i>DANCING DEALS DEAL A BLOW
ABC's Dancing With the Stars continued to dominate the Monday-night ratings as it posted an average 11.8 rating and a 16 share during its 90-minute telecast between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Meanwhile on NBC, a two-hour edition of Deal or No Deal, which usually wins the night whenever Dancing isn't on the air, averaged a third-place 5.8/8 opposite Dancing, then zoomed to a first-place 7.3/11 at 9:30 when Dancing signed off. Taking over the lead at 10:00 p.m. was CBS's old standby CSI:Miami with a 9.7/16. For the night, ABC was the winner with an average 8.8/14. CBS came in second with a 7.3/11. NBC followed with a 6.3/10, while Fox trailed with a 5.3/8.
WITHOUT A PILOT, NEW SHOW CRASHES
Suggesting that bringing a new television series onto the air without making a pilot first might not be such a great money-saving idea after all, NBC on Monday parted ways with producers Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, who had been preparing the initial episodes of the NBC drama The Philanthropist, due to premiere in January. The Hollywood trade press suggested that network executives had found themselves at odds with the pair over the tone of the show. The Hollywood Reporter said that Fontana's "vision was too dark for the network," while Daily Variety observed that while Fontana wanted to create "a show that was comfortable exploring social issues, for example -- Peacock execs kept pushing for more escapism and a feeling of wish fulfillment." Fontana and his staff had reportedly completed six scripts that were about to skip the pilot phase of developoment and go directly into production.
COURIC LOSES CHANCE TO MODERATE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE
Katie Couric's hopes of finally being able to moderate a Democratic presidential debate were dashed Monday when the North Carolina Democratic Party canceled the debate she had hoped to co-host on Sunday, citing the lack of a commitment by Sen. Barack Obama to participate and concerns that the growing personal attacks by Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton might damage party unity. Obama is expected to win the North Carolina primary handily. In an interview with today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times, CBS News Senior VP Paul Friedman said that the planned debate, which Couric had been tapped to moderate, "would have been good for us in the sense that it would have shown Katie's skills. ... She's a very good interviewer and passionate about politics. So it would have been good for her. On the other hand, she's done a lot of great work for which she hasn't gotten any credit or recognition."
NETS ABANDON PRIMARY COVERAGE
The major television networks have no plans to interrupt their regular programming to present reports about results in today's (Tuesday) crucial primary election in Pennsylvania. NBC plans to move Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and other correspondents who have been covering the campaign to its cable outlet, MSNBC, for reports on the voting. CBS and ABC, which operate no cable news outlets, are likely to run a "crawl" at the bottom of the screen for updates. Fox, which airs no regular news programming at all, will leave coverage of the primary voting in the hands of its sibling Fox News Channel. Sam Roberts, chairman of the University of Miami's broadcast journalism department and a former CBS producer, told the Miami Herald that political coverage has become "strictly a cable event." Local stations in Pennsylvania are expected to air brief live cut-ins throughout the night, but Corrie Harding, news director of NBC affiliate WPXI-TV, vowed during an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "We'll really try hard not to mess up people's Law & Order: SVU experience."