BANCROFTS BEGIN FINAL TALKS ON WSJ SALE

After a day-long meeting in Boston where they heard lawyers and business analysts discuss the pros and cons of Rupert Murdoch's offer to buy Dow Jones, members of the Bancroft family, who own the Wall Street Journal's publishing company, remained divided on whether to accept the bid, the Journal reported today (Tuesday). The family's advisers, the newspaper said, had concluded that while the deal would give the newspaper the opportunity to expand, it would be difficult to enforce proposals aimed at guaranteeing the newspaper editorial independence. "The outcome of the family's deliberations remains difficult to predict," the newspaper observed, while noting that a key family member, Jan MacElree, who had previously seemed ambivalent about the sale, had now become "staunchly opposed." The Journal said that the outcome of the family's deliberations may not be known until sometime next week.

CNN EXPECTED TO PLAY MUSICAL CHAIRS AFTER HIRING BROWN

CNN confirmed Monday that Campbell Brown, the former NBC Weekend Today co-anchor, is joining the cable news network and will host a news program in primetime, but it did not disclose which existing program Brown's will replace. Meeting with reporters covering the TV business, CNN (U.S.) President Jon Klein said that while a decision about Brown's timeslot had been made, "we want to wait for the most appropriate time" to disclose it. Most writers have assumed that Brown will be replacing Paula Zahn, whose ratings in the 8:00 p.m. hour have disintegrated against the juggernaut that is Bill O'Reilly on Fox News. What is not known is whether CNN will move another one of its primetime anchors into that slot -- Lou Dobbs, say, or Anderson Cooper -- and have Brown take over their time period. Under her exit deal with NBC, Brown cannot appear on CNN until November. Complicating matters further is the fact that Brown is due to deliver her first child one month later. Meanwhile, CBS announced on Monday that it had hired Dean Reynolds, an ABC correspondent and son of the late ABC World News Tonight anchor Frank Reynolds, to head its Chicago bureau.

CAREY'S PRICE IS RIGHT FOR CBS

Drew Carey disclosed on the David Letterman show Monday night that his representatives and CBS's had agreed on a price for him to succeed Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. "I had lunch with an AP reporter today (and) I couldn't tell him anything because we were negotiating the deal," Carey told Letterman. "But during your [opening monologue] -- honestly it was like 15 minutes ago -- they called me. It's a done deal." Besides hosting Price, the longest-running game show in U.S. TV history, Carey will also host The Power of 10, the newest game show, set to launch next month.

WWE RATINGS HIT THE MAT

Ratings for Worldwide Wrestling's WWE Raw on USA Networks, which had been expected to soar during an elaborate plotline that saw WWE Chairman Vince McMahon supposedly killed in a limousine explosion, have gone in the opposite direction. Daily Variety observed today (Tuesday) that overall ratings for the Monday-night two-hour show have dropped 10 percent while ratings among males 18-49 dropped 19 percent. Worse yet, ratings among males 18-34 dropped 28 percent. The plunge was attributed to the real-life murder-suicide of wrestler Chris Benoit and his wife and son. Subsequently McMahon appeared at a tribute to Benoit, and the "Vince Is Dead" publicity campaign was put on hold (or perhaps canceled altogether).

FIFTH GRADER A SMART MOVE FOR FOX

Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? showed once again on Monday that it didn't need to ride the coattails of American Idol to garner top ratings. The show led the 8:00 p.m. hour with a 5.2 rating and a 9 share -- well above the 3.6/6 for ABC's Wife Swap and the 3.5/6 for the combined CBS's How I Met Your Mother and The New Adventures of Old Christine. Hell's Kitchen slightly improved Fox's ratings at 9:00 p.m. as it posted a 5.8/10 -- also good enough for first place in the hour. CBS took over first place at 10:00 p.m., however, with a 5.4/10 for a rerun of CSI: Miami.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.