CBS WINS WITH RERUNS
Despite airing an entire evening of reruns, CBS was able to hold off a strong challenge from ABC's slate of reality shows Monday to win the night. ABC dominated the first two hours of primetime with The Bachelorette, which averaged 7.16 million viewers, peaking in the final half hour with 7.80 million. The second week of Here Come the Newlyweds at 10:00 p.m., however, drew only 4.77 million. Once again NBC had better luck with its news programming than any of its entertainment shows. I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here! averaged 5.18 million viewers between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., but a 10:00 p.m. edition of Dateline drew 6.66 million viewers.
AFTRA REPLACING SAG ON MOST NEW TV SHOWS
Until now, the overwhelming number of scripted series on television were produced under contracts with the Screen Actors Guild. But with SAG balking at a new contract offered by producers, most new series are being produced under contracts with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, according to the Associated Press. The wire service is reporting that 25 out of the 30 scripted shows that are due to debut in the fall employ AFTRA actors. By contrast, of 21 new shows that debuted last year, 19 were SAG and 3 AFTRA. In reporting those figures, the AP observed, "SAG's diminished relevance on TV shows may be permanent because union representation cannot be changed midway. That means that as current shows are replaced by new ones, SAG's hold may further erode." Meanwhile, SAG is expected to announce results of the membership vote on a new contract at 6:00 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).
NEW YORK TV STATIONS JOIN NEWS POOL
Accelerating the trend toward TV stations in particular markets setting up pool coverage to cover planned events like news conferences, marathons, political addresses and the like, four TV stations in New York announced Monday that they have set up a local news service that is scheduled to launch on June 22. The stations include three major network owned-and-operated stations, WNBC-TV (NBC), WCBS-TV (CBS), WNYW-TV (Fox), as well as WPIX-TV (Tribune). Such pool coverage has already been launched -- or will soon be launched -- in Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa, Detroit, Phoenix, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.
NEW MOVIE CHANNEL PREVIEWS ONLINE
Epix, the long-gestating cable movie channel/online streaming venture formed by Paramount, Lions Gate and MGM, has rolled out a beta version of its website. EngadgetHD.com, which viewed the site, commented that the main difference between Epix and other streaming services is that Epix, thanks to its studio backers, provides "many of the recent movies you want to see." Following numerous reports that Epix was having a difficult time finding cable companies willing to carry it, Engadget indicated that the company's current plans call for it to go online first and add cable outlets as they become available. It did not disclose, however, when an official online debut will take place. (Accessing the beta site now requires an invitation.)
MURDOCH CLAIMS ECONOMY IS RECOVERING
Rupert Murdoch insisted Monday that his media empire is "in pretty good shape" despite the rocky economy. In an interview broadcast on his Fox Business Network, he deflected questions about whether he had brought Chase Carey back to News Corp as his No. 2 executive to groom him to become his heir apparent. "No, I don't think we're going to make any commitments on that at all. Chase is coming in to be my partner and right hand," he said. Asked about the growing attacks on him by his media competitors, he replied, that he is not troubled by them -- "not in the least. We criticize people and sometimes pretty harshly and you have to expect some back. When you get to our age, it is water off a duck's back. ... We're glad they're worried about us."