WHO'S WATCHING TV?

Only three scripted television shows wound up in the Nielsen top-ten last week, CBS's Two and a Half Men, Criminal Minds, and CSI: Miami, all of them reruns. During a week in which the average entertainment show attracted fewer viewers than the evening newscasts, only one show, NBC's America's Got Talent, drew more than 10 million viewers. CBS won the week with an average 4.4 rating and an 8 share representing just 6.6 million viewers. NBC placed second with a 4.0/7. Fox came in third with a 3.5/6, and ABC trailed with a 3.3/6.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. America's Got Talent, NBC, 7.1/12; 2. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.4/13; 3. Celebrity Family Feud, NBC, 5.8/10; 3. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.8/10; 5. Wipeout, ABC, 5.7/10; 6. Million Dollar Password, CBS, 5.6/10; 7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 5.5/10; 8. Criminal Minds, CBS, 5.4/9; 9. 48 Hours Mystery (Tuesday), CBS, 5.3/9; 9. The Bachelorette, ABC, 5.3/9.

NBC NIGHTLY NEWS OVERTAKES ABC'S WORLD NEWS

NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams remained the most-watched network evening newscast during the second quarter, averaging 8 million viewers each night, according to Nielsen Media Research. It edged out ABC's World News With Charles Gibson, which recorded 7.8 million viewers. Last year, the order was reversed. Meanwhile CBS Evening News With Katie Couric continued to lose viewers, averaging 5.6 million, down 528,000 viewers from the same quarter a year ago. If Couric was feeling depressed by the latest ratings news, they may have been lifted by the announcement that the Radio-Television News Directors Association had awarded her program the Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast.

HOLLYWOOD DOUBTS SECOND STRIKE WILL HIT

Feature film production at the major studios may have halted and TV filming may have slackened but few people in the entertainment business expect another full-scale strike to hit Hollywood again, according to trade and newspaper accounts. "There's a ubiquitous sense among studio and network execs, talent reps and multihyphenates that SAG does not have the bedrock of support among its members to call for a work stoppage," Daily Variety observed today (Wednesday). The Hollywood Reporter commented that by waging a three-front war -- against the studios, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the SAG locals in New York and Chicago -- the Hollywood leadership had painted itself into a corner, with little chance of securing strike authorization from members. On its website the AMPTP said that its final offer was worth $250 million and warned that a SAG strike would cost actors 2.5 million every day in lost wages. "The other guilds and unions would lose $13.5 million each day in wages, and the California economy will be harmed at the rate of $23 million each and every day," the AMPTP statement said.

AT&T BREAKS DISH

At the end of the year, AT&T will stop selling DISH satellite services with other services it offers in discounted packages to customers, the company said Tuesday. However, it indicated that the announcement was a formality, required by its agreement with DISH to provide a six-month notice of nonrenewal. It said that it is currently evaluating the option of renewing its agreement with DISH or switching to the company's larger rival, DirecTV. DISH shares dropped nearly 5 percent on the news, trading at $27.85 at midday (Wednesday).

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.