EMMY FALLS BUT REMAINS ON TOP

Sunday night's Emmy Awards telecast may have tumbled sharply in the ratings from last year, but for a show airing in August -- prior to this year, it had usually aired in September -- it performed admirably and wound up as the most-watched show of the week and indeed, the most-watched show of the summer season, according to Nielsen Research. For the first time in recent memory it also faced stiff competition -- namely, ABC's telecast of the original Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which itself landed in the top ten (at No. 8). Overall ratings for the week remained subaverage, with CBS able to win it with only a 4.9 average rating and an 8 share. NBC was close behind in second place with a 4.5/8. ABC placed third with a 4.1/7, while Fox trailed with a 3.9/7.

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

1. Emmy Awards, NBC, 10.6/17; 2. 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.9/14; 3. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 7.7/13; 4. CSI: Miami, CBS, 7.4/12; 5. Without a Trace, CBS, 7.0/12; 6. Law and Order: SVU, NBC, 6.6/11; 7. CSI: NY, CBS, 6.1/10; 8. ABC Sunday Movie: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, ABC, 5.9/10; 8. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.9/9; 10. Prison Break, Fox, 5.8/10.

STAR TREK MAY GO WHERE IT WENT BEFORE

Rumors sped at light speed on the Internet Tuesday that Paramount is working on an enhanced version of the original 79 Star Trek episodes that it plans to sell as a syndication package to broadcast stations. According to the reports, state-of-the-art visual effects will replace those in the series, new music will be added, and the show will be offered in high definition. Presumably, the new series will also be packaged for sale on high-definition DVD after the syndication package airs. The website DigitalBits, however, observed that "rather than going with a proven effects house, CBS has chosen to do the new CG work in-house. One hopes that they've got someone with REAL Trek effects experience and knowledge involved in the effort -- and they they're taking care to preserve the look and feel of the original shots."

FORMER CPB CHIEF IN HOT WATER AGAIN

Kenneth Tomlinson, who resigned under fire last year as chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting after the CPB inspector general found that he had improperly attempted to introduce more conservative programming to programs on PBS and had shown political favoritism when he selected CPB's president, is now facing new charges related to his chairmanship of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Today's (Wednesday) Washington Post reported that a State Department investigation has found that Tomlinson hired a friend as a government contractor, who received $245,000 for services that may never have been completed. He is also said to have used government resources to support a stable of thoroughbred race horses. Tomlinson told the Post: "I believe it will become clear that this [inspector general] investigation was inspired by partisan divisions."

TODAY TO ADD ANOTHER HOUR -- BUT NOT SOON

NBC Universal TV chief Jeff Zucker has confirmed a report that originally appeared in Daily Variety earlier this month that the network is considering expanding the Today show to four hours. "The third hour [added in 2000] has been a huge success," Zucker told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "There's no reason to believe it couldn't keep going." Adding a fourth hour would bump Martha Stewart's syndicated program in many markets, but Zucker indicated that there are no impending plans to do so. "I would not rule it out down the line," he said. "It's not going to happen in the next year, probably two." Analyst Andrew Tyndall told the newspaper, "The incremental cost of producing a fourth hour when you're already producing three is cheaper than going out and buying syndicated programming. ... You're saving your affiliates money."

CBS ADMITS IT DOCTORED PHOTOS OF COURIC

The TVNewser blog on Tuesday posted before and after photos of Katie Couric, taken by CBS at the network's upfront presentation to advertisers in May. The recent photo, which appeared in the CBS magazine Watch, shows that it was substantially doctored to make her appear thinner. The network later released a statement saying that "the editorial staff of Watch magazine retouched the photo without the knowledge of Katie Couric or CBS news management." However, Broadcasting and Cable magazine observed on its website that the editorial staff of the magazine is actually the network's own publicity department and that, as indicated on its masthead, its editor in chief is the company's chief spokesman Gil Schwartz. Meanwhile CBS publicists on Tuesday sent out a press release observing that the gambling site BetCRIS.com is taking bets on the number of viewers Couric will attract on Sept. 5, when she makes her debut on the CBS Evening News. Odds are 12-1 that she'll draw fewer than Bob Schieffer's lowest numbers and 3.75-1 that she'll top 8.5 million. The CBS program averaged 7.07 million viewers last week.

CNN ANCHOR'S VOICE, IN BATHROOM, DROWNS OUT PRESIDENT'S

Proving that even professional broadcast journalists can be oblivious to microphones near them, CNN anchor Kyra Phillips's voice was heard over President Bush's speech in New Orleans Tuesday as she took a bathroom break with a colleague and discussed family relations with her. The conversation went on for about a minute and a half, when Phillips was alerted that the wireless microphone she was wearing was on. Thinking that she was being given a cue, she was heard saying, "You're listening to an address by President Bush .... " Later CNN issued an apology "to our viewers and the president" for the incident. The president himself was recently caught swearing in front of a camera and an open mike.

CANCELED SHOW TOPS CANADIAN TV NOMINATIONS

A Canadian legal drama that was canceled this year because of low ratings nevertheless received 12 nominations for Gemini Awards Tuesday, Canada's version of the Emmys. The Canadian Press wire service observed that the show was averaging just 376,000 viewers when it was canceled. The Geminis are due to originate in Richmond, British Columbia this year, following a decision to take the awards ceremony on the road beginning this year.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.