CBS OVERCOMES IDOL

It may only have placed two regular shows in the top ten last week -- plus the NCAA basketball semifinals -- but CBS nevertheless commanded the highest overall ratings of any network, averaging a 7.3 rating and a 12 share. Fox, which has just about everything riding on American Idol, placed second with a 6.3/11. ABC, whose numbers were bolstered by Dancing With the Stars, placed third with a 5.7/10, while NBC trailed with a 4.9/8.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 16.2/26; 1. (Tie) American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 16.2/25; 3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 14.0/22; 4. Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 13.0/20; 5. House, Fox, 12.1/19; 6. Dancing With the Stars Result (Tuesday), ABC, 11.6/18; 7. Shark, CBS, 9.6/17; 8. Law and Order: SVU, NBC, 9.0/16; 8. Til Death, Fox, 9.0/14; 10. NCAA Basketball Championships, CBS, 8.9/17; 10. (Tie) CSI: Miami, CBS, 8.9/15.

NOT THE ONE THAT THEY WANT?

Although producers of the Broadway revival of Grease had boasted that advance ticket sales have totaled more than $9 million, largely due to the recently concluded reality contest Grease: You're the One that I Want, they may have spoken too soon. According to New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel, the Ticketmaster switchboard in New York was flooded with phone calls following the final segment Sunday night with calls from ticket buyers wanting their money back. According to Riedel, callers were unhappy with the actors chosen to star in the revival, Max Crumm and Laura Osnes. "There was a bit of a frenzy because a lot of people wanted Austin and Ashley to win," a source told Riedel, referring to the runners-up, Austin Miller and Ashley Spencer. A spokesman for the TV show denied that there was a "substantial number of calls" for refunds.

LAW & ORDER MAY NOT HELP THOMPSON'S CANDIDACY

He may be seen by millions on Law and Order, but few people have any idea who Fred Thompson is, according to a new Gallup poll. While he ranks third out of a huge field of potential Republican presidential candidates, behind Sen. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani, just 4 percent of those who were polled were able to identify him with the TV show (although 11 percent did identify him as an actor). Gallup Poll director Frank Newport noted that when asked, "What comes to your mind when you think about" Thompson?, two-thirds replied "nothing at all comes to mind. ... In other words, despite his acting career, Thompson is not among the ranks of well-known politicians at this point." News reports have indicated that under the FCC's equal-time rule, all Law and Order episodes featuring Thompson, including those in syndication, would have to be yanked if he decides to run.

ROBERTS AND CHETRY NAMED NEW CNN MORNING-SHOW HOSTS

John Roberts, who quit CBS last year after he was passed over for the anchor's post when the network hired Katie Couric to succeed Dan Rather, has been named co-anchor of CNN's American Morning. Roberts, along with for Fox weekend anchor Kiran Chetry, will replace Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien. Meanwhile, CBS announced that it has signed CNN's Lou Dobbs as a regular contributor to its The Early Show on Tuesdays.

ANDERSON COOPER AND JODIE FOSTER ON GAY POWER LIST

Out magazine, which claims to have the largest circulation of any gay-oriented publication, has placed CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and actress Jodie Foster on its current issue, which includes the magazine's first Gay Power List. Neither has openly acknowledged that they are gay, although for some time they have been the subject of tabloid rumors about their sexual orientation. The online edition of Radar magazine quoted Out editor in chief Aaron Hicklin as saying, "It's a bit of chutzpah on our part. ... The A-list and even B-list gays are mostly in the closet still, and those are the kinds of people we need to have on our cover. This is a way of addressing that." Neither Cooper nor Foster was available for comment.

THE NIGHTLY NEWS RACE GROWS TIGHTER

Competition between the two leading nightly newscasts was the tightest it has been in recent memory during the first quarter, with NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams drawing an average of 9,297,000 viewers while ABC World News With Charles Gibson recorded 9,181,000. The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric dropped to 7,325,000. NBC's overall audience for its newscast was down 6 pecent; CBS's was down 8 percent, while ABC's rose 4 percent.

FREELANCE JOURNALIST RELEASED FROM PRISON AFTER 226 DAYS

Joshua Wolf, the freelance videographer who spent 226 days in a California prison for refusing to turn over tapes of a San Francisco demonstration in 2005 to a federal grand jury was freed from a U.S. prison in Dublin, CA Tuesday after reaching a deal with prosecutors. Under it, Wolf agreed to post all of his videotape of the demonstration on his website; in return, prosecutors agreed not to force him to provide the tapes directly to the grand jury. In a statement sent by email to reporters, Wolf said, "It took 226 days, but it was worth every second to get what I wanted from day one, which is that I will not have to testify before the grand jury. ... There will be, and has been, no compromise to this resolute principle."

Brian B.