"MADNESS" GIVES CBS A SLAM DUNK

Once again, an overrun of March Madness combined with the always-potent 60 Minutes gave CBS a solid victory Sunday night. The first half hour of primetime at 7:00 p.m., which featured the end of the NCAA contest and the beginning of Minutes, attracted 13.33 million viewers. Surprisingly, however, the second half hour -- which featured 60 Minutes alone, captured slightly more viewers -- 13.52 million. With ABC's Desperate Housevives offering a rerun, CBS was also able to claim victory in every other hour of primetime Sunday night.

ABC TO JOIN NBC AND FOX ON HULU?

ABC may join NBC and Fox on Hulu.com, the website paidContent.com and the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend, citing no sources. The reports said that ABC's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Co., is negotiating with NBC and Fox to take a stake in the video website, a move that would put such ABC hits as Grey's Anatomy and Desperate Housewives on Hulu. Although ABC offers many of its programs on its own website, the Hulu player has received much praise for offering sharper, smoother picture quality than others. In an interview with Times, Michael McGuire, media analyst with Gartner Inc., said that Disney has "got to go where the people are." Hulu recorded 34.7 million viewers in February. Meanwhile, paidContent said Sunday that Disney and ABC are also in talks with YouTube on a deal "that would preclude a deal with Hulu."

BASEBALL SEEMS RECESSION-PROOF

Advertisers may be drastically cutting back on TV buys during the current recession, but they're showing that they're eager to buy ads on baseball telecasts during the upcoming season, according to TVWeek. The trade publication quoted Fox Sports President Ed Goren as saying: "Regular-season baseball sales are holding up very nicely. ...In this environment, there's not a lot of good news, but that would fall in the category of good news." But Eric Johnson, head of multimedia sales at ESPN,said that the sports network is not trying to persuade clients to commit to a full season this year but is willing to sell on a month-to-month basis. "We're being willing to be flexible because we need to be," he said. What makes baseball unique for advertisers, Turner Sports sales exec John Diament told TVWeek, is that "it's DVR-proof, live, exciting and localized" and offers "family-friendly traditional values that are important for society as well as for advertisers."

MTV REWINDS MUSIC

MTV is going back to its roots during the early morning hours between 3:00 and 9:00 a.m.,showing music videos, news, interviews and live performances (including its Unplugged series of acoustic performances), the New York Times reported today (Monday). Stephen Friedman, MTV's general manager, told the newspaper that it regards the six-hour block as an opportunity for experimentation. Occasionally, he said, a single company might sponsor all the programs on the network on a particular day. "We're trying to move as the audience moves with their consumption habit," Friedman said.

WILL CBS FLIP SWITCH ON GUIDING LIGHT?

Guiding Light, which went on the air on radio in 1937 and on television in 1952 (as The Guiding Light), is about to be switched off, according to TVWeek. According to the trade publication, CBS is likely to announce the decision within the next month so that writers will be able to tie up storylines by September, when the network's deal for the Procter & Gamble-produced soap opera ends. TV Week said that CBS is already talking to outside studios about a replacement. The magazine noted that despite a recent revamping of the show, it has failed to boost ratings and currently attracts about 2.17 million viewers daily for the season, down 18 percent from last year.