In an apparent effort to avoid last year's embarrassment when the titles of the "short lists" of Emmy contenders leaked out on the Internet, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences made the unprecedented decision on Thursday to itself reveal the full lists. The lists -- ten shows in the best-comedy category; ten in the best-drama -- are determined by the votes of all members of the academy. A "blue ribbon" panel then winnows the lists down to the five official nominees in each category, which this year are due to be announced on July 17. (This year's Emmy awards show is scheduled for Sept. 21.) The ten drama finalists include: Boston Legal, Damages, Dexter, Friday Night Lights, Grey's Anatomy, House, Lost, Mad Men, The TudorsandThe Wire.The ten comedy finalists include:Curb Your Enthusiasm, Entourage, Family Guy, Flight of the Conchords, The Office, Pushing Daisies, 30 Rock, Two and a Half Men, Ugly Betty andWeeds.


Saying that digital TV recorders like TiVo, which allow viewers to skip commercials, are encouraging advertisers to integrate their messages into the content of shows, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced Thursday that the commission plans to launch a rule-making proceeding on product placements. Among measures that Martin said the agency is considering is a new rule that would increase the length of advertising disclosures that appear at the end of programs and another to show such disclosures at the same time a product is advertised. Martin said that the FCC also wants to look into the question of whether special rules concerning product placements should be imposed on children's programming. In addition, the agency intends to look into the question of whether disclosures should also be presented on screen when product placements that appear in movies are later broadcast on TV. In his statement on Thursday, Martin said that the purpose of any new product-placement regulations is "to ensure that the public is able to identify both the commercial nature of programming as well as its source."


Ed Asner, best known for his portrayal of Lou Grant -- first on the Mary Tyler Mooreshow from 1970-77, then on the spin-off Lou Grant from 1977-82 -- has accused CBS founder and chairman William S. Paley of canceling the Lou Grantseries because of Asner's political activism at the time. In an interview with the website Fancast, Asner said, "Bill Paley was responsible for the cancellation of my show." Paley, he said, acted after Asner publicly supported a fundraising campaign for medical aid to leftist El Salvador rebels. "When I returned to L.A., I came under a tremendous amount of attack and the show was threatened with being blacklisted. Charlton Heston took me on and called me a 'dangerous, dangerous man' and then the show was indeed canceled." Asner did not disclose how he learned that Paley, who died in 1990, personally decided to cancel the show, which had won 13 Emmys. Asner said that, as a result of that experience, he has learned how "to pick and choose" his political causes. "I want to work as much as the next man," he said.


Although other networks may have decided on staggered roll-outs of their shows for the fall season, CBS is planning a traditional late-September launch, beginning Sept. 22 (Survivor: Gabon will debut four days earlier, in keeping with the network's previous pattern of launching the Survivorseries before the official start of the season.) Since a vice-presidential debate is scheduled for Oct. 2 and a presidential faceoff on Sept. 26, a few season debuts set for those dates are being postponed until the following week. Most industry observers believe that despite the early commencement of production on shows for next season, the season would likely be delayed in the event of an actors' strike.


Sony CEO Howard Stringer on Thursday envisioned a day when most, if not all, the company's products can be connected to the Internet and with each other. In Stringer's view of the future, users of Sony television sets would be able to watch Sony movies on demand or play games with others using Sony PlayStation consoles or portable players -- and vice versa. "Our mission is simply to be the leading global provider of networked consumer electronics and entertainment," Stringer said. To realize that mission, he said, Sony was prepared to invest $16.7 billion over the next three years not only to strengthen its networking capabilities but also to enhance such products as Blu-ray players/recorders, TV monitors, batteries, and electronic components.