REPORT: IT'S A DONE DEAL AS RUPE ACQUIRES WSJ

Rupert Murdoch has completed negotiations to acquire Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, for $5 billion, the British magazine The Business reported today (Friday), citing sources acting for Dow Jones in the negotiations. The magazine said that a formal announcement is expected to be made next week. The report indicated that the deal includes a legally enforceable agreement aimed at guaranteeing the editorial independence of the Journal. Under it, Murdoch's News Corp will have the power to hire and fire the newspaper's top editors and publishers, but a five-person outside committee, selected jointly by News Corp and Dow Jones, may veto the decisions. It was not immediately clear whether the agreement could also be applied to a cable business network that News Corp plans to launch this year that will reportedly be dubbed the Wall Street Journal Channel.

TELEMUNDO ANCHOR SUSPENDED AFTER AFFAIR WITH MAYOR

The scandal over Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's romantic relationship with Telemundo news anchor Mirthala Salinas has spilled over into the purview of journalistic ethics, with word that Salinas was reporting about the mayor at the same time she was involved in her affair with him. On Thursday, Salinas was placed on leave while her conduct was being reviewed. She issued a statement saying, "I am confident that when all the facts are analyzed, it will be clear that I conducted myself in an appropriate way." But Bob Steele, who teaches journalistic ethics at the Poynter Institute in Florida, commented, "It's a classic 'warning bell' case for all journalists across the land. The principle of independence is essential to the credibility of reporting on government officials. That independence is jeopardized when a journalist has a personal relationship with someone she or he covers. Competing loyalties, if not properly and ethically handled, can erode the integrity of the journalist and of the journalist's news organization." (Telemundo is a corporate sibling of NBC.) And Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez commented today (Friday) that if he had ever slept with a prominent female City Hall politician, "I'd probably be scratching at the door of the Recycler."

EX-NBC PROGRAMMING BOSS REILLY HEADING FOR FOX?

Former NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly is in talks to switch to Fox TV in a similar position, while Peter Liguori, the current Fox entertainment chief takes on a broader job with the network, Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter reported today (Friday). The two executives had previously worked together at News Corp's cable channel FX, where they developed the hits The Shield and Nip/Tuck, among others.

5TH GRADER GOES TO HEAD OF CLASS

Critics who attributed last season's success of Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? to its time slot following American Idol may have had reason to reconsider their assessment as reruns of the show on Thursday night averaged a 5.9 rating and a 10 share and gave Fox a win on the highly competitive night. The game show beat the latest season opener of CBS's Big Brother, which premiered in second place at 8:00 p.m. with a 4.8/9, and ABC's Grey's Anatomy, which took over second place at 9:00 p.m. with a 4.0/7. CBS regained first place at 10:00 p.m. with a rerun of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation posting a 7.3/12, making it the highest-rated program of the night.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.