i>SURVIVOR FINALE BEATS FOOTBALL

Its ratings may have been sapped by competition from NFL football, but CBS's survivor was up to the challenge. The season finale of the long-running reality show (Survivor: Cook Islands) scored a 9.0 rating and a 14 share during the 8:00 p.m. hour, beating NBC's Sunday Night Football, which drew an 8.2/13. At 9:00 p.m., Survivor increased its lead to a 9.6/14 even as the San Diego Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson was breaking the season scoring record on NBC's football coverage -- which drew an 8.8/13. The football contest finally edged out the Survivor reunion show at 10:00, with football posting an 8.1/13 and Survivor, an 8.0/13. A repeat of Desperate Housewives during the same hour pulled a 5.1/8.

REGAN PERSONALLY DUMPED BY MURDOCH?

Judith Regan, who as head of News Corp's Harper Collins imprint ReganBooks made the deal to buy O.J. Simpson book, If I Did It, and personally interviewed Simpson about the book for a planned two-part telecast on Fox, was fired on Friday. The company issued a tersely worded statement saying that she had been terminated "effective immediately." Some reports suggested that News Corp executives, including Chairman Rupert Murdoch, were outraged by Regan's decision to published an "inventive memoir" about Mickey Mantle that included numerous unsubstantiated rumors, including one about Mantle having had an affair with Marilyn Monroe. A different report, appearing in the New York Times, said that Murdoch sent Regan packing after he heard reports that she had had a heated conversation with a company lawyer on Friday in which she uttered comments that were considered anti-Semitic. According to the Times account, the lawyer reported Regan's remarks to HarperCollins President and CEO Jane Friedman, who in turn phoned Murdoch. Later that day, according to the Times, which cited two sources, security guards arrived at Regan's offices in Los Angeles with boxes and ordered her to leave. "This came completely out of the blue," one executive told the newspaper. "She was completely taken by surprise." But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, attorney Bert Fields, Regan's lawyer, said, "They've chosen war and they will get exactly that. ... She won't take this lying down."

REPORT: TRUMP FIRES MISS USA

Donald Trump's Miss USA beauty pageant, whose ratings represented the second worst in its history last April (the 2002 contest was the worst), is suffering new ignominy with word that Trump has ordered the winner, Tara Connor, dethroned and sent packing, according to the DMZ website. Trump reportedly was angry over Connor's recent high-profile partying and felt that it did not conform to his own concept of how a Miss USA winner should behave.

FORGET THE MONEY, SHATNER SHOWN THE DOOR

Just one week after announcing that it was ordering six additional episodes of the William Shatner-hosted Show Me the Money, ABC has backtracked and ordered the game show canceled. The announcement came on Friday, two days after Money drew its smallest audience ever. Some news reports indicated that Money, along with the drama Day Break, will be replaced by two shows from Oprah Winfrey's production company, Harpo. Day Break was added to the ABC Wednesday schedule so that ABC would not have to air repeats of Lost during the regular season, but it wound up fetching lower ratings than the Lost repeats had in previous seasons.

IRAQI JOURNALISTS BEING KILLED IN "STAGGERING" NUMBERS

Iraqi journalists aiding U.S. news media are suffering far greater casualties than their American counterparts who are forced to live in fortified compounds and travel while embedded with the U.S. military, CNN Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware commented Friday. Appearing on CNN's American Morning, Ware said that it is extremely frustrating not to be able to cover the conflict independently. "We send out Iraqis, but honestly, they're being killed in droves. They're really on the journalistic front line. The number of Iraqi journalists who have died in the past year is staggering."

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.