COURIC ADMITS REGRETS ABOUT CBS DECISION
Katie Couric has acknowledged that she now has second thoughts about accepting the job of anchor for the CBS Evening News. Asked by New York magazine whether she would have accepted the job if she had known that she would be delivering the traditional newscast that she hosts today, Couric replied, "It would have been less appealing to me. ... It would have required a lot more thought." She said that at the time she signed on she and CBS chief Les Moonves agreed that the newscast should become "more personable, more accessible, a little less formal, a little more approachable. ... That certainly is one of the things they found attractive in hiring me, otherwise they could have had John Roberts do the Evening News." (Passed over for the anchor's job, Roberts quit CBS in 2006 and joined CNN.) She also told the magazine that she has become the victim of a "fairly primal" mentality. "I've gone through a bit of a feeding frenzy and there's blood in the water and I've got some vulnerabilities," she said, without specifying who the metaphoric sharks actually are, except to acknowledge that they are CBS News co-workers, whom she described as "petty, behind-the-scenes operators." She remarked, "There are just certain things that colleagues are not supposed to do."
DEAL OR NO DEAL?
A report by the British magazine The Business that Rupert Murdoch had reached a deal to buy Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, turned out to be premature at best and fraudulent at worst as reports emerged that supermarket magnate Ron Burkle would meet with the Dow Jones board today (Monday). Word of the meeting suggested that the board was still willing to consider other suitors. Although Andrew Neil, editor of The Business, said that he stands by the report, which appeared on the magazine's website on Friday, the Journal itself reported in today's editions that Dow Jones director Leslie Hill was spurring board members to try harder to find alternative bidders. The newspaper quoted a person close to Dow Jones as saying that the meeting with Burkle is designed to "leave no stone unturned" in the search for alternatives to Murdoch. It also noted that one issue that continues to remain a hurdle in the negotiations with Murdoch has been the Down Jones contract with CNBC, which runs through 2012. That commitment, said the Journal, "could prove a stumbling block to News Corp's plans to use the Journal brand in its plans for a new, rival business channel."
BINGO! SHOW SAVED BY INTERNET
For the first time, an online component of a television show has given the show a new lease on life despite lackluster ratings. According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, ABC, which aired six episodes of the game show National Bingo Night during May and June, plans to bring it back in December for a five-night run. ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson told the trade magazine, "It is fair to say this show was saved by the fact that, while its ratings numbers weren't as impressive, that was totally contradicted by everything else we saw online." He pointed out that viewers downloaded 22 million Bingo cards online and won more than $550,000 during the show's run. Show creator Andrew Glassman told B&C: "It just shows there are metrics other than ratings to gauge success in television."
SILVERMAN IS GOLD FOR TRUMP
NBC is in talks with reality show producer Mark Burnett to bring Donald Trump's The Apprentice back for at least one more season, published reports said over the weekend. Today's (Monday) New York Times reported that NBC Co-chairman Ben Silverman, on his first day on the job last month, instigated the negotiations. "I didn't want to lose The Apprentice," Silverman told the Times. Commented Trump: "Ben Silverman gets it. ... I think he's a guy with vision and a great leader."
LIVE EARTH RATINGS FALL TO EARTH
Last weekend's Live Earth global music concert produced disappointing ratings figures in the U.K., where total viewers averaged barely a quarter of those who tuned in for the Concert for Diana a week earlier. The BBC attributed the low ratings to competition from its coverage of the Wimbledon tennis tournament. It also acknowledged that it received numerous complaints about use of the f-word by performers during the concert. "We asked artists not to swear but sometimes they get carried away," a BBC spokeswoman said. "We are very sorry for any offense caused." She added: "It was technically all-but-impossible to broadcast with a delay. It was called Live Earth and it was always intended to be broadcast live."
DIRECTV SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES ANOTHER TV SATELLITE
DirecTV said today (Monday) that a Boeing 702 communications satellite that can carry 100 high-definition channels was successfully launched Saturday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. It is expected to go into operation by the end of the year. The company plans to use it primarily to expand HDTV local programming in as many as 75 markets.