LOTS OF TV VIEWING GOING ON
A lot of viewers had their sets turned on at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday night: 23.71 million of them were watching Fox's American Idol. Another 9.95 million were watching a repeat of CBS's Criminal Minds. Another 9.35 million were tuned in to ABC's Lost. And last, and very much the least, 5.73 million were watching NBC's Life.. Meanwhile, CBS's new reality show, I Get That a Lot, in which celebrities pose as regular folks to fool regular folks, had an auspicious debut at 8:00 p.m. with 10.34 million viewers.
TV GUIDE CHANNEL TO DROP PROGRAM LISTINGS
TV Guide Channel is going the way of the magazine on which it was founded -- doing away with its scrolling listing of shows and becoming a more-or-less traditional basic cable outlet, perhaps even dropping the name "TV Guide" altogether, Advertising Age reported on its website Wednesday. The channel, acquired by Lionsgate last January, will reportedly feature programming from Lionsgate, other studios, or developed on its own. But AdAge observed that some cable operators may demand that the terms of their carriage deals with Lionsgate be renegotiated if the studio goes too far in altering its programming. One unnamed cable exec told AdAge: "We have the expectation from people that when we sign deals with them that they hold up their end of the bargain. ... They have carved out a niche and we pay for that niche."
STATIONS OPTED OUT OF CARRYING OSBOURNES
One of the reasons that Osbournes: Reloaded produced disappointing ratings on Fox Tuesday nigh -- despite airing after American Idol -- may have been related to the fact that "dozens" of stations in markets as large as Milwaukee refused to air it or aired it late at night. Broadcasting & Cable reported Wednesday that many of those stations based their decision on a screener that was sent to them by Fox, which included a scene featuring a stripteasing grandmother in silhouette. The scene however did not make it into the actual broadcast. "After seeing the clips we felt the Osbournes was not the right programming to follow family-friendly American Idol, WGHP Greensboro President/General Manager Karen Adams told the trade publication. Her station aired the episode after midnight.
OLDEST TV SHOW TO END -- MAYBE
CBS made it official Wednesday: it is switching off Guiding Light in September. The show is not only the longest-running soap opera, it like the longest-running program of any sort in the history of broadcasting. It was launched on radio (as The Guiding Light) in January 1937, then moved to television in 1952. In its lifetime, it won 69 Daytime Emmys. CBS did not announce a replacement, but TVWeek reported that the network is likely to air a new version of the game show The $25,000 Pyramid, a show that originated as The $10,000 Pyramid in 1973,in its time slot. The trade publication said that CBS is also considering programs that could be produced in-house. Meanwhile, Brian T. Cahill, head of TeleNext Media (formerly Procter and Gamble Productions), which produces the show, indicated Wednesday that Guiding Light may still stay one. He said that his company is "working hard to find the show a new home."
RUNWAY BACK ON TRACK
NBC Universal and the Weinstein Co. have settled the lawsuit that NBC filed after Weinstein moved Project Runway from the Bravo Channel to the Livetime Channel. NBC, which owns Bravo -- where Project Runway had resided for five years -- said that the settlement calls for Weinstein to pay it an undisclosed amount of money for the right to move the show. "All parties are pleased with the outcome," the statement said. Bravo is reportedly planning to launch a competing fashion show.
DIRECTOR FRIEDKIN TO DIRECT CSI EPISODE
Oscar-winning director William Friedkin, whose films include The French Connection, The Exorcist, and Cruising, has agreed to direct the 200th episode of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.