LENO GOES OUT WITH A BANG
Jay Leno's farewell telecast Friday night delivered the Tonight show's highest Friday-night ratings since Leno took over the show from Johnny Carson in 1992, according to Nielsen Research. It was also the best numbers for the show since a tribute to Carson aired on Tonight in 2005. The telecast averaged an 8.8 rating and a 20 share, doubling Leno's average for the quarter. Reporting on the ratings, the New York Times commented: "The numbers may not approach the more than 40 million viewers who watched Johnny Carson's last night on Tonight but that was in 1992, and unlike Mr. Carson, Mr. Leno is not retiring." The show also lifted Friday's Late Show With Jimmy Fallon, which posted a 3.8 rating and a 12 share. At one point during his monologue Leno proudly remarked that when he took over the show 17 years ago, it was the top-rated late-night show on television and that it remains No. 1 as he turns it over to Conan O'Brien (who takes over tonight). "Which means I get my security deposit back," Leno joked. Referring to his upcoming variety show, which will air nightly at 10:00 p.m. on low-rated NBC beginning in September, Leno remarked, "I'm going to a secluded location where no one can find me: NBC's primetime." He also said that he realizes that his new show represents a gamble. "I'm betting NBC will be around in three months," he quipped.
BOYLE MELTS AFTER LOSING TALENT CONTEST
A day after becoming the Adam Lambert of British TV -- that is, coming in second on a TV talent contest that she was expected to win -- Susan Boyle was admitted to a private clinic after suffering what the London Sun said was an emotional breakdown. On Saturday's final telecast of Britain's Got Talent, Boyle's performance was eclipsed by a family group of dynamic street dancers who call themselves Diversity. In a message posted on his blog, BGT judge Piers Morgan commented, "I'm only sorry that the extraordinary tidal wave of publicity she attracted meant so many people got either bored or irritated by Boyle mania and decided not to vote for her as a result." Meanwhile British Prime Minister Gordon Brown disclosed during a TV interview this morning (Monday) that he had phoned Morgan and fellow judge Simon Cowell to inquire about Boyle's condition. "I hope Susan Boyle is OK because she is a really, really nice person and I think she will do well," Brown said.
IDOL VIEWERS WANT RECOUNT
Most U.S. viewers believe that there should be a recount of the votes in the last American Idol contest and also believe that "power texting" influenced the results, according to a study conducted by New Jersey-based MediaCurves.com. The study was conducted following revelations that AT&T employees in Arkansas helped Kris Allen's supporters submit as many as ten votes on a single call during the voting. (Each of the persons participating in the study was shown a CNN news clip about the controversy.) The study found that 87 percent of viewers believe that voting could have been influenced by the power-texting efforts described in the CNN clip and that half of the viewers had a less favorable impression of AT&T after the recent revelations.
TV SCRIPT TO MAKE DEBUT ON AMAZON'S KINDLE
It may not be currently possible to watch movies or TV shows on Amazon's Kindle electronic book reader, but beginning today (Monday), Kindle owners will be able to do the next best thing -- download a free version of the pilot script for the Showtime series Nurse Jackie, starring Edie Falco. According to Advertising Age, the Kindle deal is only one of many Showtime and corporate parent CBS Inc. have made since the device was introduced last year. Jon Haber, director of Ignition Factory, a unit of Omnicom Group's OMD, told the trade publication that while no advertising yet appears on the Kindle, "we still saw it as an opportunity to use our client's content as advertising." He called the move "the first step in figuring out how marketers can use this platform and provide some value to consumers from a content standpoint while finding a way to raise awareness and buzz about a product, or in this case a TV show." The premiere episode of Nurse Jackie, scheduled to air on June 8, is also being posted on Showtime's website, Sho.com.
TOP ISRAELI SHOWMAN ARRESTED FOR PLOTTING ATTACK ON EXECS
Dudu Topaz, who was once called Israel's "TV Ratings King," was arrested Sunday on charges of ordering a team of former security guards to beat up two network executives -- one, the deputy director-general of the Reshet network; the other, the director-general of the Keshet network -- after the two turned down his proposal for a comeback. Judge Zion Kapah, who ordered that Topaz remain in custody for eight days, told the Jerusalem Post, "The reasonable doubt is fading away and there is now concrete material that ties the suspect to the alleged offenses." Kapah said that Topaz was also planning an attack on the editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem newspaper Israel Hayom, who rejected Topaz's proposal to write a column.