SCOTUS RULING GREETED WITH PRAISE, EXPLETIVES
The Supreme Court's ruling on Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission was within its rights to levy fines against broadcasters who broadcast "fleeting expletives" will likely have little effect until the courts rule on whether the law barring such utterances -- and other "indecent" material -- on the air is constitutional, several analysts observed Tuesday. "We are almost certainly destined for another few years of this legal battle," commented CBS News's chief legal analyst Andrew Cohen, who noted that "if the Court's makeup remains the same for the next few years" it will most likely rule similarly on the broader constitutional issue. Meanwhile, the FCC and several conservative groups hailed the Court's decision while broadcasters and liberal groups decried it. Tim Winter, president of the Parents Television Council, the group that deluged the FCC with complaints about the offending programs, called the ruling "an incredible victory for families." Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said that the ruling "sends an unmistakable message to broadcasters: If you foul the public airwaves, you face the fine." Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, commented that the court "acted in a manner that can only serve to protect the viewing public -- especially children." And interim FCC Chairman Michael Copps, a Democrat, called the ruling "a big win for families." But Fox Television, which had brought the original case against the FCC, said that while it would have preferred the court to have ruled in its favor, it expected to win on the broader constitutional free-speech issue when it ultimately comes before the high court.
STUDY: CONSERVATIVES THINK COLBERT IS ONE OF THEM
Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert has become the subject of an academic survey conducted at Ohio State University titled "The Irony of Satire: Political Ideology and the Motivation to See What You Want to See in The Colbert Report." The survey, conducted among 332 undergraduates, concluded that many conservatives believe that Colbert is on their side. As reported by today's (Wednesday) Chicago Tribune, the researchers observed that "conservative viewers often don't comprehend Colbert's "deadpan satire" and process his messages "as being conservative, Republican, and disliking liberals." The study was uploaded on Colbert's website beneath the headline, "Science Proves Stephen Colbert Also Popular With Conservatives."
TV VIEWERS MAKE SUMMER EXODUS EARLY
Some reports blamed a sudden rise in spring temperatures throughout most of the country, but, whatever the cause, ratings for some of television's most-watched shows took a big hit last week, with several losing millions of viewers. Even ABC's Grey's Anatomy, which offered its first new episode in a month, suffered its second-worst ratings of the season. And CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation tied a series low set earlier this month. Even American Idol is hurting. As MSNBC commentator Marc Hirsh noted: "One week, the audience for the performance episode was down 5.4 million. That's one out of every five viewers who didn't come back. Idol may still be the most popular show on television, but with those numbers, it might not be for long."
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 14/22; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 13.9/22; 3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 13/20; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 9.6/14; 5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 9.2/15; 6. Criminal Minds, CBS, 8.9/15; 8. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 8.9/14; 7. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 8.5/13; 9. NCIS, CBS, 8/12; 10. The Mentalist, CBS, 8.1/14.
TOP-TEN PIRATED TV SHOWS
The most-downloaded shows on BitTorrent sites have little in common with the most-viewed shows on television, according to a list compiled by the website TorrentFreak. Indeed, most of the top-ten downloaded shows, which also include those airing on cable, don't even appear in Nielsen's top ten. (The only one that does is ABC's Desperate Housewives They are: 1. Heroes, 2. Prison Break, 3. 24, 4. Desperate Housewives, 5. Family Guy, 6. Smallville, 7. South Park, 8. Gossip Girl, 9. Fringe, and 10. Supernatural.
THIS BUD'S NOT FOR YOU
The recently merged Anheuser-Busch InBev, until now the largest advertiser on broadcast and cable sports programming, has told NBC that it is cutting its Olympic advertising spending in half, the Wall Street Journal reported today, citing a person familiar with the matter. The newspaper said that the nation's largest brewer has also told the network that it won't insist on remaining the exclusive beer advertiser on the network's coverage of the winter games in Vancouver next year or the summer Olympics in London in 2012.