IRAN EXPELS BBC REPORTER
Iran has expelled Jon Leyne, the BBC correspondent in Tehran, accusing him of "supporting the rioters." He was given 24 hours to leave the country. In a statement, Iran's Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance warned, "If various British radio and television networks continue to interfere in our country's domestic affairs by broadcasting fake and incorrect reports of Iran or ignoring international journalism ethics, there will be more stern action taken." Meanwhile, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Sunday that Iranian authorities have arrested 23 journalists since the protests began. Among the 23 was the head of the Association of Iranian Journalists, Ali Mazroui. And only this morning it was reported that Newsweek editor Maziar Bahari. a Canadian citizen, had been arrested and his computer and videotapes seized.
DATELINE GIVES LOWLY NBC ANOTHER WIN
Two one-hour real-life crime stories on NBC's Dateline magazine program fared better than any entertainment program broadcast during primetime on Friday. Not that it had much serious competition -- since Friday night is fast becoming as big a loser as Saturdays for the major networks, which have watched Friday ratings plunge in recent years. Dateline averaged 5.45 million viewers on Friday, peaking in the final half-hour with 6.03 million. But earlier in the evening, NBC's returning The Chopping Block, drew just 1.95 viewers -- and that wasn't even the worst-rated show. That distinction went to Fox's animated The Goode Family, which counted $1.54 million.
WWE-USA NETWORKS COULD FACE SEC PROBE
World Wrestling Entertainment and General Electric, the owner of USA Networks, could face an investigation by the SEC into their publicity stunt last week that likely caused WWE shares to fall 7 percent on Tuesday, Fox Business Network reported on Friday. The plunge in WWE shock occurred after WWE announced that it had sold its RAW TV franchise to Donald Trump. The following day, however, both WWE and USA apologized and acknowledged that no sale had taken place -- that it was all just a gimmick to publicize a new "story arc" for the wrestling show. But Randy Katz, a securities lawyer with Baker & Hostetler, told FBN that an SEC probe "certainly is a possibility. ... The world today versus a couple of years ago has less tolerance for these types of issues. There's a greater likelihood today, than if this happened a few years ago."
SHEPARD SMITH: "THE LOYAL VOICE OF OPPOSITION"
Shepard Smith has told the New York Times that his on-air remarks about right-wing extremists and torture at prisoner-of-war camps and his clashes with Fox News commentators have resulted in "thousands" of nasty emails flooding the cable news network. "And I know they don't mean the things they say. I know they don't hate me and want death on my family," Smith told the newspaper. Most of the messages, he said, tell him, "You don't belong there." However, he remarked, "I do belong here." While Bill Shine, Fox's senior vice president for programming, told the Times that he regards Smith as "the voice of the opposition on some issues," Smith apparently is in no danger of being fired. "Relations in the building are perfect," Smith told the Times. Fox News President Roger Ailes, he said, "is 100 percent supportive."