THE $42-MILLION-A-WEEK SHOW

With ads each costing $623,000 per 30 seconds, Fox's American Idol brings in about $7 million for each 30-minute segment, or $42 million on an average week when it airs a two-hour performance show and a one-hour results show, according to Forbes. The magazine, which cited estimates of commercial revenue by TNS Media Intelligence, noted that Fox's 24 was network television's second most lucrative show, bringing in $3.7 million for a 30-second spot and $366,000 per half-hour segment. CBS, the overall ratings leader only had two shows in Forbes's top ten list, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, its highest-rated program, was not one of them. (It came in at No. 11.) ABC, however, landed five shows in the top ten, the most of any network. NBC, which often fails to place a single show in the top 20, won one spot in the top ten with Heroes, which came in at No. 8 ahead of the ninth- and tenth-ranked shows which take in slightly more total revenue, presumably because it has a smaller audience and therefore has a higher cost-per-thousand pricetag.

The top ten moneymakers on network television according to Forbes magazine, listed by rank, revenue per 30 minutes, and average cost per 30-second spot:

1. American Idol (Fox), $7 million, $623,000; 24 (Fox), $3.7 million, $366,000; 3. Desperate Housewives (ABC), $2.9 million, $251,000; 4. Grey's Anatomy (ABC), $2.7 million, $224,000; 5. Two and a Half Men (CBS), $2.6 million, $227,000; 6. Dancing With the Stars Results Show (ABC), $2.5 million, $205,000; 7. Dancing With the Stars Performance Show (ABC), $2.4 million, $195,000; 8. Heroes (NBC), $2.1 million, $194,000; 9. Brothers & Sisters (ABC), $2.1 million; $195,000; 10. Survivor: Gabon $2.1 million, $204,000.

DVR RECORDING KILLING 10:00 P.M. SHOWS

One of the reasons why ratings for TV shows that air at 10:00 p.m. are falling may be that viewers are watching shows that they recorded at 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. in that hour. According to the digital video recorder company TiVo, nearly 60 percent of its customers recorded shows airing in the earlier hours. In a statement, Todd Juenger, head of audience research for TiVo, said: "Much of the time-shifted viewing from the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. airings stomps out the audience that would historically watch 10 p.m. programming in live mode. ... While some viewers [53 percent, according to the study] will record programs aired at 10 p.m. for viewing later in the week, many are abandoning that hour of television altogether."

A MICROPHONE ESPECIALLY FOR THE LADIES

Traditionally, most microphones employed by broadcasters have been designed to enhance the male voice. But Neumann, one of the largest manufacturers of studio microphones, announced Thursday that it has developed the new KMS 104 Plus that is optimized to improve female voices. The handheld mic, the company said, boosts the bass range in the human voice, making female voices sound fuller and provides "optimal intelligibility of words." For good measure it is also "supplied in a padded nylon case."

L.A. TIMES EMPLOYEES PROTEST FRONT-PAGE AD

Employees of the Los Angeles Times have begun circulating a petition protesting the NBC advertisement, which included a mock news article, that appeared on the newspaper's front page Thursday to promote the new TV series Southland. "The NBC ad may have provided some quick cash, but it has caused incalculable damage to this institution," the petition, which reportedly had been signed by 100 employees by Thursday afternoon, said. "This action violates a 128-year pact with our readers that the front page is reserved for the most meaningful stories of the day. Placing a fake news article on A-1 makes a mockery of our integrity and our journalistic standards. ...Our willingness to sell our most precious real estate to an advertiser is embarrassing and demoralizing." However, Publisher Eddy W. Hartenstein told today's (Friday) edition of the newspaper: "Because of the times that we're in, we have to look at all sorts of different -- and some would say innovative -- new solutions for our advertising clients." And Dan Kennedy, assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University in Boston, said in an interview with today's New York Times, "When you don't need to do this, then maybe you shouldn't, but given that we're in pretty desperate times ... far better that The L.A. Times do this than say no to the revenue and end up having to cut back on their actual news coverage."

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