ANGER FOLLOWS STRIKE, SAYS VARIETY

The aftermath of the writers' strike has seen a striking downturn in the number of scripted television shows and pilots ordered by the television networks, affecting not only the number of jobs for writers but also the number for actors and crew members who would ordinarily have appeared on them, Daily Variety reported today. In its lead story, headlined "Anger Management," the trade paper commented, "The wave of euphoria that swept over Hollywood following the end of the WGA strike has been replaced by a whole new set of emotions: anxiety, depression, fear, nervousness -- and anger." It quoted Basil Iwanyk of the production company Thunder Road as calling the television business "a complete catastrophe" for TV workers since the strike. Variety also noted that blame-calling has heightened. One unnamed agent was quoted as saying, "The studios are punishing writers for going out. ... They want to take their pound of flesh." But Hart Hanson, creator of Fox's Bones, commented, "I don't get the sense of the companies 'taking revenge.' The strike hurt their bottom line, and they are trying, as corporations, to mitigate the financial hit they endured."

FOX REFUSES TO PAY INDECENCY FINE

Calling the FCC's decision to fine it $91,000 for indecency "arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with precedent and patently unconstitutional," Fox Television has notified the agency that it will not pay the fine and asked it to reconsider. In its report of the Fox action, the Washington Post described it as "an unusually aggressive step." While the network stands little chance of seeing the FCC's decision withdrawn, its decision moves the case closer to a court review. Last month, the FCC fined 13 Fox-owned stations and affiliates $7,000 each for a 2003 episode of the now-defunct reality show Married by America that featured a bachelor party in which naked participants were shown with their breasts and buttocks blurred out by pixelation. Although the commission held that the pixelation made the scene "less explicit and graphic," than it would have been otherwise, it nevertheless found that "the material is still sufficiently graphic and explicit to support an indecency finding."

SUPREME COURT REJECTS APPEAL ON ADS FOR ANTI-HILLARY FILM

The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a conservative group that claims that its free speech rights were violated by recent laws requiring that political ads include a political disclaimer and disclosure of those paying for them. The group, Citizens United, had produced a film about Hillary Clinton called Hillary: the Movie that it wanted to show on television and reportedly is working on a follow-up film about Barack Obama. It had taken the matter directly to the high court after a three-judge panel in January ruled that their movie "is susceptible of no other interpretation than to inform the electorate that Senator Clinton is unfit for office, that the United States would be a dangerous place in a President Hillary Clinton world, and that viewers should vote against her." The movie already is being distributed on DVD and ads for it are posted online at www.hillarythemovie.com.

DANCING WINS MORE RATINGS STARS

ABC's Dancing With the Stars danced away predictably with ratings honors Monday night, scoring a 12.7 rating and a 20 share in the 8:00 p.m. hour, rising to a 13.2/20 at 9:00 p.m. An appearance by Britney Spears on CBS's How I Met Your Mother gave that show a ratings boost as it posted a second-place 6.3/10 at 8:30 p.m. NBC continued to struggle with a minuscule 2.7/4 for its My Dad Is Better Than Your Dad in the same half hour. CBS took over the lead at 10:00 p.m. with the first new episode of CSI: Miami since the writers' strike posting a 10.2/16.

MINGHELLA'S FINAL FILM DRAWS BIG RATINGS IN U.K.

Anthony Minghella's last film, a TV movie titled The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, was watched by 27 percent of the British television audience Sunday night, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported today (Tuesday) citing unofficial overnight ratings. The film drew 6.3 million viewers, airing on the BBC less than a week after the director's death following cancer surgery.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.