AMERICANS WATCH FIREWORKS, NOT TV

Americans appeared to be far more interested in picnics, barbeques, and fireworks on the 4th of July than in television. Even ratings for NBC's America's Got Talent, which has become the top-rated show of the summer, dropped well below their previous average. Indeed, the first hour of Talent, which recorded a 4.2 rating and a 9 share,took a backseat to a repeat of CBS's NCIS, which posted a 5.1/10 (and was the highest-rated show of the night). At 9:00 p.m., Talent moved ahead, delivering a 4.5/9, as CBS's The Unit dropped to second place with a 3.7/6. NBC retained the lead at 10:00 p.m. as a rerun of Law & Order: SVU drew a 4.8/9.

WATCHDOG PROPOSES A KIND OF BRITISH FOX NEWS

Britain's media watchdog OFCOM has suggested that the only way to draw young people and minorities to television news may be to lift rules requiring impartiality. In a statement, OFCOM suggested that allowing a wide range of opinion on television could "help reengage viewers." The current requirements, it observed, may have "fostered a middle-of-the-road culture." A recent study, it further noted, found that two thirds of young people said much of the news is not relevant to them -- up from 44 percent five years ago. Reporting on the OFCOM statement, Britain's Guardian newspaper observed: "In the U.S., where there are no rules demanding impartiality in television news, the right-wing network Fox News has won viewers at the expense of traditional [newscasts]."

Brian B.