XMAS EVE WILL FIND YOU ... AWAY FROM TV

Christmas eve turned out to be the lowest-rated night of the season (and perhaps the lowest-rated Tuesday of the year) as CBS won with an lowly average 3.2 rating and a 7 share. NBC ranked second with a 2.7/6, edging out ABC's 2.6/6. Fox trailed with a 1.6/4. Amazingly, the umpteenth rerun of 61-year-old It's a Wonderful Life finished first in the 8:00 p.m. hour and stayed a competitive second at 9:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. In fact the final hour of the Jimmy Stewart starrer drew a 3.1/7 rating, the second-highest rating of the night. (The highest-rated show was CBS's CSI: Miami, which registered a 4.0/9 in the same hour.) Audiences returned to their sets on Christmas Day with NBC's Deal or No Deal averaging a 6.1/12 between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., followed by a Law & Order: SVU repeat at 10:00 p.m., which drew a 5.2/10.

MAN CRASHES VAN INTO CHICAGO TV STUDIO

An apparently mentally unbalanced man crashed his minivan into the street-front studio of Chicago station WLS while its 10:00 p.m. newscast was in progress Monday. The anchor, Ravi Baichwal, reacted with alarm and shouted just as he introduced a live report from the field about the local weather. The program switched to the reporter, who proceeded to deliver her stand-up report without referring to the anchor's shout. However, a moment later, a stationary camera located outside the studio captured pictures of the Mazda MPV bearing Indiana license plates stuck halfway into the studio with heavy bullet-proof glass lying upon it. Station general manager Emily Barr said Tuesday that the crash may have been deliberate "but we can't verify it." Witnesses said that the driver had been making a series of u-turns in front of the station before driving his car over the sidewalk and into the window. A clip of the incident was posted on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGOmEhRfBhg and quickly became one of the most accessed videos of the day.

COURIC'S LOSS MAY BE GIBSON'S GAIN

For Katie Couric, the news has not improved -- the news concerning The CBS Evening News, that is. According to Nielsen Research figures reported by the New York Times, her newscast drew one million fewer viewers in 2007 than it did in 2006 (when it was anchored by Bob Schieffer through August). The news was not particularly pleasing for Brian Williams, either, as NBC Nightly News finished the year with about 500,000 fewer viewers than it had last year. Only Charles Gibson had reason to celebrate as his audience for ABC World News grew by about 300,000. Overall, his newscast averaged 8.4 million viewers per night; the Williams newscast averaged 8.2 million; the Couric newscast, 6.4 million.

NBC PROMOTING NEW MIDSEASON SHOWS

Appearing to thumb its nose at striking writers, NBC has begun promoting its midseason schedule by announcing that it "will have more new stuff than anybody else -- with seven new premieres in the first ten days" of the year. Meanwhile, L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke said on her Deadline Hollywood blog early today (Wednesday) that behind-the-scene efforts by DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg to bring about a compromise that would have allowed negotiations between the writers and studios to resume have failed and that the television networks are planning to write off not only the rest of the season but also the pilot season for next fall as well, replacing many of the shows with new reality series and its news magazine Dateline. (The network has scheduled four hours of Dateline for this week alone.)

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.