What was described as a "control room crash" at the ABC Network nerve center in New York knocked the last several minutes of the Dancing With the Starsresults show off the air in parts of the country Tuesday night. Memphis television station WPTY reported during its Eyewitness Newstelecast, which followed the network telecast, that the end of the show, which saw the elimination of contestant Paulina Porizkova, did not air anywhere in the central time zone. The technical problem would have had detrimental consequences had it occurred during the live performance telecast a night earlier. As it was, Porizkova and her partner, first-season winner Alec Mazo, received better scores from the show's judges than they did from the audience. Tuesday's show continued to perform spectacularly in the ratings, posting a 12.9 rating and a 19 share. Nevertheless, Fox's American Idolfinished higher for the night, recording a 16.1/25, as did Idol's lead-out, House,which posted a 14.1/21.


The Walt Disney Co. is expected to announce today (Wednesday) that it will construct a gigantic 70,000-square-foot sports arena at its Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL. The Orlando Sentinelreported that the Jostens Center will permit several sports events to be staged simultaneously. The announcement comes on the tenth anniversary of the Florida complex. In January, Disney said that it had signed a "strategic alliance" with Jostens, a company that produces school and sports mementos, including class rings, yearbooks, and souvenirs. The sports center will be outfitted with state-of-the-art TV and Internet technology, and participants in events there will receive "memory books" from Jostens, the Sentinelsaid.


The owners of the TV and film rights to George Orwell's 1984 said Tuesday that they are monitoring closely the controversy over a spoof of Apple's 1984 "Big Brother" ad produced by a supporter of Sen. Barak Obama, in which Hilary Clinton is portrayed as Big Brother. "We recognize the legal issues inherent under the First Amendment and the copyright law as to political expression of opinion, but we want the world at large to know that we take our copyright ownership of one of the world's great novels very seriously," Gina Rosenblum, president of Rosenblum Productions Inc., said in a statement. She noted that after Apple's original ad aired during the 1984 Super Bowl, "we immediately objected to this unauthorized commercial use of the novel, and sent a 'cease-and-desist' letter both to Apple and to its ad agency. The commercial never aired on television again."


The availability of U.S. television shows on the Internet has forced TV networks and program producers to provide them to overseas TV networks far earlier than they had in the past, the Wall Street Journalreported today (Wednesday). The newspaper noted that episodes of ABC's Lostnow air in Britain on BSkyB just four days after they air in the U.S. Previously, a delay of three to six months was typical before such shows appeared overseas. As Tom Toumazis, who oversees distribution of ABC's programs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, observed, "Who wants to wait six months to see season three of Lost when you can download it?"


The juggernaut that is American Idolpressed on last week, joined in the top-ten ratings list by another talent competition, ABC's Dancing With the Stars.Still CBS's coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament gave the network a rare overall win during an Idolmonth as it averaged a 7.4 rating and a 12 share. Fox was close behind with a 6.8/11. ABC finished third with a 5.9/10, while NBC trailed with 4.9/8.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 17.4/27; 2. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 16.1/25; 3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 14.4/22; 4. Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 13.7/21; 5. CSI: Miami, CBS, 11.6/19; 6. NCIS, CBS, 9.8/15; 7. Criminal Minds, CBS, 9.7/15; 8. CSI: NY, CBS, 9.1/15; 8. Til Death, Fox, 9.1/14; 10. Cold Case, CBS, 8.7/14; 10. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 8.7/13.