i>FIFTH GRADER: STILL SMART
Standing on its own, without a lead-in by American Idol, Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? slipped to second place in the ratings among overall viewers Thursday night with a 7.7 rating and a 12 share, while remaining in first place among viewers 18-49 with a 4.5/13. (Earlier in the day Fox ordered 13 more episodes of the quiz show.) CBS's telecast of the first day of the NCAA Basketball Tournament scored a 6.7/10 from 8-11:00 p.m., down slightly from its numbers a year ago. The highest-rated show of the night continued to be ABC's Grey's Anatomyin the 9:00 p.m. hour, which pulled a 15.4/23. NBC premiered Andy Richter's sitcom, Andy Barker, P.I., in the same hour with a dismal 4.2/6 at 9:30 p.m.
"COOTER" SAYS FELLOW HAZZARD CASTMATES VICTIMS OF P.C. "VIGILANTES"
A performance by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra featuring John Schneider and Tom Wopat, who appeared in the 1979-85 series The Dukes of Hazzard was canceled after complaints that the series had "racist overtones," according to Ben Jones, who played Cooter on the show and later served two terms as a Georgia Congressman. "What could these politically correct vigilantes possibly be thinking?" Jones said in a statement, in which he called the cancellation "a dangerous affront to the rights of performing artists and their audiences." Jones particularly criticized the NAACP for endorsing the cancellation. "I'm a life member of the NAACP and proud of it," he said. "Denying an artist an opportunity to entertain an audience because of somebody's wrongheaded political viewpoint is just plain un-American. I have fought for equal rights all of my life, and that is why I am speaking out on this." Schneider and Wopat were to have headlined a PBS special by the Cincinnati Pops on July 14 titled "Patriotic Broadway."
FEW BELIEVE MEDIA ARE UNBIASED
Only 11 percent of American voters believe the media is unbiased, according to a recent poll by Zogby and the Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet. According to the poll, 64 percent of those who detected bias complained that the media lean to the left while 28 percent complained that the media leaned right.
CBS AND YOUTUBE LOCK ARMS WHILE VIACOM AND YOUTUBE FEUD
CBS and YouTube are cooperating on creating a March Madness on Demand channel on the YouTube website that will feature highlights from the network's coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. The YouTube website will be sponsored by Pontiac, which is also sponsoring a similar channel on NCAASports.com. Reports of the deal noted the irony of its coming within days after CBS' corporate relative Viacom filed a $1-billion lawsuit against YouTube and its owner, Google, alleging copyright infringement. (Both CBS and Viacom are controlled by Sumner Redstone's National Amusements.) In its report, Daily Varietyobserved that CBS's "willingness to make available to YouTube some of its most prized content shows that the company and new CBS Interactive chief Quincy Smith are willing to play ball with Google if an acceptable licensing agreement can be reached."
PHILIPPINE NET SHOWS LONG ARM
A Philippine television network that has frequently demanded that YouTube remove clips from its television shows has reportedly threatened legal action against at least one person who published a link to one such clip on her blog. Mike Abundo, VP for emerging technologies at the Philippine Internet Commerce Society, posted on his website, http://mikeabundo.com, a letter that he had received from the woman, identified only as Sharon, who said that she had received a legal threat from "ABS-CBN Security" about the post even though "I'm all the way in Atlanta, GA." Abundo responded: "This goes way beyond ignoring the DMCA Safe Harbor Provisions, straight into deep ignorance of the hyperlinked nature of the Web itself. I'm no lawyer, but I'm sure no jury in its right mind could possibly rule against someone for the mere act of posting a hyperlink!"
PHILBIN FINE AFTER HEART OPERATION
Regis Philbin came through triple coronary-bypass surgery "with flying colors," Kelly Ripa, his co-host on Live With Regis and Kelly, announced on the air Thursday. ABC said that Philbin was expected to be away from the show for about a five-week recovery period and that it has lined up a number of replacements for him during that time, including CNN's Anderson Cooper, Donald Trump, Pat Sajak, Jeff Probst, and Howie Mandell.
HISTORY TO BE MADE TONIGHT ON JEOPARDY?
The Orlando Sentinelreported Thursday that it had received a notice from Jeff Ritter, the senior publicist for Jeopardy!, reading, "This Friday, March 16th, 2007 ... and for the first time in 23 years, Jeopardy! history will be made. I was such a remarkable event we consulted a game-theory expert, and he said it may never happen again!" The newspaper's TV writer, Hal Boedeker, said that Ritter would provide no further details and by this morning (Friday), Sony television, which distributes Jeopardy!, had replaced the announcement with an error message under its own logo reading, "Sorry, the page you requested was not found. The page may have been moved, or the link could be outdated."