Flashpoint, a Canadian-produced cop drama that CBS picked up during the writers' strike when production of U.S. shows had shut down, placed first in its 10:00 p.m. time period Thursday night and retained virtually all of the audience of its lead-in, a rerun of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Flashpointscored a 4.7 rating and an 8 share, beating the ABC documentary series Hopkins (4.0/7), which held the top spot in that hour last week, and NBC's anthology series Fear Itself (2.7/5). But it was Fox that won the night,thanks to Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, which won the 8:00 p.m. time period with a 5.0/9, followed by the So You Think You Can Danceresults show, which posted a 5.8/10.


Suggesting that ABC may want to think twice before paying Jay Leno gazillions to take over its 11:30 p.m. time period when he leaves the Tonight show next year, its relatively low-budget Nightline managed to beat Late Show With David Letterman last week for the second week in a row. Moreover it was within striking distance of Tonight among adults 25-54. According to figures released by Nielsen Media Research on Thursday, Nightline attracted 3.08 million viewers, 1.38 million of them 25-54 years old. Late Show drew 2.95 million viewers, 1.22 million of them 25-54. Leno remained No. 1 with 4.34 total viewers of whom 1.77 million were 25-54.


Joined by the Teamsters Union, the Writers Guild of America West has scheduled a third demonstration today (Friday) against FremantleMedia in Glendale, AZ, where the production is holding auditions for the next season of American Idol. Among those participating in the demonstration is Patricia Clark, described by today's Daily Varietyas a "former American Idol employee." The WGA West has vowed to stage its Truth Tour campaign against FremantleMedia in each of the cities where American Idolauditions are being held.


A new survey indicates that among those who watch video online, TV shows and movies are not among their favorites. According to the survey conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates and Metacafe, most preferred watching "short-form" videos, with "comedy/jokes/bloopers" listed as the most commonly viewed videos (37 percent) with "music videos" close behind (36 percent). "Videos shot and uploaded by consumers" was the third most popular category (33 percent), followed by "news stories" (31 percent) and "movie previews" (28 percent). Commenting on the failure of online television shows to make the top five, Metacafe CEO Erick Hacheburg said in a statement that they represent "just the same long-form programs, with the same audience, supported by the same advertisements -- only the delivery platform is different." He described short-form video as "an emerging entertainment genre" in its own right.


CNN was forced to apologize Thursday after it aired an interview on American Morning with a University of Southern California student whom it identified as Eric Pearlmutter, a College Republican, who said that there was little enthusiastic support for Sen. John McCain's candidacy on campus. Following the broadcast Ben Myers, president of the USC College Republicans, shot back saying that he had never met or seen Pearlmutter at a College Republican meeting and that Pearlmutter is not even a member. "As far as I know, he could be a Democrat," Myers told the Los Angeles Times. On Thursday night a CNN spokeswoman sent an email message to the newspaper confirming that it had "inadvertently" identified Pearlmutter as a member of USC College Republicans and that the network had invited Myers to appear on American Morning. Myers responded that "to claim that [McCain's] support is weak among young Republicans is just pure liberal media propaganda."