A DEAL AT LAST?

Following weeks of hush-hush talks between Screen Actors Guild Interim Executive Director David White and several top Hollywood film and broadcast executives, a resolution of the remaining differences between the two sides may be at hand, published reports said today (Monday). The Los Angeles Times reported that an agreement over the most contentious issue -- when the agreement would expire -- has already been reached. But SAG spokeswoman Pamela Greenwalt told Daily Variety: "Any report of a tentative agreement on any aspect of our TV/Theatrical negotiations is premature. SAG's leadership remains engaged in ongoing efforts to secure a fair deal for SAG members." On his own website, entertainment attorney Jonathan Handel commented that if a deal is not reached soon, "one wonders if the Guild might work without a contract for the next two years, then threaten a joint strike with the writers."

COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS SCORES FOR CBS

CBS's three-hour telecast of the Country Music Awards Sunday night averaged 14.8 million viewers, down from the 15.9 million posted last year and the 16 million in 2007 and 2006. Nevertheless, combined with another strong showing for 60 Minutes, the network easily won the ratings race Sunday night, leaving rivals far behind. While CBS averaged 14.11 million viewers, ABC came in a distant second with 5.89 million, just ahead of NBC with 5.6 million and Fox with 4.69 million.

E.R. FINALE BIGGEST DRAMA FINALE SINCE 1996

Final ratings figures now indicate that Thursday's two-hour finale of E.R. drew more viewers than any closer of a dramatic series since Murder, She Wrote writ its last mystery in 1996. The NBC medical drama, which at its peak could routinely attract 30 million viewers and once pulled in 47.8 million in 1998, captured 16.4 million last week, its best numbers in three years. The most-watched TV show in history was the 1983 finale of M*A*S*H*, which drew 105 million. The final episode of Friends drew 52 million viewers.

BOSTON STATION MAY AIR LENO AFTER ALL

WHDH-TV, NBC's Boston affiliate that had indicated that it intended to dump Jay Leno's upcoming nightly variety show and run local news instead, may be having second thoughts after the network threatened to yank the station's affiliation and buy its own station in Boston. The Boston Globe observed today (Monday) that the station has removed all references to the planned 10:00 p.m. newscast from its website and that officials of the station are refusing to discuss the matter. For its part, NBC president John Eck said in a statement to Boston viewers over the weekend: Jay Leno fans will not be disappointed. ... Make no mistake: The new Leno show will air at [10:00 p.m.] on weeknights in the Boston market on NBC.