MEMOGATE RISES AGAINSome of the principals in the CBS Memogate scandal have responded to initial accusations by Mary Mapes, the producer of the discredited report about President Bush's National Guard Service, that appeared Monday in Vanity Fairmagazine. In an excerpt from her forthcoming book about the scandal and her role in it, Mapes said that the independent panel who interviewed her about the report asked her whether she regarded herself as a liberal. She wrote that the questioning reminded her of Senator Joseph McCarthy's during the Communist-hunting days of the 1950s. But in an interview with the Associated Press, former A.P. chief Louis Boccardi, who co-chaired the panel, said that it was important to ask Mapes about her politics in order to respond to accusations that the report was motivated by political bias. Mapes also said that she objected to a decision by the show's producer, Josh Howard, to cut out references to her interview with Texas National Guard Major General Bobby Hodges, which, she said, corroborated statements contained in the disputed memos. Howard told the A.P. Monday that at the time the broadcast was being prepared Mapes did not object to the changes and that he elected to remove the reference to Hodges because it was given off the record. In an official statement, CBS News said that Mapes' "actions damaged CBS News as an organization and brought pain to many colleagues with whom she worked."


Capping an incident that could cost him the anchor position on the CBS Evening News, CBS News's White House correspondent John Roberts has apologized for his choice of words at an informal meeting between reporters and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan Monday. Roberts had asked McClellan whether, following the decision of Harriet Miers to remove her name from consideration as a Supreme Court justice, the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito could be considered "sloppy seconds" (a slang term with sexual connotations). In a message to the CBS blog "Public Eye," Roberts wrote: "Please be assured that there was no perjorative (sic) intent to my question. ... It was one of those 'oops' moments which we wish we could rewind and rerecord."


Martha Stewart has disclosed that the producers of The Apprenticehad considered dropping Donald Trump from the show and replacing him with her. When she originally agreed to do the NBC reality series, "I thought I was replacing The Donald," Stewart remarks in Fortunemagazine's Nov. 14 edition. Trump himself was not informed of such plans. "I don't think he ever knew," Stewart told the magazine. As things turned out, Stewart's Apprenticehas fared poorly in the ratings, while Trump's version performs decently, but no where near the ratings level it had reached in recent years.


ABC has awarded Grey's Anatomythe time slot following next year's Super Bowl. Last Sunday, the show drew the highest ratings of the night -- higher even than its lead-in Desperate Housewives (which aired a rerun). "The producers are preparing a great episode that will appeal to new viewers as well as devoted fans," ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson said in a statement. "It's the perfect conclusion to one of TV's biggest days."