theirs.)] A spokeswoman for Orkin told the Times: "Customers are vocal these days, and we listen." However, Tony Vinciquerra, president and CEO of Fox Networks Group, was quoted as saying: "It's not like we're begging for advertisers. ... There is a great demand for the show, and the [advertising rates] have been terrific."
ADELPHIA SETTLES SUIT WITH STUDIOS
The bankrupt cable-television firm Adelphia Communications has agreed to settle more than $1 billion in claims by the major motion picture studios for $8.1 million. The companies, in turn, have agreed to withdraw their lawsuits. Adelphia was charged with failing to pay royalties on movies that were broadcast on the cable service during 1992.
BSKYB SHARES FALL AS COMPANY SAYS IT WILL INCREASE SPENDING
Shares in News Corp-controlled BSkyB dived today (Wednesday) following the company's admission that it had added only 81,000 subscribers during the last quarter, far short of the projected 100,000. In a conference call with analysts, BSkyB CEO James Murdoch said that the company intends to embark upon an aggressive marketing and programming course to attract more subscribers to the satellite service, a strategy that would have to be paid for from revenue.
SAG WRANGLING HEATS UP
The National Board of the Screen Actors Guild emailed to its members Tuesday a copy of a resolution condemning the action of a group of Hollywood board members who called for the resignation of the union's executive director, Robert Pisano. Calling the action "unprecedented," the resolution chastises the dissident members for jeopardizing the strength of the union on the eve of crucial negotiations with movie and TV producers. "This action by the group of Hollywood board members threatens the future and livelihood of all SAG members," the resolution said. Dissidents have called Pisano, a former studio exec at MGM and Paramount and currently a member of the board of the DVD rental company Netflix, a "Trojan horse in our union." They have also begun legal action to have him removed, saying his Netflix connection represents a conflict of interest, given the fact that the union is attempting to increase DVD residuals paid to its members while Netflix wants to keep the prices of DVDs down.
IT'S ZERO FOR 321 STUDIOS
321 Studios, the company that sold software allowing users to make copies of DVDs and video games, shut its doors Tuesday, saying that injunctions obtained by the major studios against the distribution of its software had caused its collapse. A statement posted on its website states: "Thank you for visiting 321 Studios. 321 Studios regrets to inform you that it has ceased business operations including, but not limited to, the sale, support and promotion of our products. Despite 321 Studios' best efforts to remain in business, injunctions entered against 321 Studios by three US Federal courts earlier this year has resulted in 321 Studios no longer being able to continue operating the business."
WILL SHOE LADY'S DOC HAVE LEGS?
In yet another example of a film getting a boost of free publicity from controversy surrounding it, U.S.-based director Ramona Diaz's Imelda has become a huge hit in the Philippines just weeks after a judge issued an injunction against it and an appeals court quickly lifted it. The film earned $220,000 in its first weekend, beating out all of its competition, including Spider-Man 2. It is the first documentary ever to be released theatrically in the Philippines.
DISNEY SHARES DIP AS ANALYSTS SAY THE VILLAGE WON'T BE HUGE
Shares in the Walt Disney Co., after making a slight gain on Monday following the $50.7-million debut of The Village over the weekend, gave it up on Tuesday following analysts' speculation that the movie will not become the huge blockbuster that director M. Night Shyamalan's The Sixth Sense was. "Word of mouth hasn't been exactly inspiring on this picture, and neither were many reviews," commented TheMotleyFool.com's entertainment analyst Steven Mallas. New York Daily News financial columnist Phyllis Furman said that the movie's performance was not enough to "turn heads" on Wall Street and predicted it will wind up with about $145 million -- good, but far from great.
DISNEY ASKS AT TRIAL THAT TIGGER COSTUME BE DYED
In another effort to protect the image of its signature characters, the Walt Disney Co. attempted to have a Tigger costume worn by an employee at its Disney World park dyed black and white and its ears removed before it could be introduced as evidence in the trial of the employee, Michael Cartrand, who is accused of groping a 13-year-old visitor to the park. Defense lawyers intend to ask jurors to don the costume so that they will have an idea of how vision is limited inside it and how difficult it is to maneuver in. "Our hope is that the use of our costume will be handled with appropriate sensitivity so as to preserve the dreams and magic for our younger guests as much as possible," a Disney spokesman said after the judge rejected the request. Cartrand is expected to maintain that if he touched the girl inappropriately, he did so accidentally.