FISHBURNE MAKES SOLID DEBUT ON CSI
CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, in its first episode without star William L. Peterson but with its new star, Laurence Fishburne, attracted 17.53 million viewers Thursday night, making it the most-watched show of the night. ABC rival Grey's Anatomy drew 14.25 million viewers, but it was the top draw among adults 18-49. Meanwhile, Bones, moving to a new night, produced solid results for Fox with two one-hour episodes.
WILL SAG BATTLE ERUPT AT AWARDS SHOW?
Wrangling continued Thursday between rival factions of the Screen Actors Guild, as some observers predicted that it would surface Sunday night during the nationally televised Screen Actors Guild Awards Show. Late Thursday, a SAG spokesperson denied a plethora of reports that President Alan Rosenberg and National Executive Director Doug Allen had decided not to send out strike authorization ballots and would instead submit the final offer of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to the members. Earlier in the day, supporters of Rosenberg and Allen issued a statement in response to calls by the moderate faction for Allen's dismissal. "Allen ... is a true unionist and the strongest and most dedicated national executive-director/chief negotiator," they said. In an interview with the Associated Press, Jonathan Handel, an entertainment lawyer, said, "These guys are flailing, they've been flailing for quite some time actually ... They've been struggling and bouncing from strategy to strategy with no clear focus. I think this just emphasizes that."
COPPS TO TAKE OVER AS FCC CHAIRMAN -- TEMPORARILY
President Obama has named Michael Copps to become acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, pending Senate approval of Julius Genachowski. He'll replace Kevin Martin, who resigned earlier this week. Last week Copps said that he believes that the government had bungled the transition from analog to digital television and that the Feb. 17 switchover date should be delayed. Meanwhile, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller announced late Thursday that a bipartisan agreement had been reached to delay the switchover to June 12. A vote on the legislation will likely take place next week, he told reporters. However, the bill would allow some TV stations to make the switch early. The bill also provides funding that will allow the government to issue more $40 coupons for converter boxes.
HANDS-ON CSI ATTRACTION TO OPEN IN L.A.
Borrowing a page from Star Trek: The Experience, the themed attraction that ran at the Las Vegas Hilton for ten years, an exhibit called CSI: The Experience is scheduled to open at the California Science Center in Los Angeles beginning January 31 for a four-month run. In a statement on Thursday, the Science Center said that the CSI exhibit would immerse visitors "in hands-on science in an exciting multi-media environment with special effects direct from the CSI TV series." Members of the cast of the show would be on hand to greet them, it said.
Updated ratings figures have indicated that, with an audience of 13.19 million Lie to Me, Fox's new series that debuted Wednesday night following American Idol, beat the season premiere of ABC's Lost which drew 11.08 million, which was down 26 percent from the 2008 season premiere. Earlier figures had indicated that Lost held a slight lead over Lie to Me. In any case, both shows were beaten by CBS's Criminal Minds, which delivered 13.85 million viewers.
COURIC TO AIR PRIMETIME NEWSCAST
Apparently CBS believes that a principal reason for the low ratings of The CBS Evening News With Katie Couric is that not enough people have been able to watch it. It is therefore moving the newscast -- for one night only -- to primetime -- 8:00 p.m. next Wednesday -- where it will air in the spot normally occupied by The New Adventures of Old Christine. Today's (Friday) New York Times quoted CBS News President Sean McManus as saying that the one-off primetime newscast is intended not as a tryout for a new show but an attempt to attract new viewers to the regular newscast. (The program, the newspaper observed, will air opposite Fox's American Idol.)