CBS'S RACE SEES AMAZING AUDIENCE DROP-OFF
Sunday night's premiere of CBS's Amazing Race: All Stars got off to a roaring start at 8:00 p.m. Sunday night, taking the lead with an 8.2 rating and a 13 share, but its audience dropped by nearly a third in the second half hour, as ratings fell to a 5.8/9. Earlier in the evening the overrun of Fox's telecast of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race put the network on top at 7:00, beating the usual winner, CBS's 60 Minutes. At 9:00 ABC moved into the lead with Desperate Housewives drawing the biggest numbers of the night, an 11.7/18. Brothers and Sisters held on to most of that audience at 10:00 p.m., registering an 8.0/13, coming in just ahead of CBS's Without a Trace, which posted a 7.4/12.
CHETRY JUMPS FNC SHIP; PLUCKED UP BY CNN
Weekend anchor Kiran Chetry, certainly a small fish in Fox News Channel's giant pond, found herself caught in a whirlpool of corporate maneuvering late last week, finally landing on the shores of CNN Friday where she substituted for Anderson Cooper on her first day on the job. It all began when FNC lawyer Dianne Brandi dispatched a letter to Chetry's agent, John Ferriter of the William Morris agency, accusing him, in effect, of unethical conduct during contract negotiations and cutting off further talks, effectively cutting Chetry loose. CNN quickly signed her on and announced great plans for her. CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein compared her with Katie Couric, telling the New York Times that, like Couric, Chetry "can be very natural, while also conveying authority." But one unnamed FNC insider told the New York Post: "Let's see what happens. Remember, the last one they took from us was Paula Zahn, and look where she went."
The Chicago Tribune is seeing red over Fox News Channel's use of the title Red Eye for its new late-night talk show that debuted on Feb. 6. That's also the name of the Trib's late-night tabloid edition, with a current circulation of about 150,000, which also has a website at http://redeye.chicagotribune.com. The Chicago Tribune Co. has sued the cable news network, charging copyright infringement and has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, which is set to be heard on February 26. In its lawsuit, the newspaper said that the topics covered by the Fox News program and the RedEye edition are "nearly identical" and could lead viewers "to assume that Fox and the RedEye products owned by Tribune are collaborating, thereby causing confusion."
PHIL SPECTOR MURDER TRIAL TO BE TELEVISED
Legendary record producer Phil Spector's trial for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, will be televised, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler ruled Friday. Fidler, who had received requests from TV, cable and Internet organizations to allow coverage of the trial, indicated that he intended to prevent the trial from becoming the kind of national sensation that the trial of O.J. Simpson did, noting that if it did, "I can pull the plug at any time."
ABC BETS ON KIMMEL
A week after it was reported that ABC had taped two hour-long episodes of Nightline, touching off speculation that the network might be planning to dump Jimmy Kimmel Live, Broadcasting & Cable reported today (Monday) that ABC is close to signing an extension deal with Kimmel that would keep him with the network "beyond 2009." In an interview with the trade publication, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson said, "He wants us to bet on him, and we want to bet on him, so now we are moving forward." Seeming to address indirectly reports that the network continues to lose money on Kimmel's show, McPherson acknowledged, "We've invested a lot in building him. ... It would be silly to spend the money and then say goodbye."
INVENTOR OF TV REMOTE CONTROL DIES AT 93
Robert Adler, a prolific inventor who was best known for co-inventing (with Eugene Polley) the wireless TV remote control for Zenith in 1956, has died of heart failure in Boise at age 93. He joined Zenith in 1941 and remained with the company until 1999 when it was acquired by South Korea's LG Electronics. In its obituary -- headlined "The Inventor Who Deserves a Sitting Ovation -- the Washington Post observed that Adler received more than 180 patents during his lifetime, but that it was the wireless remote that "revolutionized an industry ... and bedeviled, edified and otherwise sustained a grateful nation of couch potatoes ever since its introduction."