NBC TO ROLL OUT SECOND PLAYING FIELD FOR NFL GAMES

The next season of NBC's Sunday Night Football will be simulcast on the Internet, NBC and the NFL announced today (Monday). Viewers who watch the telecasts online will also receive some "extras" that are not available to the broadcast audience -- including picture-in-picture shots that will enable them to watch a play from different angles. Broadcasting & Cable reported on Saturday that the telecasts, which will be available on both NFL.com and NBCSports.com, are regarded as a test to determine whether the audience for NBC's regular telecasts will be cannibalized. While the webcasts will receive their main feed from NBC, they will not contain the commercials that will air on the network. Each website plans to sell its own sponsorship of the games.

NBC PLANNING FOR LENO'S TONIGHT FINALE

NBC is planning to give Jay Leno a big sendoff as he departs the Tonight show next May 29 and could reap huge rewards in the process. Media Post's website reported today (Monday) that the network is likely to sell 30-second spots on Leno's final Tonight appearance for $150,000 to $200,000 each versus a typical $40,000 to $60,000. Johnny Carson's final appearance on the show in 1992 recorded a 28 rating, representing 50 million viewers, and while Leno is not expected to draw as many, he is expected to draw considerably more than usual.

MORE VIEWERS MAKING A DATE WITH DATELINE

NBC's Dateline continued to post impressive numbers on Sunday, winning both the 9:00 p.m. hour and the 10:00 p.m. hour with back-to-back documentary features. The weekly news magazine has continued to dominate the two hours on Sunday since it was yanked from the earlier 7:00 p.m. hour last month, where it competed against CBS's always high-rated 60 Minutes. Sunday's first hour posted a 4.9 rating and an 8 share, beating Cold Case on CBS which pulled a 3.4/6. Dateline's 10:00 p.m. feature improved to a 5.5/9,nearly twice that of NBC's 10:00 p.m. Flashpoint which scored a 2.6/5.

DOES MOONVES WANT TO DUMP COURIC?

Although CBS chief Les Moonves wants to get rid of Katie Couric, it would cost him some $40 million to do so, the New York Post's "Page Six" columnreported today (Monday), citing an unnamed source. The Post quoted its source as saying, "He's tried to get her to move on, and she was like, 'Fine, I'll leave -- where's my money." A CBS spokesperson denied the report, telling the Post, "Katie is on the air because CBS is committed to her as an anchor."

OBAMA TREATED BY MEDIA WITH KID GLOVES? NO, SAYS STUDY

A new study has called into question claims by Republican partisans in general and John McCain backers in particular that the news media are giving Barrack Obama a free ride and have been unduly critical of McCain. As reported by today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times, the study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found that the major broadcast networks were tougher on Obama than on McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign. Other studies have indicated that Obama has received more press coverage than McCain, but the center's director, Robert T.Lichter, told the Times, "This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage."

REALITY HOSTS TO GIVE, RECEIVE EMMYS

All five reality-show hosts who have been nominated for Emmys this year will also host the Emmys this year, ABC and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have told the Associated Press. They are: Tom Bergeron, of Dancing With the Stars; Ryan Seacrest, of American Idol; Howie Mandel of Deal or No Deal; Heidi Klum of Project Runway; and Jeff Probst of Survivor.

BEIJING CRACKS DOWN ON JOURNALISTS

Chinese police on Friday attempted to prevent television news cameramen in Beijing from photographing a mini-riot that occurred among 30,000 people who had lined up to buy tickets for Olympics events. The Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal observed, "Beijing's struggle to deal with foreign journalists covering the Olympics reached a new low Friday, when several accredited reporters were assaulted or detained by police." A Hong Kong television station said that two of its reporters were jailed and that police asked the pair to delete their footage of the melee.

Brian B.