HOW SUPER THE SUPER BOWL?

Next week's Super Bowl could become the highest-rated Super Bowl in history, beating the 1982 Super Bowl between San Francisco and Cincinnati, which scored a 49.1 rating, according to some analysts. Viewers, they point out, will be looking to see whether the New England Patriots will be able to end the season with a perfect record -- thereby becoming the first undefeated team since the 1972 Dolphins. At the same time, the Patriots are being matched up against the New York Giants, a team representing by far the largest market in the United States. If the game attracts the kind of audience that analysts expect, the nearly $3 million advertisers are paying for each 30-second spot could prove to be a bargain, Brad Adgate of Horizon Media told the Associated Press. "Outside of American Idol," he said, "there's no real top-rated show that advertisers can bank on right now. Even the Oscars are in a state of flux, and that's always been called the Super Bowl for women."

OSCARS PRODUCER ASK WGA TO RECONSIDER DECISION TO PICKET

Gil Cates, the producer of this year's Oscar telecast, has appealed to the Writers Guild of America not to picket the ceremonies. In an interview with the Associated Press, Cates said that the Oscars will take place, strike or no strike, but that he has prepared a "contingency" production that he "would prefer not to do" just in case, featuring "history and packages of film and concepts." He was not more specific. "This show, in my view, is really above politics," he told A.P. "It is wrong to treat the show as anything other than a gift from all the people who work in this business, really, to the exceptional talent and the community and the country." Besides, he noted, the writers have already agreed not to picket next month's Grammy or Image awards. "It's hard for me to believe that they would picket a show that really honors their own." Although the writers have not responded directly to Cates's comments, they have previously noted that the Oscars telecast traditionally draws the second-largest audience of the year, producing tens of millions of dollars in advertising revenue, and is also a promotional vehicle for movies from the studios that the writers are striking.

SIGN OF AN "OLIVE BRANCH?"

In what was being widely viewed as a positive indication that the Writers Guild of America may be moving towards an agreement with studios and networks, the WGA on Wednesday called off a planned meeting with CBS investors and Wall Street analysts to lay out their complaints against the network. The meeting had been seen as an effort on the part of the WGA to encourage shareholders to bring pressure on CBS management to reach a settlement. In reporting the WGA's decision to cancel the meeting, Daily Variety described it as "an olive branch to the congloms."

TRUTH SLIDES, BUT ONLY SLIGHTLY

Ratings for Fox's Moment of Truth fell to a 10.4 rating and a 6 share Wednesday night, down from last week's 12.9/19, but they nevertheless represented the second-highest numbers of the night, behind lead-in American Idol, which scored another impressive 14.4/22. The results for Truth are also likely to keep it in Nielsen's top ten when results for the week are announced.

IMUS IS COMING, IMUS IS COMING

It looks as if cable network RFD's decision to simulcast Don Imus's radio show will help it expand into markets that have heretofore been closed to it. Patrick Gottsch, the founder and president of the channel, has told the New York Times that he has signed carriage agreements with Comcast, the nation's largest cable operator, that could bring RFD to such cities as Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver and Nashville. The Times said that Gottsch is also seeking a similar agreement with Time Warner Cable, which could put his show back on the air in such markets as New York City and Los Angeles.

DO PEOPLE KNOW THAT TV AS THEY KNOW IT WILL SHUT DOWN?

Two new surveys released Wednesday provided conflicting conclusions about consumer awareness of the switch to digital television slated for February 17, 2009, Broadcasting & Cable reported. One, by the National Association of Broadcasters, concluded that 79 percent of the public is now aware of the planned transition. The other, by Consumer Reports, noted that of the households that will lose over-the-air transmission on the cutoff date, 24 percent believed they weren't affected and another 25 percent said that they didn't know whether they would be affected or not. "The good news is that surveys from Consumers Union and the broadcast industry show that more Americans are becoming aware of the DTV transition," Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein told B&C. "The bad news is that there is still a lot of confusion that could turn into widespread panic if the government doesn't take a more proactive role."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.