NBC, which has been running dead last in the ratings among the major networks for most of the year, returned to the winner's circle last week among adults 18-49, the demographic most courted by advertisers, thanks to its weekend telecasts of the female Olympic gymnastics trials, the season debut of America's Got Talent, and a shift in the Sunday timeslot of Dateline NBC from 7:00 p.m. (opposite CBS's 60 Minutes) to 9:00 p.m. The Talentratings results appeared especially impressive since they were scored opposite the final game of the NBA championship series -- which itself drew an audience that was nearly two-thirds larger than last year's for the final game and ended up as the most-watched show of the week. Among overall viewers, CBS continued to hold the lead, averaging a 4.3 rating and an 8 share. NBC was close behind with a 4.2/7. Fox placed third with a 3.8/7, while ABC trailed with a 3.6/6.

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

1. NBA Finals Game 6, ABC, 10.7/19; 2. America's Got Talent, NBC, 7.8/13; 3. 60 Minutes, CBS, 6.2/12; 4.Two and a Half Men, CBS, 5.8/10; 5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 5.5/10; 5. (Tie) CSI: NY, CBS, 5.5/10; 5. (Tie) Dateline Sunday, NBC, 5.5/9; 5. (Tie) Deal or No Deal, NBC, 5.5/10; 5. (Tie) House (Monday); 10. Million Dollar Password,CBS, 5.4/9.


In its second outing of the season Tuesday night, America's Got Talent saw its numbers slide to a 6.8/11, but that was still good enough for a first-place win in its time period. It also helped propel NBC to another win among the key demographic group of adults 18-49. The show was preceded by Celebrity Family Feud, which placed first in the time period with a 5.8/10.


Reversing a policy that was established at its inception, MTV announced Tuesday that it will accept political ads for the first time during the coming election campaign. The company's announcement said that the ads must be "national in scope," presumably meaning that they will be limited to the presidential campaign, and must be sponsored by the candidate or his party or his campaign committee. In an interview with Advertising Age, MTV spokeswoman Jeannie Kedas said that the new policy would compliment the channel's current "Choose or Lose" get-out-the-vote effort. "It's a good thing when candidates want to reach out to young people and the best way to do that is through MTV," she said. AdAge quoted Democratic campaign strategist Tad Devine as saying that the network's policy shift would most likely benefit the Obama campaign.


NBC has settled a $105-million lawsuit brought by the sister of Louis Conradt, a Texas assistant county prosecutor who shot and killed himself when police arrived at his house as part of a Dateline "To Catch a Predator" sting in November 2006. An attorney for Patricia Conradt and an NBC News spokeswoman told today's (Wednesday)Los Angeles Timesthat the lawsuit had been "amicably resolved." Last February, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin rejected NBC's effort to throw out the case, saying that the network had "placed itself squarely in the middle of a police operation, pushing the police to engage in tactics that were unnecessary and unwise, solely to generate more dramatic footage for a television show. A reasonable jury could find that by doing so, NBC created a substantial risk of suicide or other harm, and that it engaged in conduct so outrageous and extreme that no civilized society should tolerate it."


An ad for Heinz mayonnaise shown for the past week on British TV was yanked Tuesday after viewers complained about a scene in which one male character kisses another as he goes off to work. A spokesman for the company issued an apology to viewers who were offended by the spot. The action, however, clearly offended British gay-rights groups, which quickly called for a boycott of Heinz products. Although the ad was not shown on U.S. television, controversy over it jumped the pond last week when Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly lambasted it on his The O'Reilly Factor, saying "I just want mayonnaise. I don't want guys kissing."