OLYMPIC JUGGERNAUT PRESSES ON

Analysts who had forecast a big drop in the ratings for the Summer Olympics during the second week are losing their bets. They're off -- but not by much. Tuesday's telecasts drew an average of 26.3 million viewers; 24.32 million tuned in on Wednesday. Tuesday's primetime coverage peaked in the final half hour with 28.92 million viewers. Wednesday's, at 10:00 p.m. with 29.92 million. On each night NBC drew more viewers than all three of its primary network competitors combined.

TV REPLAYS TO TEST UMPIRES

Baseball fans in the stands and in front of their TV sets may have one thing less to boo the umpire about as a result of an agreement reached Wednesday between Major League Baseball and the World Umpires Association under which umpires will be called upon to use instant replays to determine whether fly balls are fair or foul. The two sides had been at odds on whether the TV replays would be reviewed by one umpire crew chief, an "umpire supervisor" in New York, or by all the umpires on the field. Wednesday's agreement calls for a crew chief to review them.

COMCAST COMES UP WITH BROADBAND "COMPLIANCE PLAN"

Subscribers to Comcast's broadband service who wish to continue making heavy use of BitTorrent peer-to-peer sites to download movies and such may wind up seeing the speed of their Internet connections vastly reduced during peak hours, the head of online services for the cable company told Bloomberg News on Wednesday. The comments from Mitch Bowling came after the release Wednesday of the FCC's August 1 order saying that Comcast had violated its open-access guidelines by blocking Internet traffic by heavy users. The FCC has given Comcast one month to develop a compliance plan. It reportedly is calling its plan "fair share."

FRANCE OUTLAWS TV FOR BABIES

The French government appears determined to prevent a French version of News Corp's BabyFirstTV from appearing on any cable system in the country. Saying that it intends to "protect children under 3 from the effects of television," the French culture ministry on Wednesday barred TV shows aimed at children under three from airing in France. The decision follows complaints from some child-development experts that exposing children for long periods of time to television programming can retard normal development. BabyFirstTV, which is available on U.S. cable systems for a monthly charge of $4.99, has said that it should be watched by parents and their children together.

WHAT ONE HAND GIVETH ...

On the heels of a CNN announcement that it plans to set up bureaus manned by one person armed with camera and laptop in ten medium- to large-size markets all over the country, the Chicago Tribune observed Wednesday that the new hires will come at the cost of personnel cuts elsewhere, including Chicago, where the CNN bureau is being cut from 12 to 9. The newspaper said that among those being eliminated is the Midwest bureau chief, Christian "Fuzz" Hogan. CNN did not immediately announce when the news bureaus would be opened, nor did it announce who would be manning them.

NBC ACQUIRES BRITISH TV PRODUCTION COMPANY

In what some interpreted as a hedge against another industry strike, NBC has acquired British TV drama producers Carnival for a reported $55.5 million. In an interview with today's (Thursday) Daily Variety, veteran NBC executive Angela Bromstad said, "The U.K. is a huge market with a very large talent pool. We are no longer solely focused on Hollywood and waiting passively for the talent to come to us." Earlier this year, NBC announced plans to air the Canadian TV series The Listener; CBS this summer found a hit in another Canadian drama, Flashpoint; and ABC acquired U.S. rights to the hit Canadian Comedy 18-to-Life.

Brian B.