i>WALL ST. JOURNAL NOW HAS TWO SUITORS
General Electric -- whose holdings include NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC -- and Pearson PLC -- which publishes the London Financial Times -- are considering making a joint bid for Dow Jones, publisher of the Wall Street Journal, the Journal reported in today's (Monday) editions, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The companies reportedly plan to establish a joint venture that would combine the Financial Times, Dow Jones and cable business channel CNBC. If the Bancroft family, which owns Dow Jones, accepts the GE/Pearson offer, it would check Rupert Murdoch's effort to take over the Journal and use it to establish a new cable business-news channel. (CNBC already has a deal in place to use Wall Street Journal content through 2012.)
BARKER GOES OUT WITH A ROAR
On the same night that CBS aired a repeat of Bob Barker's final appearance on The Price Is Right, Barker received his 19th Daytime Emmy award for outstanding game show. Accepting the award during the televised (CBS) ceremonies, Barker, who announced his retirement at 83, remarked, "This proves that the judges have sympathy for an old man who doesn't have a job." Meanwhile Ellen DeGeneres again took home awards for best talk show and best talk-show host. And, in a first, the CBS soap operas Guiding Light and The Young and the Restless tied in the daytime drama category. The two-hour Daytime Emmy Awards telecast averaged a 6.0 rating and a 12 share, beating all of its competition handily.
BASKETBALL DOWN, BASEBALL UP IN RATINGS
Basketball and baseball are doing a role-reversal on TV, with the NBA finals in which the San Antonio Spurs swept the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games drawing the lowest ratings in NBA Finals history -- down 28 percent from last year -- while ratings for Fox's Saturday baseball telecasts are averaging an all-time high and ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball are up 45 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, Broadcasting & Cable reported today (Monday) that Fox is about to sell out its available commercial time for the July 10 MLB All-Star Game at the fastest pace since it began televising the game in 1996 -- at $400,000 a spot, up 7 percent from a year ago.
MORE VIEWERS FLEEING BROADCAST NETS
Ratings for the major broadcast networks were down 3 percent in primetime last season even when delayed viewing on DVRs was included in the measurements, according to figures released Friday by Nielsen Research. As reported by TV Week, the continued erosion of the broadcast TV audience was being attributed to the early introduction of Daylight Saving Time this year and to the increase in the number of reruns. The trade publication observed that in March, 34 percent of the hours aired on the networks were repeats compared with 19 percent last year. Nielsen indicated that competition from the Internet remains an insignificant factor in the ratings decline.
CBS FUNDING ORIGINAL INTERNET PROGRAMMING
CBS will eventually create original programming for the Internet, CBS chief Les Moonves has told the Wall Street Journal. "The Web cannot be used just to put regurgitated network product on. We have to look beyond that, we have to look to put on original content," he said. Moonves disclosed that CBS has hired "a bunch of kids right out of various film schools in Los Angeles" to work full time on creating original series for the Web. "And, there will be a day -- and it won't be that far in the future -- where one of these series will catch on, you'll hear about it all over the place, and people will be looking at these shows and it will be millions and millions of people who are watching it every week."
TALENT SHOW FINALE CAPTURES MORE THAN HALF OF U.K. AUDIENCE
Fifty-two percent of the British television audience -- or 13.5 million viewers -- tuned in to watch the finale of Britain's Got Talent at its peak Sunday night. The winner was amateur opera singer Paul Potts.