i>IDOL'S SANJAYA STICKS AROUND
Wednesday night's American Idol results show, which saw the elimination of singer Chris Sligh, while the much belittled Sanjaya Malakar remained out of the bottom rankings, once again dominated the ratings, registering a 17.6 rating and a 27 share. Meanwhile, support for Sanjaya via the website votefortheworst.com appears to be growing, helped by frequent plugging from radio personality Howard Stern. One blogger has gone on a hunger strike to protest against Sanjaya's continued presence on the show.
SAWYER'S "GET" DOWNPLAYED BY RIVALS
Diane Sawyer has scored an interview with the ex-wife of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey, who resigned in 2004 after admitting that he had been having an affair with a male staffer. The interview with Dina Matos McGreevey is scheduled to air on May 2 and 3 on Good Morning America, a date that coincides with the publication of McGreevey's book, Silent Partner. Although ABC trumpeted the interview as a big "get" for Sawyer, it was pooh-poohed by her rivals. Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's Today show told the Philadelphia Inquirer: "I don't think we were even interested in it." And Steve Friedman, executive producer of CBS This Morning, commented, "I don't consider her to be the story now." However ABC spokesman Jeffrey Schneider told the Inquirer. "Those guys should check with their bookers, who were making every conceivable effort to interview Dina. ... Perhaps the heads of those shows don't know what their own troops are doing."
"TWEENS" THE TARGET OF JUNK-FOOD MARKETERS
"Tweens" are fed a large daily diet of junk-food TV commercials every day, according to a study released Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. In what it claimed was the most thorough and detailed study to focus on food advertising to children, the study disclosed that 8-12-year-old kids watch an average of 212 food ads a day, 34 percent of which are for candy and snacks, 28 percent for cereal, and 10 percent for fast-food restaurants. In a statement, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback said that the Kaiser study should serve as "a wakeup call that we all must do more to address the impact of food advertising on children." The study comes in the wake of reports warning that childhood obesity is fast becoming the leading health problem in America.
TRAINMEN PROTEST AGAINST PUBLIC SERVICE AD
The Teamsters Rail Conference, which represents 70,000 locomotive engineers trainmen and maintenance workers, has expressed outrage at a public service message airing for the Environmental Defense Organization. It shows a child standing on a railroad track with a train bearing down on her. (The apparent message is that global warming will run us down unless action is taken.) John Tolman of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, a unit of the Teamsters Rail Conference, urged members of the union on Wednesday to contact Environmental Defense. "Let them know you want the ad pulled from the airwaves. There are other more creative ways to communicate this message, and it should not be done at the expense of sensationalizing a tragedy."
RESCUE ME COMING ON HI-DEF DVD
The third season of FX's firefighter drama Rescue Me, starring Denis Leary, will become the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's first TV release in the Blu-ray high-definition format. The four-disc set will sell for $79.95 versus $49.95 for the standard-definition version. It will include all of the extras present on the standard-def release -- but no more. There are no plans to release the first two seasons of the series in the high-definition format. SPHE marketing exec Marc Rashba told Home Media Retail magazine, "We're all working folks, and we're very mindful about asking [consumers] to put out more money for what they already have."
LAWMAKERS CALL FOR INFLEXIBLE ANALOG-TV CUT-OFF DATE
The former chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee vowed Wednesday not to allow any further delay in the national switch from analog to digital broadcasts, now scheduled to be completed by Feb. 17, 2009. Michigan Congressman Fred Upton was joined by current Vice Chairman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania in underscoring the need to turn the current analog channels over to emergency workers, pointing out that the deaths of New York firefighters on 9/11 might have been avoided had they had access to the broadcast frequencies. (That would have depended on where the transmitters were located; most of New York's TV transmitters were located atop the World Trade Center.)
MYSPACE MAKES SPACE FOR EISNER DRAMA
Will the generally young MySpace users be intrigued enough to watch a 90-second daily drama called Prom Queen and then go on to communicate with the show's characters? Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner is betting that they will. On Thursday, Eisner announced a deal with MySpace that will put episodes of Prom Queen on the social networking site a day ahead of their appearance anywhere else on the Internet.