NBC'S RATINGS: SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES

With ABC airing a heavy load of reruns last week, NBC was able to capture first place in the ratings among the 18-49-year-old audience most prized by advertisers. CBS came out on top once again among overall viewers. (It has won every week of the current season, now in its 11th week.) NBC's success could also be attributed to the growing success of Heroes, arguably the biggest new hit of the current season, and to Sunday Night Football. The network has also seen a resurgence of ratings for E.R. on Thursday nights, now that it no longer competes against ABC's Grey's Anatomy. In overall numbers, CBS finished the week with an average 7.5 rating and a 12 share. NBC placed second with a 6.7/11, edging out ABC, which posted a 6.4/10. Fox trailed with a 5.2/8.

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

1. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 15.2/23; 2. NFL Sunday (overrun), Fox, 13.8/23; 3. Criminal Minds, CBS, 11.5/18; 4. CSI: Miami, CBS, 11.2/18; 4. NCIS, CBS, 11.2/17; 6. Deal Or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 10.8/16; 7. CSI: NY, CBS, 10.6/18; 8. House, Fox, 10.5/16; 9. The OT, Fox, 10.4/17; 10. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 10.0/15; 10. (Tie) NBC Sunday Night Football, NBC, 10.0/16.

ABC FINDS NEW TIME SLOT FOR LOST

ABC is moving Lost out of the path of the American Idol juggernaut and will air it at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays when it returns on February 7. Lost had previously aired at 9:00 p.m., an hour that will now be devoted to two new comedy shows, The Nights of Prosperity and In Case of Emergency, which will premiere on January 3. The network has not decided what it will air in the 10:00 p.m. slot until Lost Returns.Day Break, the network's current fill-in for Lost, has generated dismal ratings. Some analysts are predicting that the newsmagazine Primetime will hold down the fort. Meanwhile, CBS's Criminal Minds, which managed to eke out a small victory over Lost in the latter show's last two weeks before its hiatus, registered its strongest numbers yet last week, putting it at third place for the week. CBS further announced that the crime show has been given the prized slot following the Super Bowl on Feb. 4.

FORMER GMA PRODUCER SHELLY ROSS SENT PACKING

Former Good Morning America executive producer Shelly Ross is leaving ABC after 17 years after the network declined to renew her contract. In an interview with the New York Observer, Ross indicated that she was taken by surprise in 2004 when she was ousted as GMA'sproducer. "Eventually [ABC News chief] David Westin asked me to his office, and he said, 'Something's come up and I need to reassign you.' I was, you know, not happy about it. I can't hide any of that." A former writer for the National Enquirer, Ross acknowledges that she brought many of the tabloid's features to television, but, she told the Observer, "I don't like where my innovations have wound up. ... Now I really feel like I watch the murder of the month, the murder of the week, the murder of the day. I just see garden-variety murders without anything interesting."

CNN CO-FOUNDER AMAZED BY GROWING AUDIENCE FOR MSNBC

CNN co-founder Reese Schonfeld has taken note of MSNBC's continued rise in the ratings -- particularly against Headline News. "Six months ago Headline and MSNBC were running neck and neck, now it isn't even a horse race. The addition to Headline's primetime lineup of the outrageous Nancy Grace and the slightly demagogic Glenn Beck has done nothing to close the gap," Schonfeld wrote on his website, meandted.com, Tuesday. He pointed out also that MSNBC has been pulling out ahead of all cable news networks in viewers 18-34. However, he added, "That's not saying much because all the news networks do miserably in that demographic."

SINGLE SPONSOR FOR NIGHTLY NEWS: A TREND?

Reminiscent of the early days of television when NBC's nightly newscast was titled The Camel News Caravan, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams aired with a single sponsor, Philips Electronics, on Monday and pulled well ahead of its rivals. According to the TVNewser website, the Brian Williams-anchored newscast drew 10.3 million viewers, substantially ahead of ABC's World News with Charles Gibson's 9.2 million and miles ahead of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, which drew only 8 million.

CONSERVATIVE GROUP BLASTS STUDIO 60 RENEWAL

Townhall.com, a website operated by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, has blasted NBC's decision to renew Aaron Sorkin's Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Sorkin, it said Tuesday, "will get to continue his anti-Christianity themed show despite low ratings." The website accused Sorkin not only of pushing "his radical agenda on television," but of using his wealth to fund liberal causes and political candidates.

YAHOO! EXPERIENCES BRAUN OUT

Former ABC television chief Lloyd Braun has quit Yahoo! after plans to restructure the company left him in a diminished role, according to published reports. In an interview with today's (Wednesday) Los Angeles Times, Braun said, "I'm really ready for another challenge, perhaps one that combines old media and new media." Shares in Yahoo! have fallen 30 percent over the past year.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.