EMMY NOMINEES ANNOUNCED
The Fox drama 24 and the TNT miniseries Into the West took front and center today (Thursday) as the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced nominations for this year's Emmy Awards. 24 received half as many nominations, 12, the most for any regular series, while Into the West received 16 nominations. 24 was closely followed by the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy, with 11 nominations. Besides Grey's and 24, Fox's House, HBO's The Sopranos, and NBC's final season of The West Wing were also nominated in the drama series category. Shows nominated for best comedy included Fox's Arrested Development, NBC's The Office and Scrubs, CBS's Two and a Half Men, and HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. Last year's big winners, Lost and Desperate Housewives did not receive nominations in the best series categories. For the sixth straight year, HBO received the most nominations, 95. ABC was second with 64. Winners are due to be announced on August 27.
AOL HALTS NETWORK AD BUYS FOR NEXT SEASON
Raising new questions about its longterm viability, AOL has canceled advertising deals made during the upfront market with broadcast and cable networks, Advertising Age reported on its website Wednesday. The trade publication, citing figures from Nielsen Monitor-Plus, noted that AOL spent $136 million on broadcast advertising and another $100 million on cable in 2005. A spokesperson for the company explained that it was "revamping our creative strategy" and therefore "thought it best to step back before making such a large commitment upfront." Today's (Thursday) Wall Street Journal reported that AOL is considering offering its entire service free to broadband users and transitioning to an operation that would be supported almost entirely by ad revenue.
AMERICA'S GOT TALENT GOT MOST VIEWERS
Nielsen's ratings for last week confused all but the experts as the show watched by most Americans ranked fourth in the overall ratings and three shows tied for sixth place. The anomalies resulted in part from the fact that audience size changes on different nights of the week and the ratings are based on a percentage of total viewers. NBC's America's Got Talent drew an audience of 11.02 million, but it was outranked on the Nielsen list by CBS's Without a Trace, which took first place with 10.87 million viewers. CBS's CSI and CSI: Miami tied for second place with 10.57 million viewers and 10.78 million respectively. CBS shows dominated the week with an average rating of 5.0 and a 9 share. Fox placed second with a 4.0/7, just edging out NBC with a 3.9/7. ABC trailed with a 3.0/5. On cable, the second part of AMC's Broken Trail miniseries attracted 9.77 million viewers, making it by far the most-watched show on cable. Part One drew 7.7 million viewers. BET's telecast of the annual BET Awards also performed strongly as it averaged 6.64 million viewers during its three-hour production. The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. Without a Trace, CBS, 7.4/13; 2. (tie) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 7.3/13; 2. (tie) CSI: Miami, CBS, 7.3/12; 4. America's Got Talent, NBC, 6.9/12; 5. House, Fox, 6.4/10; 6. (tie) CSI: NY, CBS, 6.0/10; 6. (tie) Law and Order, NBC, 6.0/10; 6. (tie) Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.0/10; 9. So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 5.8/10; 10. NCIS, CBS, 5.7/10.1.
BOB WOODRUFF RETURNS TO THE AIR
For the first time since he suffered massive injuries in Iraq last January, ABC correspondent Bob Woodruff returned to the air Wednesday night to update a report on his visit to North Korea in June 2005. In a statement, ABC announced, "Woodruff recorded a new lead-in and additional lines to his original report via phone from upstate New York." Meanwhile, Dan Rather appeared on Anderson Cooper's show on CNN Wednesday to talk about his own visit to North Korea last year. Somewhat surprisingly, Rather used CBS footage taken during his trip to illustrate his comments on the Cooper show. He showed an elaborate card section of a crowd at a sports stadium, remarking that at first the detail was so spectacular that he thought he was watching a giant television set, adding Rather-esqsue, "I would like to think I didn't just tumble off the turnip truck." While negotiating his exit from CBS, one of the sticking points, according to the reports at the time, was Rather's insistence that he have the right to use archived CBS news footage connected with his reporting.
MEXICO'S TELEVISION MAY LAUNCH NEW U.S. NETWORK
After failing to acquire Univision, the nation's largest Spanish-language broadcaster, Mexico's Grupo Televisa is now casting itself in the role of spoiler, maintaining that it has no intention to contribute its shares in Univision to the winning bidders, Umbrella Holdings, headed by media mogul Haim Saban. In an SEC filing, Televisa also said that not only is it considering selling its shares to another investor or group of investors, but that it is also considering starting a rival Spanish-language network. Currently Televisa supplies most of Univision's programming and has a contractual obligation to continue to do so until 2017. Today's (Thursday) Wall Street Journal reported that the company is still considering assembling a better bid than the one offered by Umbrella.
YOUNGER VOTERS INVITED TO OSCAR CLUB
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which has often been accused of being an old-man's club that is out of touch with the sensibilities of young filmmakers, has invited 120 actors, directors, producers, composers and other young industry members to fill the vacancies of those who have died or retired. Among those invited to join the group that hands out the Oscars each year is the 12-year-old actress Dakota Fanning. Others include actors Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Joaquin Phoenix, Dolly Parton, Keira Knightley and Rachel Weisz; German director Werner Herzog; composer Dario Marianelli; producer Cathy Shulman; screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière; and Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
WILL PIRATES CAPTURE MOVIEGOERS?
Following the failure of Warner Bros.' Superman Returns to meet analysts' predictions for its opening last week, studios are hoping that next weekend's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and some smaller films being released later in the month will help erase last year's 8.5 percent box-office slump, Bloomberg News observed today (Thursday). It said that three analysts that it surveyed on average expect Pirates to take in $97.4 million over the three-day weekend. The wire service quoted Exhibitor Relations chief Paul Dergarabedian as saying that when audiences are drawn to the movies by a blockbuster, they keep coming back. Similarly, Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook, taking note of the fact that the box office is 2 percent ahead of last year (but well behind 2004), observed, "We are off to a good start. ...What will really be the telling tale is if we can continue that momentum."
DISNEY'S MOVIE-TO-MUSICAL TARZAN FIZZLING ON BROADWAY
The Walt Disney company, whose animated films Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King metamorphosed to successful stage shows on Broadway, may be about to experience its first "mega-flop" as ticket sales slow for Tarzan, the New York Post reported Wednesday. One veteran Broadway producer, who was not identified, told the newspaper, "Tarzan is not going to close today or tomorrow because the advance is big. ... But right now they're taking out more money than they're taking in, and if that doesn't change, I don't care how big the advance is, they're going to blow through it sooner or later." David Schrader, managing director of Disney Theatrical, told the newspaper that the company plans to launch a major ad campaign in August. "August is one of the highest-selling ticket months," Shrader told the Post. "People take more time to read and see what's going on, and we're going to take advantage of that."
VIRGIN'S BRANSON LANDS CAMEO IN NEW OO7 FLICK
Virgin mogul Richard Branson has been cast in a cameo role in the upcoming James Bond flick, Casino Royale, the British gossip publication Hello! reported Wednesday. Branson, who was spotted on a beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica with Caterina Murino, the latest "Bond girl," told the magazine that he was "just a little excited" to have the part, in which he appears with his son Sam in a scene set in Miami airport. Murino, meanwhile, strongly supported the decision to replace Pierce Brosnan with Daniel Craig. "You never saw a James Bond like this," she told Hello! "This is new. ... When he's going to kill someone, he looks like a real killer. When he kisses me, when he makes love, he's so sexy."
NY TIMES REPORTER BARRED FROM FEDERAL PRISON IN L.A.
A reporter for the New York Times, which has been closely covering the Anthony Pellicano wiretapping case, has been barred from the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles after allegedly using her State Bar of California card to arrange a meeting with the investigator, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Thursday). The journalist, Allison Hope Weiner, was reportedly admitted to a room in the federal facility where inmates meet with their lawyers, but when guards brought Pellicano to the meeting room where Weiner was waiting, he refused to talk to her after learning she was a reporter. Pellicano said that he was "outraged" by what had occurred. In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, he said, "Based on my knowledge of MDC procedures, I believe this reporter misrepresented herself as my attorney by using her legal bar card to get in to see me." The New York Times confirmed that Weiner had been barred from the prison but denied that she had used subterfuge to land an interview with Pellicano. "Our reporter was very clear and forthright about her intentions and who she was," a spokeswoman for the Times said.