WITH ALL-NEW EPISODES, CBS RISES TO THE TOP AGAIN

Even with its Tuesday and Wednesday editions of American Idol averaging more than 25 million viewers, Fox was unable to walk away with another weekly victory in the ratings. Rising out of the ashes of the recent writers' strike, CBS came roaring back with a new episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on Thursday drawing 20.6 million viewers. In fact, six of the top ten shows of the week aired on CBS. The four exceptions: the two Idol episodes and two editions of ABC's Dancing With the Stars. CBS averaged a 7.2 rating and a 12 share for the week, well ahead of Fox, which scored a 5.9/10. ABC finished third with a 4.9/8, while NBC trailed with a 4.2/7.

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

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 14.8/22; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 14.7/23; 3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 13.0/20; 4. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 12.4/20; 5. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 11.1/17; 6. CSI: Miami, CBS, 10.1/16; 7. Without a Trace, CBS, 9.7/17; 8. CSI: Miami (Tuesday), CBS, 9.1/15; 9. NCAA Basketball Championships (Saturday), CBS, 8.8/16; 9. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 8.8/13.

CBS IS CHAMP WITH MONDAY'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS

CBS's Monday-night coverage of the men's NCAA basketball championship game between the Kansas Jayhawks and the Memphis Tigers attracted 19.6 million viewers, about par with its numbers for last year's final game. The game edged out ABC's Dancing With the Stars which drew 19.5 million viewers earlier in the night. On Tuesday night, CBS learned the hard way that the television audience can consume only so many displays of talent on a single night. The network debuted Secret Talents of the Stars in the 10:00 p.m. hour with a dismal 2.9 rating and a 5 share, representing 4.61 million viewers. Once again, the big winner of the night was Fox's American Idol with a 14.4/22 during the 8:00 p.m. hour. ABC's Dancing With the Stars, which saw the elimination of comedian Adam Carolla and his professional partner, Julianne Hough, placed second for the night with an 11.4/17 in the 9:00 p.m. hour. Meanwhile, on cable-TV Spike TV's telecast of Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith Sunday night attracted the channel's largest audience ever -- 4.2 million viewers.

ABC NEWS TO FOCUS ON WEB CONTENT

Disney CEO Robert Iger acknowledged that ABC News is "disadvantaged" by not having a cable news outlet like NBC and Fox but said it only puts pressure on ABC's website to become a viable news alternative by providing "better content." "The need for old media to adapt is incredibly keen these days, critical actually," Iger told a New York breakfast meeting organized by the S.I. Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. "I don't know if ABC News will get there or not, but they're going to try very hard with the significant support of the company." Iger also said that he had had discussions years ago about a partnership with CNN but they had come to naught because CNN at the time was talking about a "true joint venture" and not "outsourcing" news as it may do with CBS. (CBS on Monday denied a New York Times report suggesting that a deal with CBS and CNN was being negotiated.)

FIRINGS AT LOCAL CBS NEWSROOMS TOTALED 160, SAYS REPORT

The firing of some well-known local news personalities on CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago last week represented part of a wider layoff of at least 160 employees at CBS stations in 13 cities, the Los Angeles Times disclosed today (Wednesday). Reporting on the layoffs, the newspaper observed, "An economic slowdown, combined with changes in news consumption patterns and the migration of advertisers to the Internet, have contributed to a lean start to a year that was supposed to benefit from a gush of political advertising." The newspaper noted that in February, when KCBS-TV, the local CBS station in Los Angeles, was reeling from the writers' strike, ratings for its newscasts plummeted 40 percent versus the same month a year ago.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.