BASEBALL FOULS ONE OUT
Major League Baseball's All-Star Game, which once produced the highest ratings of the summer, was beaten Tuesday by the series premiere of NBC's Singing Bee -- at least in terms of total viewers. The NBC lyric competition drew 13.31 million viewers, according to final figures from Nielsen Research, while the baseball contest averaged 12.53 million. (Wednesday's Singing Bee follow-up plummeted to 4.7 million viewers.) In household ratings, the All-Star Game ended up slightly ahead with an 8.4 rating and a 15 share over its 2 1/2 hours. The baseball figures were only slightly ahead of those in 2005, when 12.3 million tuned in, the record low for an All-Star Game. Last year, the game drew 14.4 million viewers.
COURT TV TO VANISH ON DEC. 31
The gavel will bang down on Court TV for the last time on December 31, and the channel will become truTV the following day, the channel announced Wednesday, as it revealed its new name for the first time. "This new name reflects the network's popular line-up of series that offer first-person access to exciting, real- life stories," it said in the announcement. General Manager Marc Juris said that the channel plans to target a group that it calls Real Engagers with programs that will include a daily afternoon talk show featuring Star Jones, the fired former panelist on ABC's The View. Her show, the channel said, "will feature the day's top stories and top guests from the worlds of pop culture, entertainment, crime and justice."
MURDOCH ON BANCROFTS: "THEY KEEP CHANGING THEIR MINDS"
Rupert Murdoch may very well have thought that he had completed a deal to buy Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, from the Bancroft family, as earlier reports had indicated. The problem is, he told the Associated Press Wednesday, "They [the Bancrofts] keep changing their minds." He did not elaborate. Murdoch made the comment in Sun Valley, Idaho, where he is attending the annual Allen & Co. conference of media executives with his wife, Wendi Dang, CEO of MySpace China. Meanwhile, Murdoch's Fox News announced on Wednesday that it plans to launch its long-planned business channel on October 15. The company had indicated earlier that if Murdoch is successful in buying Dow Jones, he will rename the channel The Wall Street Journal Channel, but for now it will be called Fox Business Network.
ABC TO LAUNCH NEW ALL-NEWS CABLE NETWORK, SAYS REPORT
Using its broadband broadcast ABC News Now as its launch pad, ABC is planning to inaugurate a new cable news channel that will go head-to-head with CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, TVNewsday reported on its website Wednesday, citing affiliates familiar with the project. According to the publication, the new channel will become unique among the cable news outlets by offering four to five minutes of local news every half hour on weekdays and occasional news briefs on weekends. ABC affiliates will be given the opportunity to become stakeholders in the cable network.
ACLU ASKS SENATORS TO STRIKE DOWN BILL ON INDECENCY AND VIOLENCE
The American Civil Liberties Union has fired off a letter to the top Republican and Democratic members of the Senate Appropriations Committee asking them to oppose an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have the effect of reversing a recent court ruling and thereby allow the FCC to expand its ability to fine television and radio stations for airing indecency and violence. "The power to control the upbringing of their children, including what they watch should remain in the most capable, effective, and constitutional hands possible: the parents," the ACLU letter said in part.
O'DONNEL: CBS DIDN'T WANT HER
After originally indicating that she had turned down an offer to host The Price Is Right because she didn't want to move to the West Coast, Rosie O'Donnell said on her blog Wednesday that CBS simply didn't want her on the show. "They thought I was too controversial," O'Donnell wrote, adding that network execs thought "I just wanted to 'gay it up.'" She said she had suggested that the show include Broadway hunks, confetti, musical bumpers and a set makeover.