i>CRASHERS PUNK'D IN RATINGS CRASH

The Ashton Kutcher-produced The Real Wedding Crashers crashed and burned Monday night, averaging only a 5.0 rating and an 8 share in the 10:00 p.m. hour on NBC, according to Nielsen overnights. That compared with a 12.1/10 for CBS's CSI: Miami and a 6.1/10 for ABC's The Bachelor in the same hour. Still, the figures for Crashers were a bit higher than those for The Black Donnellys, the former occupant of the time slot on NBC. ABC's Dancing With the Stars, meanwhile, remained the stand-out for the night, posting an average 13.7/21 between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., peaking in the final half hour with a 14.6/21.

CBS CALLS REPORT ABOUT COURIC "FICTION"

CBS has denounced a report in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer that quoted unnamed CBS correspondents as saying that management had concluded that it had made a mistake when it installed Katie Couric as anchor of the CBS Evening News and that they had decided to replace her following the 2008 presidential elections. "Apparently the Philadelphia Inquirer has decided that fiction sells more newspapers than fact," the network said. It called the article "beyond ridiculous -- unfounded, gratuitous, utterly malicious and most importantly, untrue." Meanwhile, today's (Tuesday) New York Post quoted one insider as saying, "The notion that a news division would make that kind of decision that far in advance, with that sort of deadline, isn't likely."

SOME CLIPS PULLED BY VIACOM TO RETURN TO YOUTUBE

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has agreed to drop its suit against Viacom, which it initiated after Viacom demanded that YouTube remove more than 100,000 videos from its site, claiming they were infringing Viacom's copyright. In a message posted on the EFF site Monday, the consumer group said, "Viacom acknowledged their mistake, told us about the policies it has put in place to protect fair use on YouTube and agreed to introduce improvements to those policies." Instead of issuing blanket take-down orders, the EFF said, Viacom had agreed to direct its employees, who would be trained to understand fair-use rules, to review all videos individually before demanding that any be taken down.

HARMON MAY WALK OUT OF NCIS

NCIS co-star Mark Harmon is embroiled in a dispute with the show's producer, Don Bellisario, over Bellisario's "chaotic management style," and is ready to walk off the show, TV Guide reported on its website Monday. The report suggested that poor production planning was causing Harmon to put in 16 hours a day. It said that he sometimes doesn't see pages of the script until they are faxed to the set at the last moment. "Mark is tired of dealing with the huge impact that makes on his life," the magazine's source said. (In the early days of his career, Harmon used to take jobs on construction crews just to keep in touch with mainstream life.) The TV Guide source concluded that Harmon "doesn't complain easily. For him to [threaten a walk-out] means the situation is very bad."

PRODUCERS PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE WRITERS STRIKE

Anticipating a possible strike by members of the Writers Guild of America this fall, the television networks are making decisions on renewals far earlier than usual and some shows have already begun shooting for the 2007-2008 season, the Los Angeles Times observed today (Tuesday). The newspaper said that Gary Scott Thompson, who writes and exec produces NBC's Las Vegas, plans to begin production for the coming season on Monday -- three months earlier than usual. The show "will be strike-proof," Thompson told the newspaper. Another series, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is currently shooting its ninth season. Dick Wolf, the show's executive producer, told the Times, "I firmly believe that the potential for a strike is much greater and more ominous than many people are saying. ... Therefore, we're going to make as many episodes as possible before a strike takes place."

NBC TAKES FIGURE SKATING CONTEST AWAY FROM ABC

For the first time since 1963, the U.S. Figure Skating Championship will not be televised by ABC but will instead be carried by NBC, the sport's national governing body announced Monday. The deal calls for the top events to air over a single weekend instead of being scattered over the week as has been the case in the past. "I would not have been interested, no matter what the deal was, if they did not have this innovative scheduling," NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "They have radically reformatted it. It's terrific. It's almost like creating their own Final Four of figure skating."

FCC TO SEEK TO BAN VIOLENCE BEFORE 10:00 P.M.

The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to recommend to Congress that legislation be enacted to restrict the airing of violent television shows before 10:00 p.m., the Washington Post reported today (Tuesday), citing government and TV industry sources. The legislation would give the FCC authority to fine broadcast TV networks and stations that air violent programming in the same manner that it may do so in the case of "indecent" programming. In an interview with the Post, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said, "I think it would be better if the industry addressed this on its own, but we can also give parents" help through regulation.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.