OPRAH'S GIVEAWAY GIVES WAY

Oprah's Big Give did not give ABC the big ratings it did a week ago when it debuted, but they were still strong enough to keep ABC ahead of its competitors Sunday night. The charity/game/reality show posted a 7.7 rating and a 12 share at 9:00 p.m., down 21 percent from the 9.8/15 that it registered last week. The audience grew only slightly from ABC's 8:00 p.m. offering, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which scored a 7.3/12. ABC's Here Come the Newlyweds, which successfully rode Oprah's coattails last week, saw its numbers decline 19 percent Sunday night as it finished in second place at 10:00 p.m. with a 6.8/12.

AFTRA, NETWORKS SIGN DEAL

After relatively brief negotiations, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has reached a tentative three-year agreement with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC on a new contract covering all programs except those that are broadcast during primetime. Joint talks with the Screen Actors Guild covering primetime programs is expected to begin with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers later this month or early April, despite reluctance by SAG leaders to begin early bargaining. The current pact expires at the end of June. In a press release, AFTRA President Roberta Reardon called the agreement "extraordinary for performers" and noted that it included new media jurisdiction and compensation. Details were not disclosed.

IT DIDN'T CROAK, AFTER ALL

The defunct WB network will be brought back to life on the Internet next month, the Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday. The trade publication said that such series as Gilmore Girls, Everwood, Dawson's Creek, Felicity and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, will become available via streaming video on WB.com. Visitors to the site will be able to watch the programs free, except that they will be accompanied by commercials that viewers will presumably be unable to skip. The WB network merged with UPN, each of which had called itself the "Fifth Network" in 2006, forming an actual fifth broadcast network, The CW.

MSNBC SHUTTING DOWN CARLSON'S SHOW

After denying for months a spate of rumors that his show was about to be canceled by MSNBC, Tucker Carlson has acknowledged that it has indeed been yanked and will likely go off the air at the end of this week. Several websites said over the weekend that Carlson will become a roving correspondent for the network, focusing initially on the presidential campaigns. Reporting on the shutdown, the conservative New York Post observed, "The lone conservative at the cable news channel apparently doesn't fit in at the increasingly left-leaning outfit." Although Carlson told several reporters that a formal announcement of his departure would likely be made on Tuesday, he himself provided few details about his dismissal. The Post said that he had agreed to take a substantial pay cut to remain employed.

PIONEER SAYS IT WILL COST $200 MILLION TO CLOSE PLASMA PLANTS

It can be expensive to stop manufacturing a product, Japan's Pioneer Corp. indicated today (Monday) as it cut its full-year financial forecast as it took into account the cost of shutting down the plants that produced its plasma TV monitors. The company took a nearly $200-million charge following the decision to close down its plasma TV operations, resulting in a net loss of about $140 million for the year versus a previous forecast of about a $60-million profit. Following the announcement, Pioneer shares dropped 8.8 percent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, its biggest single-day drop in nearly four years.

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS SWITCH BOTCHED IN NEW YORK

The switch to daylight saving time over Saturday night/Sunday morning did not come off smoothly in areas of New York served by Time Warner cable, the New York Times reported today. Television shows were running on schedule, but the onscreen guide, which many people use to access those shows, was running an hour behind. Time Warner told the newspaper that the problem originated in the settop boxes, which, the Times reported, were "thrown by the adjustment to the new time, through human error, technical failure or gremlins yet to be identified."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.