COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES FOR CBS
With an overrun of the NCAA basketball tournament giving the overall schedule a big boost, CBS dominated every half hour of primetime Sunday night. The combination of the basketball game and the first half hour of 60 Minutes (featuring Katie Couric's interview with Senator John Edwards and his cancer-stricken wife Elizabeth) led the way at 7:00 p.m. with an 11.5 rating and a 21 share. Even the final -- and deciding -- episode of NBC's Your the One That I Want, aimed at finding the leads for a Broadway revival of Grrease, could not find a substantial audience, settling for a third-place 4.8/8 at 8:00 p.m.
NABET WORKERS WALK OUT OF CONTRACT TALKS WITH ABC
Only days away from the expiration of their current contract, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA pulled out of talks with ABC-TV, claiming that the network's demands would devastatingly injure pensions, security and other workers' rights. The current contract expires on March 31. In a statement issued on Friday, the union said, "Over the next few days, members of the union bargaining team and local union leaders will be communicating with members and holding meetings to discuss the situation and determine what steps the union will take next." ABC said that it was shocked by the union's reaction: "ABC did not expect NABET to like all the company proposals, just as there are many NABET proposals that ABC doesn't like, but we did expect them to negotiate, not just walk away," the network said.
CBS'S MAN IN BAGHDAD REFLECTS ON DEAD CATS REPORTS
CBS News's Baghdad correspondent has expressed frustration over how the television networks -- presumably his own, in particular -- currently cover the war in Iraq. In an article posted on the CBSNews.com website under the heading, "Covering Iraq: Trying to Connect," Correspondent Allen Pizzey writes that while the networks devoted much attention last week to 12 pets who were killed by tainted dog and cat food, the deaths of 12 human beings in Iraq would have gone unreported. "How 12 dead animals in a country the size of the U.S. rates with the sliding scale of mayhem here is what I'm finding hard to gauge," Pizzey wrote. "When only 12 human bodies are found on any given morning in Baghdad with marks of the kind of torture the ASPCA would quite rightly have a pet owner in court for, it is judged as 'progress' for the security plan."
TV GUIDE FOR ONLINE VIDEO
With broadcast and cable networks distributing clips from their shows -- as well as full-length episodes -- over numerous websites, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find which ones are posted where. Enter TV Guide, which said over the weekend that it will begin testing an online video search tool that will help users track down the programs they're looking for. In an interview with Fox News, Richard Cusick, senior vice president of digital media at Gemstar-TV Guide, remarked, "Everybody says, 'Who's going to be the TV Guide of online video?' and we say, why shouldn't it be us?"
JUDGE SEIDLIN'S EMAILS WANTED
The Broward County, Florida courthouse has received requests, presumably from media organizations, to make public email messages sent to and from the office of Judge Larry Seidlin, who presided over the recent hearing to determine where Anna Nicole Smith would be buried, according to the TMZ website. Disclosing the request, TMZ observed, "One reason the computer [records] might prove interesting is if the colorful judge was communicating with the media to strike an on-air deal after the hearing was complete, though we do not know that to be the case." (A Broward County coroner ruled today that Smith died of an accidental drug overdose.)
JUDGE NIXES CABLEVISION'S PLAN FOR REMOTE DVR'S
A U.S. District Court judge in New York has ruled in favor of content providers who had charged that Cablevision would violate copyright laws if it provided large servers at its headend for subscribers instead of in-home digital video recorders. Cablevision had planned to launch what it called a "Remote-Storage DVR System" but Judge Denny Chin, ruling in favor of the broadcast and cable networks that had sued Cablevision, said that the cable company "would engage in public performance of plaintiffs' copyrighted works in operating its proposed RS-DVR service."
ITV TO AIR DIANA'S LAST DAY
Britain's ITV commercial network has collected footage and stills from photographers and cameramen who were covering Princess Diana on August 31, 1997, the day she died in a car crash in Paris, and is assembling them into a documentary that is scheduled to air on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. The documentary, Diana's Last Day, will not include footage of the crash scene itself, the network said.
BBC TAPED EASTER SPECIAL AT CHRISTMAS TO SAVE MONEY
The BBC has acknowledged that its planned Easter special, Songs of Praise, was taped at Christmas time. Responding to numerous editorial complaints that Britain's publicly funded TV network was "tricking" its audience, the BBC acknowledged that it taped the program at Lichfield Cathedral at the same time it taped a Christmas special last year, simply changing the lighting and flowers. It also changed the dresses and suits of the congregation, the London Times observed. "Hundreds of worshipers shivered at Lichfield Cathedral after being told to change their overcoats for floral prints suitable for a warm spring day," it reported. The BBC noted that it is common practice to shoot two programs back to back.