NBC'S GOT NO. 1 AGAIN

NBC, which struggled during the regular season just to place any of its shows on Nielsen Research's top-ten ratings list, had the No. 1 show on the list for the second week in a row. The show, America's Got Talent, drew 11.82 million viewers. Among adults 18-49, Fox's Hell's Kitchen took top honors. Nevertheless, CBS won the week among overall households, thanks to a strong assortment of regular shows -- mostly reruns -- and the NBA finals, which pulled strong ratings by ordinary standards but not by the standards of past NBA telecasts.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. America's Got Talent, NBC, 7.4/13; 2. NBA Finals Game 4, ABC, 6.5/9; 3. NCIS, CBS, 6.5/12; 4. So You Think Can Dance (Thursday), Fox, 6.5/11; 5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 6.4/11; 6. NBA Finals Game 3, ABC, 6.4/9; 7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 6.3/11; 8. Cold Case, CBS, 6.2/11; 9. Law and Order: SVU, NBC, 6.1/7; 10. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.1/10.

SOME OPENER FOR THE CLOSER!

Tuesday night's season premiere of The Closer on TNT drew 8.8 million viewers, breaking a record that the series set last year as basic cable's most-viewed series telecast when it attracted 8.3 million for the season opener. Turner Entertainment Network President Steve Koonin told Broadcasting & Cable, "This sends a signal to every artist and agent in the industry that TNT and cable is (sic) capable of getting these kinds of numbers."

"THE CRYING JUDGE" MAY GET A TV SHOW

CBS is about to learn whether TV audiences, conditioned to seeing judges who are tough and officious, will accept one who wears his heart on his robes. Broadcasting & Cable reported Tuesday that Judge Larry Seidlin, who raised eyebrows while tearfully delivering his ruling in the Anna Nicole Smith custody case, will star in a new daytime TV series being developed by CBS Television Distribution, the network's syndication arm. Seidlin on Tuesday resigned from Florida's circuit family court effective July 31, but said only that he planned to help his "fellow citizens through roles in the educational system, the media and non-profit organizations."

WEBSITE PUBLISHES EXCERPTS FROM YANKED O.J. BOOK

The gossip website TMZ has published three passages from O.J. Simpson's If I Did It and has indicated that it has obtained the entire manuscript. The website did not indicate whether it has also obtained a copy of the television interview with Simpson that had been scheduled to air on the Fox TV network in connection with the original publishing plans. All copies of the book were reportedly ordered destroyed by Rupert Murdoch, who owned the publishing company, and the Fox telecast was also canceled. Publication of the excerpts drew fire from the family of Ron Goldman, who was killed with Simpson's ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson. Goldman attorney Jonathan Polak told the New York Daily News that the publication destroys the book's potential value and came just days away from a legal settlement which would have given the Goldmans the right to sell the book to a publisher. "There is only one person who could have been behind this -- and that's O.J. Simpson," Polak told the newspaper. Simpson's current attorney, Yale Galanter, called the accusation "Baloney."

A "BEATLES REUNION" ON LARRY KING LIVE

In what amounts to the first Beatles reunion -- of sorts -- Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison will be interviewed together on Larry King Live next Tuesday. Joining them will be Cirque du Soleil founder and CEO Guy Laliberté, whose Love show at The Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, featuring digitally remixed recordings of the Beatles' music, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Reporting on the telecast, Orlando Sentinel TV columnist Hal Boedeker commented, "McCartney and Ono together? That's a must-see, isn't it?"

AUSTRALIA SPIED ON TV REPORTERS WITH SUSPECTED RED TIES -- AND SHIRTS

The Australian Secret Intelligence Organization (ASIO) a kind of domestic CIA operating in Australia, routinely spied on newspaper and broadcast journalists in the 1960s and '70s in the agency's hunt for possible communist sympathizers, according to a report that aired today (Wednesday) on the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC). The ABC program Dateline cited one memo which described an ABC employee as drinking heavily, having affairs with news typists, and nearly always wearing a red shirt. After an ABC journalist received a phone call from a Communist party official in 1972, ASIO head Peter Barbour contacted ABC General Manager Talbot Duckmanton. A subsequent memo said that Duckmanton told Barbour that "it was possible that the opportunity might be taken for [the journalist] not to be returned to his present duties." Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told the ABC that under current law, such spying could not happen at the ABC or any other media organization.

LAUGH-IN CO-CREATOR FRIENDLY DEAD AT AGE 85

Ed Friendly, who with George Schlatter, created the 1960s' comedy hit Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, then went on to produce the hit dramatic series Little House on the Prairie, died Sunday of cancer at age 85 in Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

Brian B.