AMERICA'S GOT TALENT -- AND DANCING, TOO
Fox and NBC went head-to-head against one another with talent competitions again on Wednesday at 9:00 and ended up with a draw. NBC's America's Got Talent average 10.9 million total viewers to Fox's 7.67 million for So You Think You Can Dance, but Fox came out ahead in the crucial 18-49-year-old demographic. Fox's Dance also came out ahead at 8:00 p.m. -- when it aired opposite a rerun of NBC's Talent -- both in overall viewers and adults 18-49. Fox registered 7.33 million viewers for Dance, while NBC drew 6.4 million for the Talent rerun.
THE WANTED -- NO LONGER WANTED BY NBC
Final national ratings for Monday night have disclosed that the controversial terrorist-hunting series The Wanted attracted only 2.17 million viewers, well below overnight figures. A spokesperson for NBC News has now told Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, "As of now, NBC doesn't have any future episodes on our schedule." Zurawik was among numerous critics, TV journalists, and media ethics specialists who had condemned the show for making it appear that law enforcement and reporters were working hand in glove. The show was also lambasted for its use of high-voltage production techniques and seemingly scripted scenes to boost its dramatic quotient. Zurawik noted in his column that Monday night's show featured a high-speed car chase in a residential neighborhood that "certainly seemed to put people on the street in danger." He concluded: "I think it is time for NBC News to pull the plug for good on this misadventure in TV news before someone gets hurt. Really."
RIVERS WISHES LENO ILL
Joan Rivers, who once was a frequent guest host of the Tonight show when it was hosted by Johnny Carson, but was never invited to return after she launched her own, short-lived late-night talk show for Fox in the mid-80s, is predicting that Jay Leno's nightly variety show for NBC will be a flop. Meeting with television critics at their annual summer "tour" of fall TV programs, Rivers, who is promoting her upcoming reality series How'd You Get So Rich?, quipped that the 10:00 p.m. will allow America to "get bored more easily and to sleep earlier." She added, "Have you ever heard someone say, "Did you hear what Leno said last night?" Ever?" In 1992, the New York Times reported on negotiations to bring Rivers back to the Tonight show as a guest. Nothing ever materialized.
BBC AND CNN CAN REPORT FROM ZIMBABWE AGAIN
The BBC and CNN, banned from reporting in Zimbabwe by the former government of Robert Mugabe, will be allowed to return to the turbulent country after eight years, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today (Thursday). The newspaper indicated that negotiations between the two broadcasters and the Zimbabwe government began after Prime Minister Robert Mugabe lost its majority in parliament last year. Both the broadcasters and the government released carefully worded statements urging that past disagreements be set aside and that they focus on the future. "The most important thing is not what has happened over the past 10 years, it is that we can go into Zimbabwe and report openly and legally," said BBC World News editor Jon Williams. The Guardian reported that although BBC reporters had been banned from Zimbabwe since 2001, some had been able to evade the ban by reporting from the country undercover. CNN issued a statement saying, "CNN has not been allowed to operate in Zimbabwe. We welcome the opportunity to do so going forward."