MOURNING IMUS?

The "other shoe" dropped on shock-jock Don Imus Thursday when CBS announced that it was canceling his radio program on its owned-and-operated WFAN-AM in New York and syndicated by its subsidiary Westwood One to stations all over the country. The cancellation came as Imus hosted a charity "radiothon" to raise money for The Tomorrow's Children Fund and The Imus Ranch, which aid underprivileged children. During the final broadcast he again apologized for his "idiotic" remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team but noted that he was employing language used in the black community. "One of the sad ironies of my stupidity," he said, is that at the Imus Ranch, "we sent six kids home because they couldn't stop calling girls bitches and hos." He repeatedly remarked that he had no intention of continuing to whine about his remarks and would no go on Larry King's program or be interviewed by Barbara Walters to repent. "I've dished it out for a long time, and now it's my time to take it," he said. Later he met privately with the Rutgers team. Neither the team nor Imus provided details of what was said.

CBS'S WEB SPREADS

CBS programs will soon begin popping up all over the Internet. The network said Thursday that it had signed deals with an assortment of websites -- including AOL, MSN, CNET, Comcast, Joost, Bebo, Sling Media, Netvibes, Brightcove and Yeoh -- to host its TV programs. Some of the same websites were included in an announcement of a similar deal with NBC and News Corp two weeks ago. But CBS said in a statement that its wider reach, built on its existing websites, solidifies its "position as the most widely distributed professional content provider on the Web." Reporting on the CBS strategy, Advertising Age commented on its website Thursday, "The breadth of the deals are a clear sign that CBS is placing many bets at a time when no one has yet emerged as the hit distributor for professional, copyrighted online video."

PBS STATIONS BRAVE POTENTIAL FCC FINES

Six public broadcasting stations -- in New York, Boston, Albany, San Francisco, Tampa, and Los Angeles -- have decided to brave the potential wrath of the FCC and broadcast an unedited version of Operation Homecoming on Monday, a documentary assessing the war in Iraq through the words of soldiers serving there. Some of those words are profanities, and some of the images are described as "graphic." Today's (Friday) Los Angeles Times reported that in all other cities, PBS stations are airing an edited version of the documentary, fearful of incurring fines for indecency otherwise. (Last year a PBS station in San Mateo, CA was fined for not bleeping expletives in a documentary about blues musicians.) In an interview with today's (Friday) Los Angeles Times, Tom Yellin, the documentary's executive producer, commented that the threat of sanctions to stations that air the unedited version "Is unfortunate and silly." He added: "What's really troubling in the film is not the language; it's the experience we're asking, as a country, an entire generation of men and women to subject themselves to."

SATELLITE TRANSPONDER HACKED BY REBEL GROUP

An unused transponder on one of Intelsat's satellites has been hijacked by Sri Lanka's rebel organization, the Tamil Tigers, Intelsat acknowledged Thursday. The transponder was being used to beam radio and television programs to the area, described by Sri Lankan officials as "propaganda." In a statement, Intelsat said, "We are clear in our resolve to ending this terrorist organizations unauthorized use of our satellite." However, an Intelsat lawyer told the Sri Lankan Daily News that locating the transponder being used by the rebel group and then shutting it down posed a difficult problem. "If you understand the satellite technology it is quite a complex task and it will be done as soon as possible," he said. The development obviously raised a thorny security issue for the satellite provider: how difficult is it for any group to gain access its system and use it for pirate broadcasts?

TUCKER CARLSON -- THE GAME SHOW HOST

Tucker Carlson is going from conservative commentator to talk show host to dance contestant to game-show host. Carlson, whose bowties drew as much attention as his opinions when he co-hosted CNN's Crossfire, jumped to MSNBC, doffing his bowties and much of his right-wing punditry in the process. Last year, he turned up as a contestant on ABC's Dancing With the Stars but was eliminated in the first round. He has now been tapped to host the pilot of a game show, Do You Trust Me? He appears to be following in the footsteps of other former news personalities dating back to the early days of television when ABC anchor John Daly hosted another game show that ended in a question mark: What's My Line?

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.