RATINGS GET REAL

Summer reality shows and news magazines dominated the Nielsen ratings last week, with eight such shows appearing among the top 20. CBS continued to reign supreme, placing seven shows in the top 10, including the No. 1 show, CSI: Miami. While it may still be summer, pre-season football registered strongly for NBC (although falling about 12 percent from a week earlier), with the NFL exhibition game between Washington and Cincinnati tying for tenth place. The network also continued to do well with America's Got Talent, which tied for fourth. (The penultimate edition of the current series is scheduled to air tonight -- Wednesday -- with the $1-million winner due to be announced on Thursday.) ABC's top-rated show was its Primetime news magazine, which saw Diane Sawyer returning Thursday night for a special report about the London plane-bombing plot. In overall households, CBS won the week with an average 4.9 rating and a 9 share. Fox was a closed second with an average 4.3/8. NBC followed with a 3.8/7, while ABC trailed with a 3.6/6.

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

1. CSI: Miami, CBS, 7.7/13; 2. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 7.0/11; 3. So You Think Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 6.4/10; 4. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.3/12; 4. (tie) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 6.3/11; 4. (tie) Without a Trace (Thursday), CBS, 6.3/11; 7. Without a Trace (Sunday), CBS, 6.2/11; 8. CSI: NY, CBS, 6.1/10; 9. America's Got Talent, NBC, 5.9/10; 10. NFL Pre-season Football: Washington at Cincinnati, NBC, 5.8/10; 10. (tie) Primetime Live, ABC, 5.8/10.

WHERE ARE KIDNAPPED JOURNALISTS?

Concern mounted Tuesday over the fate of two Fox News journalists after their kidnapers failed to come forward with demands for their release. A spokeswoman for the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem said that the State Department is "working to ensure their freedom" but gave no indication whether officials were aware of the whereabouts of correspondent Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig. Fox news bureau chief Eli Fastman and chief Israeli correspondent Jennifer Griffin reportedly met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh Tuesday, but details of their discussions were not disclosed. Indeed Fox News hardly mentioned the kidnaping during its reports on Tuesday, although Shepard Smith reported on his program that the Arab news channel Al Jazeera had called for the release of the abducted journalists.

IRAQ UPSTAGED BY LATEST MIDDLE EAST TURMOIL

Even as violence in Iraq escalates -- with some 3,400 deaths occurring last month alone -- news reports from the country have waned, according to a new study. Andrew Tyndall, whose Tyndall Report monitors TV news coverage, said that during the first six months of the year the three nightly news programs devoted an average of 39 minutes per week to Iraq, but since the outbreak of hostilities in Lebanon, the number of minutes has dwindled by two-thirds to 13. In an interview with the Associated Press, Jon Banner, executive producer of World News With Charles Gibson on ABC, said, "The lineup gets crowded very quickly given the amount of news and the amount of time we have to devote to the other story in the Middle East."

MORE CBS SHOWS COMING TO YOUR PC -- FREE

CBS said Tuesday that it plans to expand the number of its programs available on Innertube, the free broadband channel that it launched in May. Beginning next month, the network said, it will post the premiere episodes of all three CSI shows, NCIS, Numb3rs, Survivor and the new Jericho online, where they will remain for four weeks. In a statement, CBS Digital Media President Larry Kramer said, "It further helps us extend the reach of the CBS brand [and] provides a new avenue for advertisers to engage with our programming, which in turn creates a new source of revenue for our company." The programs will contain commercials that viewers cannot skip. However, for $1.99, the same programs will also be available for downloading commercial free on Apple's iTunes music store.

WEBBER CLAIMS COLLEAGUE STOLE IDEA FOR GREASE REALITY SHOW

Composer-producer Andrew Lloyd Webber reportedly is furious over news that London producer David Ian is planning to produce a reality show on NBC that will focus on the search for two unknowns to star in an upcoming Broadway revival of Grease. Ian appears with Lloyd Webber as a judge on a similar BBC reality series about the search for an unknown to star in a revival of The Sound of Music. According to today's (Wednesday) New York Post, the BBC show was conceived by Lloyd Webber who had extensive conversations with Ian about creating a similar show for the U.S. "David was at the meeting when Andrew suggested they do Grease next," a London theater source told the newspaper. Lloyd Webber has reportedly fired off a cease-and-desist notice to the BBC, which is producing the NBC show.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.