SURVIVOR FINALE CAN'T SURVIVE HOUSEWIVES
The finale of CBS's Survivor: Vanuatu ran headlong into ABC's Desperate Housewives Sunday night, and the resulting collision left Survivor with ratings that were 24 percent below those for the finale of Survivor: Pearl Islands a year ago. Without the Housewives competition, the reality show held its own, however, winning the 8:00 p.m. and the 10:00 p.m. hours handily. Housewives, which received five Golden Globe TV nominations today -- more than any other program -- was the highest-rated program of the night, scoring a 16.3 rating and a 23 share. Nevertheless, Survivor's win in two of its three hours, plus the usual strong performance of 60 Minutes at 7:00 p.m., gave CBS a win for the night as the network averaged a 10.9/16. ABC was close behind with a 10.2/15. Fox, thanks to a football overrun at 7:00 p.m., placed third with a 6.3/9, beating out NBC, which recorded a 5.9/9.
RATHERGATE REPORT UNLIKELY THIS MONTH, SAYS PAPER
The panel looking into Dan Rather's discredited report about George W. Bush's National Guard service is continuing to interview CBS News staffers and, given the approaching Christmas and New Year's holidays, is unlikely to present its final report before next month, USA Today observed today (Monday). There had been numerous published predictions that the panel's report would be issued this week.
CHUNG SAYS FEMALE ANCHOR IS "LONG OVERDUE"
Network news executives continue to live in "the Dark Ages" and are unlikely to name a woman as anchor of a nightly newscast, even though "it's long overdue," Connie Chung has told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Chung is one of just two women who have ever co-anchored a nightly network newscast. (The other is Barbara Walters.) Chung, who co-anchored the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in 1994 and '95, predicted that the next network anchor won't work solo. She told the Inquirer that the networks "can't bring themselves to do it. It's just too dramatic. A man-and-woman team is utterly, predictably boring. It's safer, and more common throughout local news."
HISPANICS REMAIN IGNORED BY NETWORK NEWSCASTS, SAYS REPORT
Television news coverage of Hispanics continued to be limited mostly to crime and immigration stories last year, according to a report prepared for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. An analysis of stories featured on the nightly newscasts of the three major networks and CNN in 2003 concluded that Hispanics were featured in a total of 131 stories of a total of 16,000 or 0.82 percent.
FIRE ON SET OF STEPHEN KING MINISERIES HALTS PRODUCTION
Officials in Tucson, AZ have indicated that special effects equipment being used during the shooting of a Stephen King TV miniseries at the city's convention center may have triggered a fire that injured five people Friday night. A spokesman for the Tucson Fire Department said that investigators are seeking to determine whether the fire may have broken out as dust was being released during the shooting of a mine shaft collapse for the miniseries Desperation. Police officials said that the resulting fire destroyed or seriously damaged camera and sound equipment, the set itself, and numerous props.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE BLACK FEMALE VIEWERS GONE?
So many black female viewers have quit watching UPN sitcoms that the network is being forced to shell out millions of dollars worth of "makegoods" to advertisers, Mediaweek reported today (Monday). While UPN appears to be affected by the drop-off more than other networks, an unnamed Viacom exec told the trade publication, "This situation doesn't seem to be confined to just UPN, and not just confined to primetime. How broad it is, we don't know, but it does affect other networks and other dayparts." Mediaweek pointed out that ratings for the WB's Steve Harvey's Big Time are down 25 percent among black women 18-34 while ratings for the network's Gilmore Girls, a show that has never proved to be popular among blacks, is up 19 percent among black women 18-34.
BILLIONS PAID FOR TV RIGHTS FOR FRENCH SOCCER
Vivendi Universal's Canal Plus satellite service has signed a $2.4 billion contract to air French soccer matches for the next three years. Like football contracts in the U.S. and soccer contracts in the U.K., the deal represents a loss leader; Canal is expected to lose nearly $450 million per year on the deal.
FROM SEA TO SHINING SEE
Ocean's Twelve succeeded in swiping about as much money from moviegoers as the characters in the movie did from their marks -- $40.9 million, according to initial estimates. Only the Lord of the Rings films took in more in a December opening. Blade: Trinity didn't quite take the same cut out of the box office as the previous sequel did, but its $16.1 million over the three-day weekend and $24.6 million since its debut on Wednesday was described as "solid" by New Line, its distributor. After holding the lead for three weeks, Disney's National Treasure fell to third place, grossing $10 million. In fourth place was Warners' The Polar Express, continuing to chug along quite nicely with $9.8 million, to bring its total to date to $110 million. Ticket sales for the top 12 films totaled $102.8 million, 28 percent above the comparable week a year ago, according to Exhibitor Relations.
The top ten films for the weekend, according to studio estimates compiled by Exhibitor Relations:
1. Ocean's Twelve, $40.9 million; 2. Blade: Trinity, $16.1 million; 3. National Treasure, $10 million; 4. The Polar Express, $9.8 million; 5. Christmas With the Kranks, $7.6 million; 6. The Incredibles, $5.05 million; 7. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, $4.4 million; 8. Closer, $3.75 million; 9. Finding Neverland, $1.7 million; 10. Alexander, $1.4 million.
SUPREME COURT TO RULE ON PEER-TO-PEER NETWORKS
Faced with seemingly conflicting lower-court rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider the legality of Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing services, which are often used to pirate recordings, music and software. Both sides welcomed the court's decision. In a statement, MPAA President Dan Glickman said that the high court "has the ability to address the legal liability of companies that abuse and profit from technologies whose primary use is to illegally redistribute copyrighted materials." On the other hand, the peer-to-peer networks insisted that their technology could be used as an alternate means of distribution by the companies that are currently battling them. Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a technology advocacy group, told the Los Angeles Times, "The content companies have a long history of harnessing new technologies to their financial benefit."
JAPANESE NEWSPAPER WARNS OF NEW FORMAT WAR
In an editorial, the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun, has expressed disappointment over the decision by the Walt Disney Co. to endorse the Sony Blu-ray system for manufacturing high-definition DVDs. Disney's decision divides the film industry evenly in a format battle between Blu-ray and the competing HD-DVD system. Disney's stand, the newspaper said, "has increased the possibility that consumers, electronics manufacturers or both will be the real losers of the format war over next-generation video discs." It also sets the stage for a replay of the VHS-Betamax showdown. On the other hand, the editorial noted, some electronics industry officials suspect "that by not giving a definitive advantage to either standard, the Hollywood studios may be trying to delay the introduction of next-generation discs, which call for huge capital investments."
SIDEWAYS RECEIVES SEVEN GOLDEN GLOBE NODS
Alexander Payne's Sideways received seven Golden Globe nominations today (Monday), while Jamie Foxx single-handedly received three nominations, for his performances in the theatrical movies Ray and Collateral and the TV movie Redemption. The Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator received six nominations. Along with Sideways, other films nominated in the best musical or comedy category were: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Incredibles, The Phantom of the Opera, and Ray. Other films nominated in the dramatic category were: Closer, Finding Neverland, Hotel Rwanda, Kinsey, and Million Dollar Baby. Winners are due to be announced on Jan. 16 in ceremonies to be televised by NBC.
SIDEWAYS WINS BIG AT L.A. FILM CRITICS AWARDS
The Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. heaped awards aplenty on Alexander Payne's Sideways, voting it best picture of 2004. Payne received the best director award and shared the screenwriting award with longtime collaborator Jim Taylor. The film also garnered honors for supporting actors Thomas Haden Church and Virginia Madsen. Liam Neeson won for best actor for his performance in the title role of Kinsey and Imelda Staunton took the best actress award for her portrayal of a backstreet abortionist in Vera Drake. Overseas, Fatih Akin's Head-On received the award for best European film at the 17th European Film Awards in Barcelona. Spain's Alejandro Aménabar was voted best director for The Sea Inside. Imelda Staunton received the best European actress award for the British film Vera Drake, and Javier Bardem won the best European actor award for The Sea Inside.