S.O.S.: SAVE OUR SAWYER

ABC executives have mounted an S.O.S. campaign -- for "Save Our Sawyer" -- to persuade Diane Sawyer to remain as co-host of Good Morning America following the current season, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Friday). The newspaper observed that if she decides to leave the morning program, her exit would generate more instability at a network that has already had to deal with the death of former World News anchor Peter Jennings and the wounding of his successor, Bob Woodruff, in Iraq. "There's only one Diane Sawyer," one top ABC News executive told the Times. "She's the best in the business, and there will never be another like her." An ABC staffer added, "She really drives the show. ... There's this environment in which she's the mommy and everyone else is just part of her household. If she were to go, it would send everything into a state of chaos." The newspaper suggested that Sawyer is unlikely to leave -- simply because there is no where else for her to go. It commented: "With Brian Williams in place at the NBC Nightly News, Vieira on Today and Couric at CBS, Sawyer is effectively boxed out of the other top broadcast jobs in the industry."

AT VIACOM, THE HITS KEEP ON HAPPENING

Only one day after Gail Berman was ousted as president of Viacom's Paramount Pictures after only 18 months on the job, the company announced the departure of yet another high-profile exec: Michael Wolf, president and COO of MTV Networks. Wolf had spent only a year with the company. Today's (Friday) Los Angeles Times depicted Wolf's exit as "part of [an] upheaval" at Viacom. In a statement, MTV Networks CEO Judy McGrath said of Wolf's departure, "We accomplished everything we set out to do together." In addition, she announced that Nicole Browning, president of affiliate sales and marketing for the company, was also leaving after 20 years with MTV.

IRWIN DEATH VIDEO DESTROYED

The wife of Steve Irwin said Thursday that all video footage of the stingray attack that killed the "Crocodile Hunter" has been destroyed. Terri Irwin said on the syndicated Access Hollywood that the tape was destroyed after the police investigation into his death was completed. Numerous still photos purportedly from the video have appeared on various Internet sites in recent weeks. They were apparently copied from an issue of the National Enquirer, which splashed one of the photos on the cover, but in an article indicated (in small print) that they were a "recreation" of what had reportedly occurred.

RICE: "MY FOX GUYS, I LOVE EVERY ONE OF THEM"

Following reports that Fox News Channel is the only cable news channel permitted to be switched on in the White House comes a report suggesting that it may also enjoy special status in the State Department, too. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was overheard remarking over an open microphone between interviews Thursday, "My Fox guys, I love every single one of them." Later, however, she remarked that she would like to do an interview with Harry Smith on CBS's The Early Show. "He's a decent guy. I know they are like 55 in the ratings, but I like him." It could not be determined what her ratings figure referred to.

CBS AND GOOGLE CLOSE TO A DEAL ON YOUTUBE

CBS and Google are in "serious talks" aimed at making the content of CBS television shows available on Google-acquired YouTube, where it could be sponsored by local advertisers, Advertising Age reported Thursday. The two sides are reportedly seeking to settle on a guaranteed amount that CBS would be paid for its programs. The trade publication said that the deal would also include a provision under which Google would pay CBS additional compensation for "past transgressions" -- the posting of CBS content in the past -- for which the network received no payment but which helped to make YouTube worth $1.65 billion when Google acquired it last November.

AUDIENCES TO SEE "TABLE READ" OF UPCOMING SITCOM EPISODE

Marking a television first, Warner Bros. will give audiences a chance to view actors reading from the script of an upcoming episode of The Class on the Internet before the show is actually taped. The company said that it will present streaming video of the "table read" next Monday at 11:00 a.m. PT and the rehearsal on Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. PT.

Brian B.