FEW CHEERS FROM FAMILY GROUPS FOR DISNEY'S MUSICAL
The expected chorus of cheers for Friday's record ratings for Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 from conservative family groups failed to materialize Monday. The Parents Television Council (PTC), which reviewed the TV movie favorably (it did warn of "some midriff-baring swimsuits and clothing"), had nothing to say about the film's overwhelming ratings success. (It attracted 17.24 million viewers, the largest audience ever for a basic cable program.) The PTC's parent organization, the Media Research Center (MRC), appeared to be the only prominent national conservative group to salute the ratings outcome. MRC Chairman Brent Bozell declared: "Hollywood likes to tell us there isn't a market for family-friendly television shows. Those smut and violence peddlers don't have a clue. The phenomenal, record-breaking success of 'High School Musical 2' proves it, in spades." Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Richard Roeper wrote today (Tuesday) that he had to turn down an invitation to appear on Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor where, he said, producers had told him he would be asked to discuss whether the TV movie got negative reviews because of its wholesomeness. Roeper said that he had other commitments but that if he had been able to go on the show he would have told host Bill O'Reilly that he "saw mostly positive notices for HSM2, but I don't believe most critics, even the liberal ones, would give the movie a negative rating solely because of its wholesome content. Especially a movie on the Disney Channel. ... Given the billions the company has made off wholesome fare, they might not be totally clueless about the family-friendly market."
OLBERMANN'S COUNTDOWN COMING TO NBC
Sportscaster-turned-liberal-pundit Keith Olbermann will not only be able to sound-off from the broadcast booth during Sunday's Philadelphia Eagles-Pittsburgh Steelers NFL contest, he'll also be able to weigh in on the events of the week in the hour preceding the game, when a special edition of his MSNBC cable program, Countdown With Keith Olbermann airs on the NBC broadcast network. "I'm delighted we're getting a chance to show off in a bigger storefront window," Olbermann said in a statement, adding, "I do advise new viewers to sit well back from their screens."
LETTERMAN AND FERGUSON APPEARING ON PHONES
Monday night's telecast of Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson can now been seen today (Tuesday) on Verizon Wireless's V CAST video service. CBS and Verizon announced Monday that the two late-night talk shows will be available the day following their regular broadcasts -- commercial-free. They can be viewed on mobile phones as "a series of video shorts," Verizon said in a statement, noting that they'll be replaced every day by the network's latest episode of the late-night shows.
TO CATCH A SOLICITOR?
Xavier Von Erck, the founder of Perverted Justice, the group hired by NBC News to stage its "To Catch a Predator" stings, has lashed out at Radar magazine, which has published a report on its website about efforts by attorneys of one of the men caught in the sting to have Von Erck arrested for solicitation. Von Erck had posed as a 15-year-old girl during an online chat, urging the suspect, Robert G. White to visit him -- her -- at a home in Harris County, GA that had been rigged with hidden cameras. Although the judge agreed that Von Erck did indeed intend to entice White "in conduct constituting a felony" he declined to issue a warrant saying that there was no way White could have actually committed the crime. Asked to comment, Von Erck told Radar. "Other than being told that you're a scummy hack who resembles a stalker more than a journalist, we don't have any comment for you on this issue or any other issue." The article was written by John Cook, who has previously written critical articles about the "Predator" series. He is a former television columnist and culture critic for the Chicago Tribune. Radar's owners include AT&T and Yusef Jackson, the son of Jesse Jackson.
LATINO GROUPS TAKE DIM VIEW OF BURNS' PLEDGE
Several Hispanic groups remain wary of documentary film maker Ken Burns's pledge to add Latino veterans to his 14 1/2-hour PBS documentary, The War. In a statement released Monday, they demanded that Burns meet with them to spell out the changes. Rosa Rosales, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, objected to Burns's characterization of the controversy over his film as a "misunderstanding" and his suggestion that he was bowing to political correctness. "It's no misunderstanding," Rosales said. "We understand perfectly that he only added the new interviews under pressure and, right now, it looks like he's not very proud of that new material." Armando Rendon of the Latino group Defend the Honor Campaign, declared, The anger in the grassroots Latino community continues unabated by the manner in which [Burns] and PBS have handled this matter." Other Hispanic leaders who voiced criticism of Burns include: Jess Quintero, president of the Hispanic War Veterans of America; Dr. Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez, the University of Texas journalism professor who co-chairs the Defend the Honor Campaign; Ivan Roman, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and Marta Garcia, co-chairman of the New York Chapter of the National Hispanic Media Coalition.