AMERICA'S GOT TALENT HAS GOT TOP RATINGS
NBC's America's Got Talent not only held on to the top spot on the weekly Nielsen TV ratings list for last week, it nabbed the second slot as well, as viewers tuned in to see which contestants would move into the semifinal round. CBS remained the most-watched network overall, however, landing seven shows in the top ten. Yet all four major networks continued to show overall dismal numbers. CBS won the week averaging just a 3.8 rating and a 7 share. NBC was close behind with a 3.6/6. Fox came in at a 3.2/6, while ABC, which had a lot riding on a revival of Who Wants to Be aMillionaire -- but couldn't cash in -- trailed with an average 2.9/5. Among the nightly newscasts, the gap between leader NBC Nightly News and ABC World News shrank as the Bryan Williams telecast attracted 7.38 million viewers to Charles Gibson's 7.04 million. The Katie Couric-anchored CBS Evening News remained far behind with 5.34 million.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. America's Got Talent (Tuesday), NBC, 7.1., 12; 2. America's Got Talent (Wednesday, 9:00 p.m.), NBC, 6.6/11; 2. NCIS, CBS, 6.6/12; 4. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.5/9; 5. The Mentalist, CBS, 5.4/10; 6. The Big Bang Theory, CBS, 5.2/8; 7. 60 Minutes, CBS, 5.1., 10; 8. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 4.9/8; 9. Big Brother 11 (Tuesday), CBS, 4.8/8; 10. Dateline NBC (Monday), NBC, 4.7/8; 10. (Tie) Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (Sunday), ABC, 4.7/8.
TRUE BLOOD: BEST HBO RATINGS SINCE THE SOPRANOS
The off-kilter vampire series True Blood is drawing audiences to HBO the likes of which the pay-TV network hasn't seen since the days of The Sopranos. Sunday's episode averaged 5.3 million viewers, the largest audience HBO has drawn for a scripted series since April 2004, excluding The Sopranos runs. HBO said that when additional airings of the show were included, plus DVR viewing and HBO On Demand, the True Blood episode actually drew 11.6 million.
BIG BROTHER: NO MORE WATCHING AFTER NEXT SEASON IN U.K.
While CBS's Big Brother continues to pull in solid ratings in its 11th edition in the U.S., the show has slipped appreciably in the U.K., where it originated. The Channel 4 network, which carries it there announced today (Wednesday) that next year's season will be its last. The show debuted in 2000 and includes an interactive element that allows PC owners to view the goings-on in the "house" where the contestants are required to live for the season 24 hours a day.
A&E EXPANDING JACKSON SPECIAL INTO A SERIES
Cable channel A&E has confirmed that it plans to expand a one-hour reality special about the reunion of the Jackson 5 -- that was in the works before Michael Jackson's death -- into a weekly reality series, now titled Jackson Family Dynasty. In reporting the cable network's decision, today's (Wednesday) New York Times commented that the "series amounts to a bet by A&E on enduring interest around the Jackson family, in particular the former members of the Jacksons band." In an interview with the newspaper, Jodi Gomes, an executive producer at Point 7, the production company that had been working on the special and will be working on the series, said, "To anybody that says the family is capitalizing on Michael's death, it will be evident in the first episode that that's not true."
CELLPHONE FOOTAGE OF ATROCITIES SMUGGLED OUT OF SRI LANKA
Britain's Channel 4 has broadcast footage of members of the Sri Lankan Army summarily killing bound and naked prisoners in their final surge against the Tamil Tiger rebels. Today's (Wednesday) London Times reported that the images, shot on a cellphone by a member of the army and smuggled out of the country, were taken when journalists were being banned from the conflict zone. The precise location of the filming was not disclosed. The Times said that shortly after the video was posted on Channel 4's website, Sri Lankans reported that the site had been blocked. The Times quoted the Sri Lankan High Commission in London as denying that the army engaged in atrocities. "In many instances in the past," it said, "various media institutions used doctored videos, photographs and documents to defame the Sri Lankan Government and armed forces. Therefore, we request you to verify the authenticity of the video footage."