SHARKS BITE RATINGS

Despite the fact that television news programs devoted virtually no time this year to shark attacks -- there was only one fatal one in 2007, in the South Pacific, and only one so far this year, near San Diego -- a record number of viewers clicked on to Discovery Channel during its annual Shark Week. The channel said Tuesday that its 21st lineup of shark programming drew 29.1 million viewers, breaking the previous Shark Week record of 27.2 million viewers set in 2007. At the same time, Discovery said, its online Shark Week content attracted more than 1 million visits and recorded 11.5 million page views, another record. All in all, the channel drew its best primetime ratings in 18 months.

CBS WINS WITH REPEATS

They may all have been reruns, but CBS's scripted shows dominated the Nielsen top ten list last week, with Two and a Half Men drawing 9.3 million viewers, followed by Criminal Minds with 8.7 million. NCIS was close behind with 8.5 million viewers, followed by CSI: Miami with 8.4 million. Nevertheless, the top-rated show of the week was the unscripted America's Got Talent, which drew 13.8 million viewers. For the week, CBS averaged a 4.2 rating and an 8 share. NBC placed second with a 3.7/7. Fox came in third with a 3.3/6, while ABC trailed with a 2.8/5.

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

1. America's Got Talent, NBC, 8.1/13; 2. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.2/10; 3. CSI: Miami, CBS, 5.9/10; 4. Criminal Minds, CBS, 5.8/10; 5. NCIS, CBS, 5.7/10; 6. So You Think You Can Dance (Wednesday), Fox, 5.6/9; 7. 60 Minutes, CBS, 5.5/11; 7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, (Tie) 5.5/9; 7. So You Think You Can Dance (Thursday), Fox, (Tie) 5.5/9; 10. CSI: NY, CBS, (Tie) 5.2/9; 10. Flashpoint, CBS, (Tie) 5.2/9; 10. Primetime: The Last Lecture, ABC, (Tie) 5.2/9; 10. Wipeout, ABC, (Tie) 5.2/9.

RERUNS HEADED TO THE WEB, CHERNIN PREDICTS

News Corp COO Peter Chernin predicted Tuesday that eventually the Internet will be the place TV viewers will go for reruns. Speaking about the Hulu website which News Corp owns jointly with NBC, Chernin said, "I don't necessarily look at Hulu as competitive with the broadcast networks." Rather, he said, it's an opportunity to replace the lost revenue that generally accompanies diminishing audiences for reruns. On the other hand, Chernin acknowledged that News Corp faces a new adversary in the form of user-generated video. "We live in a world of infinite choice," he said. "Our job as programmers to make sure that our programming is compelling."

IOC TO LAUNCH ITS OWN CHANNEL -- ON YOUTUBE

The International Olympics Committee is creating its own YouTube channel to carry highlights of the Beijing games to 77 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East where online rights have not been sold or have been acquired non-exclusively, the IOC said today (Wednesday). The YouTube channel will be blocked from other areas of the world by a technology called "geo-blocking," the technology used by U.S. networks and film studios to prevent their content from being viewed overseas.

DEBATE MODERATORS NAMED

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Monday named the moderators of the three presidential debates between John McCain and Barack Obama and the single debate between the yet-to-be-named vice-presidential candidates. The first debate, set to take place at the University of Mississippi on Sept. 26, will be hosted by Jim Lehrer of PBS. The second debate, set for Oct. 7 at Belmont University in Nashville, will be moderated by Tom Brokaw of NBC. The final presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 15 at Hofstra University in New York will be hosted by CBS's Bob Schieffer. The vice-presidential debate, due to take place at Washington University in St. Louis on Oct. 2, will be moderated by PBS's Gwen Ifill. Conspicuously absent from the list is any ABC News personality. Also CBS's Katie Couric, who has unsuccessfully been seeking to moderate a presidential debate since the primaries.

MCCAIN BUYS $6 MILLION WORTH OF OLYMPICS SPOTS

The contest for the U.S. presidency will be on display along with the athletic contests during the Olympic Games, which begin on Friday. Sen. John McCain's campaign said Tuesday that it had bought $6 million in ads, topping the $5 million that the Obama campaign said it would spend on ads during the Olympics. Both buys include broadcast and cable spots.

Brian B.