COURIC TO RIDE THE BUS -- EVERY BUS

The face of Katie Couric will appear on every single bus in the city of New York as part of an unprecedented $10-million campaign to promote her ascension to the anchor's desk at the CBS Evening News, the New York Times reported Sunday. The network also flew news anchors from its top 48 affiliates to New York to interview Couric for features that will be presented on each local station, the newspaper said. The promotional campaign for Couric, the Times observed, is comparable only to those mounted for hit primetime shows like CSI. Broadcasting & Cable magazine observed that a massive New York poster campaign will also target New York subway stations and Grand Central and Penn stations. CBS is also set to become the inaugural sponsor of the New York Times new online TV section, launching Sept. 4. Couric told the Times that she expects her program will be distinguished by the fact that it will spend less time on "news of the day" and focus "on longer takeouts, if you will." She said that it will also devoted 90 seconds or so each night to a segment titled "Free Speech" that will present opinions of ordinary Americans, scholars, and sometimes even comedians.

"BREAKING NEWS" BROKEN?

The story of the arrest of a suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case pushed aside seemingly more important matters including Iran's test of long-range missiles and a ruling by a federal judge in Michigan that overturned the Bush administration's domestic-surveillance operations. MSNBC, which scored a beat on its rivals by being the first to report on last Wednesday's arrest in Bangkok of John Mark Karr, continued to devote considerable time to the story as late as Sunday, as Karr was being flown back to the U.S. in the business class section of Thai Airlines. At 10:01 a.m. MSNBC bannered: "BREAKING NEWS; RAMSEY SUSPECT ALLOWED TO DRINK CHAMPAGNE WHEN HE BOARDED PLANE." Five minutes later it changed its "Breaking News" banner to "RAMSEY SUSPECT'S ONBOARD DINNER INCLUDED PATÉ AND FRIED KING PRAWNS." At 12:31, another "Breaking News" banner read, "RAMSEY SUSPECT HAS HAD CHAMPAGNE, A BEER AND GLASS OF WINE ON PLANE."

SOUTH PARK LEARNS NOT TO MESS WITH TOM CRUISE

An episode of The Simpsons, "The Seemingly Neverending Story," beat out "Trapped in a Closet," the Tom Cruise/Scientology episode of South Park, to win the Emmy for best animated series. The victory was announced Saturday at the 58th annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Accepting the award, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean quipped, "This is what happens when you don't mock Scientology." Cloris Leachman also picked up an Emmy for a guest appearance on Fox's Malcolm in the Middle. It was her eighth win -- the most by any female performer.

FOX TO LET AFFILIATES AIR HIT SHOWS -- FREE

With TV networks increasingly finding themselves at loggerheads with local affiliates over plans to make TV series available on the Internet, Fox is testing a new strategy. On Friday it began allowing the websites of nine local stations themselves to offer several primetime shows, including hits Prison Break and Bones. Fox said that it was the first time local affiliates were able to stream network shows online. The shows, which included ads for Toyota, are being provided free

ECHOSTAR TRIES TO KEEP DVR'S FROM BEING SHUT DOWN

EchoStar Communications, which operates the DISH satellite-TV service, was able to persuade a federal appeals court on Friday to block a district court's ruling that EchoStar must stop selling its digital recorders and turn off DVRs already in subscribers' homes within 30 days. The appeals court made it clear, however, that it wasn't ruling on the merits of EchoStar's arguments in its legal battle with TiVo, saying only that it wanted to have time to determine whether whether the shutdown should be delayed until EchoStar's appeal can be heard. The shutdown would affect more than 3 million users of EchoStar's DVRs who are able to use a feature that allows them to record one program while watching another. TiVo had claimed that the technology infringed on its own patents. Besides ordering EchoStar to turn off the settop units, Judge David Folsom also ordered EchoStar to pay TiVo $89.6 million in damages.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.