BIG RISE FOR TV DESPITE RECESSION, SAYS STUDY

Television will be able to dodge the recession handily, according to a study by Informa Telecoms & Media, which predicted Tuesday that ad revenue from TV would rise nearly 6 percent to $123 billion this year. An analyst for Informa predicted that a large part of that rise will be due to international coverage of the Olympic Games and the U.S. presidential elections. Broadcasters are also expected to give the Internet closer scrutiny, with most of them abandoning the subscription model and instead rely on revenue from advertising, the study said.

IDOL WINS ANOTHER WEEK

Fox once again ruled the roost last week, clobbering the competition as the number of contestants on American Idol continued to be whittled down. All three nights of Idol produced top ratings, with Wednesday's producing the biggest numbers of the week. Idol also helped the shows that followed it on Tuesday and Wednesday. Moment of Truth landed in fifth place, while the new New Amsterdam came in at No. 6. Among the top ten, it was once again a big week for unscripted shows, with only the dramas New Amsterdam on Fox and Lost on ABC bucking the trend. Fox won the week with a solid 7.1 rating overall. CBS came in second with an average 5.3/9. NBC placed third with a 5.9/8, while ABC trailed with a 4.8/8.The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 16.0/25; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 15.9/240; 3. American Idol (Thursday), Fox, 15.0/23; 4. 20/20: The Royal Family, ABC, 9.7/15; 5. Moment of Truth, Fox, 8.8/14; 6. New Amsterdam, Fox, 8.2/12; 7. 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.8/14.0, 8822000; 8. Lost, ABC, 7.6/12.0, 8591000; 9. Oprah's Big Give, ABC, 7.4/11; 10. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. ABC, 7.3/12; 10. Survivor: Micronesia, CBS, 7.3/11.

IDOL DRAWS 31.58 MILLION VIEWERS

Beatles night on American Idol Tuesday night left rivals shouting "Help!" as together they failed to attract an audience that equaled Idol's alone. According to Nielsen Research, Idol's first hour drew a 15.6 rating and a 25 share. The second hour rose to a 17.8/27, with the final half hour clocking in 31.58 million viewers. At 10:00 p.m., NBC's workhorse, Law & Order, took over first place, but with a 6.4/11 and 9.38 million people tuning in, it lured fewer than a third of the viewers that Idol did.

A NEW NIELSEN RATINGS SYSTEM?

Nielsen is expected to offer a new method for analyzing the television audience, one relying on the settop boxes cable companies install. In a deal with Charter Communications, Nielsen will be given access to information about 320,000 households in Los Angeles giving it second-by-second data about their viewing habits. Advertisers are expected to welcome Nielsen's new ratings model since it widens the audience sample enormously.

STATIONS SHUT DOWN NEWS OPERATIONS

Pappas Telecasting Companies on Monday shut down the news programing on its Reno stations, KREN and KAZR. The KREN website published its own death notice, saying that it was due in part to the fact that "the stations didn't see adequate advertising revenues to justify the expense of the news division." Pappas President and COO Dennis Davis was quoted as saying, "It's important to be clear that this is not a performance-related issue with the KREN and KAZR staffs. The video journalists producers, anchor, and news managers have given their best efforts to produce a product that we can all be proud of."

Brian B.