President Obama's primetime ratings continue to fall, but nevertheless remain healthy. Wednesday night's health-care address attracted a total of 16.67 million viewers to the three major broadcast networks that carried it. Still, that was more than twice the number that tuned in to Fox for the first hour of So You Think You Can Dance, which averaged 7.3 million viewers. NBC's America's Got Talentremained the top-rated entertainment show of the night with 11.05 million viewers.


NBC Co-Chairman Ben Silverman says that while the network's upfront sales have been slow, he expects things to pick up next year. Reuters quoted him as telling the Forbes Brainstorm conference in Pasadena that the sell-through market should rebound with the economy. He particularly referred to the plight of previous sponsors who have had to face bankruptcy reorganization during the past year. "Chrysler will have to go in and rebrand strongly. ... We're all collectively playing [sic] for that return." He suggested that cable outlets may recover faster than their broadcast counterparts -- primarily as a result of the fact that they have two sources of revenue -- advertisers and the cable companies that retransmit the programs. He denied that NBC has been cutting prices in the face of advertising cutbacks. Although several reports quoted him as saying that NBC had landed its first up-front deal (with Group M), network executives quickly issued a statement noting only that a deal was "close" being completed. Daily Varietyindicated that NBC will likely fetch a price for the Group M deal that will be 7 percent lower than comparable deals a year ago. And Reuters reported this morning (Thursday) that NBC had closed a major deal with McDonald's for the fall season.


As part of its evolution from a cable program listings service to a full-fledged entertainment channel since it was acquired by Lions Gate in February, the TV Guide Network has purchased exclusive off-network rights to ABC's Ugly Betty, the cable network announced Wednesday. It marks the first scripted series acquired by the channel. As part of the deal the cable channel also purchased the rights to stream as many as five episodes of the hit comedy series online. In a statement, Ryan O'Hara, President, TV Guide Network and TVGuide.com, predicted that the show will attract new viewers and advertisers to our network and web site." He also noted: "This acquisition is the first step of a larger, ongoing plan to strengthen our programming schedule and redefine TV Guide Network as a place to watch great television."


Time Warner Cable -- already the object of a lawsuit by the city of Los Angeles for allegedly providing poor service -- is likely to find itself the object of the kind of jeers an umpire receives after a bad call after it aired a local commercial during the climactic moment of Wednesday's telecast of Prime Ticket's coverage of the Dodgers-Reds game. It occurred when the Dodgers' Manny Ramirez connected with a pinch-hit grand-slam home run to break a tie. The LAObserved website said that the cable company went to the commercial as the Reds were warming up a new pitcher and that Ramirez hit the hapless Reds' first pitch before the ad ended. By the time the the cabler returned to the telecast, Ramirez was already back in the dugout being mobbed by teammates while Dodger announcer Vin Scully was saying, "The noise was absolutely deafening!" LAObserved noted that subscribers to the satellite DirecTV service, Charter cable in the South Bay area, and Verizon FiOS, all were able to see the home run. "So looks like Time Warner Cable, L.A. city's official TV monopoly, chokes again," the website commented.


New York Times television critic Alessandra Stanley, who is likely the most corrected writer on the newspaper -- she is frequently cited on the websites RegretTheError, Gawker, and ReferenceTone (which called her "The Wrongest Critic") -- had her appraisal of Walter Cronkite worked over thoroughly in a corrections item on Wednesday, which quickly spread over the Internet. The Timessaid that Stanley's article "misstated the date that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed and referred incorrectly to Mr. Cronkite's coverage of D-Day. Dr. King was killed on April 4, 1968, not April 30. Mr. Cronkite covered the D-Day landing from a warplane; he did not storm the beaches. In addition, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969, not July 26. The CBS Evening Newsovertook The Huntley-Brinkley Report on NBC in the ratings during the 1967-68 television season, not after Chet Huntley retired in 1970. A communications satellite used to relay correspondents' reports from around the world was Telstar, not Telestar. Howard K. Smith was not one of the CBS correspondents Mr. Cronkite would turn to for reports from the field after he became anchor of The CBS Evening News in 1962; he left CBS before Mr. Cronkite was the anchor." Meanwhile, CBS said Wednesday that it would carry the private funeral service for Cronkite on its website at 2:00 p.m. EDT today (Thursday). It will reportedly include a tribute by 60 Minutescommentator Andy Rooney. A public memorial is expected to be held within the next several weeks at Lincoln Center in New York.