IRAQ TV CORRESPONDENTS SPAR WITH MCCAIN
TV news correspondents in Baghdad were at odds Thursday with Arizona Senator John McCain over his assertion that the news media are misrepresenting the effectiveness of the so-called surge in Iraq. "There are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods today. The U.S. is beginning to succeed in Iraq," McCain had said on a radio show hosted by former drug czar William Bennett. On CNN, Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware remarked, "To suggest that there's any neighborhood in this city where an American can walk freely is beyond ludicrous. ... I don't know what part of Neverland Senator McCain is talking about when he says we can go strolling in Baghdad." On the CBSNews.com website, Allen Pizzey, the CBS correspondent in Baghdad, wrote: "No one in their right mind goes on the streets here without security. ... For Senator McCain to claim there are places here where all is well is to woefully minimize the dangers faced by the troops he otherwise so admirably supports. ... Any time Senator McCain wants to walk the streets of Baghdad, unarmed and without a serious security detail, we'd be glad to lend him a camera so he can record his experience."
DONNY OSMOND GETS WAKE-UP CALL
After only one week on the air, ABC's Great American Dream Vote has received a no-confidence vote from ABC executives and has been dropped from the network's schedule. Hosted by Donny Osmond, the show offered hope to contestants that they would be able to realize their dreams. But Tuesday's debut, coming out of the ABC hit Dancing With the Stars, lost two-thirds of Dancing's viewers. On Wednesday, in what was supposed to have been its regular time slot, it landed in fifth place, beaten even by the typically lowest-rated CW. ABC plans to air two episodes of George Lopez next week in the Wednesday time period.
THERE SHE GOES
Miss America is homeless again. Two years after being dropped by CBS, then picked up by cable network CMT, the Atlantic City beauty pageant has again been given walking orders and is looking for a new suitor. CMT General Manager Brian Philips said in a statement that the cable network wanted to focus on building its existing series and launching more original series and music specials. Meanwhile NBC announced Wednesday that it has renewed its contract with the Donald Trump-controlled Miss Universe organization to air the Miss Universe contest through 2011.
SIRIUS TO START TRANSMITTING TV -- TO CARS
Sirius, the satellite radio company, is getting into the television business with Chrysler. The two companies announced Thursday that Sirius will broadcast the programs of three children's cable TV networks, Disney, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, to several Chrysler models equipped with Sirius Backseat TV setups, beginning with the 2008 model-year lineup. Models include the Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan minivans, the 2008 Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Jeep Commander and Jeep Grand Cherokee. In a statement, Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin said, "I am pleased to have the three most original family-centered programming providers in TV."
ANTI-SANJAYA HUNGER STRIKER "WEAK BUT OKAY"
A MySpace blogger who had vowed to go on a hunger strike so long as contestant Sanjaya Malakar remained on the show touched off expressions of concern Thursday when she failed to update her daily blog. On the TMZ gossip site, an editor wrote, "Let us know you're OK. And have a steak or something -- Sanjaya isn't going anywhere any time soon." Later in the day, the anti-Sanjaya blogger, known only as "J," posted a message apologizing for not keeping her website current, then concluded: "I am still feeling kind of weak but okay. not at the point of hospitalization yet, thank goodness. it won't be long now until Sanjaya is gone!"