CBS, FOX SWEEP UP
CBS sailed to an easy victory in the first full week of the May sweeps last week among overall viewers, while Fox led among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Research. Not only was Fox helped by the usual editions of American Idol, but an additional episode of the medical drama House also made it into the Nielsen top ten. ABC, meanwhile, scored strong numbers for Desperate Housewives and Lost but saw its overall ratings for those hits decline significantly from last season. The network's Grey's Anatomy continued to improve, however. CBS won the week with an average 8.0 rating and a 13 share, followed by Fox with a 6.5/11. NBC placed third with a 6.0/10, while ABC trailed with a 5.5/9. The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 16.9/25; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 16.6/26; 3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 16.2/25; 4. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 13.6/22; 5. House (Tuesday), Fox, 13.5/20; 6. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 13.3/20; 7. Without a Trace, CBS, 12.8/21; 8. CSI: Miami, CBS, 12.5/20; 9. House (Wednesday), Fox, 10.5/17; 10. Law and Order: SVU, NBC, 10.2/16.
FOX DOES HOUSE CLEANING
Fox, already a powerhouse on Tuesday nights, utterly overwhelmed the competition last night with the combination of American Idol and House. According to Nielsen overnights, American Idol captured a 16.9 rating and a 25 share in the 8:00 p.m. hour, while House trounced its rivals at 9:00 p.m. with a 15.6/22. Analysts were predicting that when final figures are released in the 18-49 demo, they will show Fox garnering an audience that nearly equaled that of all of its rivals combined. Meanwhile, the second part of ABC's killer-bug drama, Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America, could only muster 4.1/6.
ITUNES TO CARRY FOX SHOWS
Video content on Apple's iTunes Music Store is due to swell with the addition of 16 series and 270 episodes from News Corp's Fox TV and its cable channels, FX and Speed and Fuel TV. The deal follows the conclusion of an agreement with Fox TV affiliates in which they will share in revenue from content sold online. Fox becomes the third major network to provide programs for sale on iTunes immediately after they air. CBS remains the only major hold-out; however, it is expected to sign a separate deal with Apple soon.
YAHOO!, TELEMUNDO TO MERGE, SAY REPORTS
In the latest act of convergence between a traditional television company and an Internet company, Yahoo! and Telemundo, the nation's largest Spanish-speaking TV network, will reportedly merge their websites. According to today's (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal the two entities plan to announce later today that they will combine their online staff and share advertising revenue. The deal is expected to result in Telemundo programs being made available on demand on the Yahoo! website. Telemundo is a unit of NBC Universal, which in turn is owned by GE.
WATCH INTERNET VIDEO ON TV WITH TIVO
In the first of what is expected to be a series of deals that will allow TiVo subscribers to view online video content on their TV sets, TiVo has signed a deal with Cambridge, MA-based Brightcove for video from six to twelve programmers beginning next month. Brightcove did not indicate what kind of video will be included in the TiVo service.
BLAINE TRAINER SAYS BREATH STUNT ALMOST WENT AWRY
In his attempt to challenge the "breath hold" record of 8 minutes and 58 seconds, magician David Blaine lapsed into unconsciousness on national television Monday night and was convulsing when rescuers brought him to the surface of a spherical aquarium in New York's Lincoln Center where he had been submerged for a week, one of the rescuers told the Associated Press Tuesday. Professional freediving trainer Kirk Krack, who had worked with Blaine before the stunt, told the A.P.: "I wasn't focused on records; I was thinking of a rescue. ... If we hadn't intervened, he would still be at the bottom of the sphere doing a breath-hold." The wire service said that Blaine was in a wheel chair as he left Roosevelt Hospital in New York Tuesday and that friends helped him walk to a waiting car that drove him home.
DISNEY: FILM STUDIO RETREATS; TV SAVES DAY
Although profits from Disney's film division plunged 39 percent and revenue, 22 percent, income from ABC, ESPN, and Disney theme parks more than offset the studio's losses in the second quarter. The media giant reported a 12-percent rise in net income to $733 million compared with $657 million during the same quarter a year ago. Total revenue rose 3 percent to $8.03 billion. The company's biggest winner was its long-distressed ABC unit, which, thanks to shows like Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, and Lost, reported a 28-percent rise in revenue for the quarter. Surprisingly, the high cost of gasoline did not prevent vistors from packing the Disney theme parks, which saw operating income rise 17 percent to $214 million. The results announcement appeared to have little effect on Disney stock.
VIACOM, CBS IN SIBLING RIVALRY
Former conjoined twins Viacom and CBS are suffering the after-effects of separation, with CBS claiming that Viacom owes it $293 million, according to today's (Wednesday) Wall Street Journal. The dispute centers over a rather complicated arrangement under which the two companies agreed to split up the old Viacom's debt. While the dispute could go to arbitration, a Viacom spokesman told the Journal: "We are optimistic that the good faith differences between the two parties can be resolved as we exchange more information about our respective positions."
DISNEY AND MCDONALD'S STILL ENGAGED, SAYS REPORT
Both the Walt Disney Co. and McDonald's have denied a Los Angeles Times report claiming that they have ended their marketing and promotional relationship. The Times, citing "multiple high-ranking sources" within Disney, reported that the company was responding to health activists who attributed the growing number of overweight children, in part, to fast-food chains. McDonald's said that the Times story was "based on Hollywood hearsay" and was "a misrepresentation of the truth." Disney responded that while its exclusive contract with McDonald's "will expire at the end of the year, we look forward to a more flexible, non-exclusive relationship where we will be working with them on a case by case basis."
HONG KONG JUDGE TIGHTENS UP ON CENSORHIP
Three Hong Kong film companies have obtained a court order demanding that four of the island's Internet service providers identify 49 customers suspected of using the BitTorrent file-sharing site to download movies. Hong Kong news reports said that the move represents the first time that local filmmakers had joined in taking legal action against movie pirates. The ISPs have 21 days in which to provide the names, mailing addresses and IP addresses of the alleged offenders.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III ACCOMPLISHES IMPOSSIBLE IN U.K.
The debut of Mission: Impossible III may have been regarded as a disappointment in the U.S. and Canada, where the film performed well below analysts' expectations, but it was deemed a bona fide blockbuster in the U.K. and Ireland, where it earned $9.9 million over the weekend, the BBC reported today (Wednesday). By comparison, the original M:I earned $7.8 million in its U.K. debut in 1996, while M:I II brought in $8.6 million. However, none of the films came close to equaling the $16 million that last year's Cruise starrer, War of the Worlds, registered when it opened in July.
SINGAPORE BARS KIDS FROM SEEING CODE
Singapore's board of film censors has barred moviegoers 16 years and younger from buying tickets to see The Da Vinci Codebecause, the board said, some children might view it as fact. "Only a mature audience will be able to discern and differentiate between fact and fiction," the censor board ruled. Meanwhile, a senior official of the Catholic church in the Philippines has urged the government to do all in its power to ban the movie. Eduardo Ermita said that it would "confuse" Catholics. "We being a Catholic country, I think we should do everything not to allow it to be shown," he said. "At the least as a Catholic, it is blasphemous."