NEARLY 1/3 OF ALL VIEWERS WATCH IDOL
The first American Idol "results" show of the season attracted almost the same number of viewers who tuned in to the comparable show a year ago -- 29.85 million. Unlike Tuesday night's show, which faced potent competition from network rivals and fell 10 percent in the ratings as a result, the Fox talent show on Wednesday went up against only one significant competitor -- CBS's Criminal Minds in the 9:00 p.m. hour. But that program drew "only" 14.05 million viewers, even as Idol peaked with 32.51 million in that hour. On Wednesday Fox Entertainment Chairman Peter Liguori told Broadcasting & Cable magazinethat he was "relieved" but not "satisfied" to see the ratings success. He observed that the competition has also seen a drop in the number of viewers tuning in to their top shows. "Last year the premiere of American Idol was 55 percent stronger than the premiere of Grey's Anatomy. This year, it is 57 percent stronger. If you look from bellwether show to bellwether show, we have maintained our strength. But again, we are not satisfied with that."
AT&T ACCUSED OF SPAMMING CUSTOMERS
An advertisement sent as an Instant Message to "a significant number" of AT&T Wireless customers on Tuesday to remind them to watch the season premiere of American Idol has generated a plethora of complaints on social networking services. AT&T, a sponsor of the show, acknowledged that it was the ad's sender, but, in an interview with the New York Times, a spokesman observed that texting was the preferred way for many American Idol fans to vote for their favorite contestants. "Text messaging is the perfect way for us to tell people about this wildly successful show and to watch it," he said. But many of those who received the ad messages called them "spam" and denied that they went out only to "heavy texters." One person who received the message on his iPhone said that he had never sent a text message from it.
STUDY SAYS COMMERCIALS ARE GOOD FOR SHOWS
A new study published by the Journal of Consumer Research has concluded that although television viewers may say that they prefer to watch television programs without commercials, the interruptions that they impart "can actually improve the television-viewing experience." The authors of the study said that their research indicates that the content of the commercials has little to do with the fact that the ads make watching television more enjoyable (although it does in rare instances), Rather, they said, it was the interruption itself that improved the experience.
TEENS SENDING NUDE PHOTOS OF THEMSELVES ARRESTED
Forget what you may have seen on NBC Dateline's "To Catch a Predator" series about adults attempting to have sex with teenage girls that they contact over the Internet. The real predators are likely teenagers themselves, according to a study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Its survey indicates that 20 percent of all teens have emailed or posted onto social networking sites nude photos of themselves, mostly to boyfriends or girlfriends, but many to those they have "met" on the Internet. Twenty-five percent of teen girls and a third of teen boys said that nude photos intended for friends were shared with them. Earlier this week it was reported that three girls in Greensburg, PA aged 14 or 15 and three boys, aged 16 or 17, were charged with disseminating or possessing child pornography after the girls sent nude photos of themselves to the boys. If convicted, they face serious penalties including registration as a sex offender.
SOAP TO BE RECYCLED ON THE WEB
Fans of the long-running ABC soap opera General Hospital who miss an episode no longer need worry about losing a key plot point. The network announced Tuesday that it would post each episode online, on its own ABC.com website and on SOAPnet.com at 5:00 a.m. ET the day after it airs. It also said it will make new episodes of The View available online at 4:00 p.m. each day, just hours after its broadcast. The two shows represent ABC's first attempt to stream shows online that are originally carried by the network during the daytime hours.
PATRICK MCGOOHAN -- THE PRISONER -- DEAD AT 80
Patrick McGoohan, who both created and starred in the 1960's cult-classic show The Prisoner on CBS, died in Los Angeles on Tuesday at age 80 after what his agent called a brief illness. He later went on to star as King Edward I in Mel Gibson's 1995 film Braveheart and received an Emmy for a guest-starring role Colombo in 1975.