COMPLAINTS FILED OVER "GAY" SUPER BOWL ADS

The Snickers ad that ran during last month's Super Bowl in which two mechanics munching at each end of a candy bar end up mouth to mouth and then register their disgust, offended not only gays but also religious conservatives, it turns out. The Smoking Gun website on Monday posted numerous complaints filed with the FCC over the ad. One wrote of feeling "violated" by the ad, writing "God knows, I didn't turn on the superbowl [sic] expecting to be tricked into watching gay sex." Another wrote that the spot violated "our religious beliefs and exposes our children to obscene and disgusting material they are taught are wrong." Other letter writers complained about Prince's performance during halftime likening it to gay porn. In all, the FCC received about 150 complaints about the telecast -- a far cry from the tens of thousands of letters that rained down on the commission in the wake of the Janet Jackson "Nipplegate" scandal three years ago.

CAPUS: WILLIAMS NOT SENT TO IRAQ FOR RATINGS

NBC News chief Steve Capus has expressed outrage over speculation in the press that the network has sent Brian Wiliams to Iraq in hopes of boosting ratings of NBC Nightly News, which were overtaken by ABC's World News during the February sweeps. "That is gross, disgusting," Capus told today's (Tuesday) Philadelphia Inquirer. "I would expect better from people in this industry. We don't put people in harm's way as cheap ratings ploys. At some point, people have to understand we're not playing a game here. It's not all about demographics and this and that. We're talking about somebody going into a war zone to cover a war." Capus said that despite redoubling security precautions surrounding Williams, including having him accompanied by retired four-star Gen. Wayne Downing, "everybody is nervous. I'm nervous for Brian and for the group we've got in there on a daily basis, but I don't know how we can cover a war without putting our people into dangerous situations."

COURIC: FAILED EXPERIMENTS?

The CBS blog Public Eye observed today (Tuesday) that the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric has apparently dropped efforts to court younger viewers in the 25-54 demographic group. The current feature content, said CBS online editor Brian Montopoli "seems to signal a movement away from experimentation and towards the kind of broadcast likely to appeal to the existing audience." Montopoli observed that the CBS newscast now seems "to be trying to build the audience it has, even if it means giving up, to some degree, on the one it wants."

DID U.S. SOLDIERS IN IRAQ SEIZE EMBARRASSING NEWS FOOTAGE?

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan confiscated photos and video taken by news photographers and TV cameramen that could shed light on claims by Afghan civilians that American troops angrily shot at civilian vehicles in anger after a suicide-bomb attack, according to published reports. As many as 16 civilians may have been killed, the reports said. The New York Times blog The Lede quoted Khanwali Kamran of Afghanistan's Ariana Television as saying that American soldiers deleted his footage after telling him that if it was aired, he would "face problems." Taqiula Taqi, a reporter for Tol TV, told the Associated Press that he was ordered by American troops to delete his footage. "They said, 'Delete them, or we will delete you,'" he said. Meanwhile, in Paris, Jean-François Julliard of the international organization Reporters sans Frontières issued a statement asking, "Why did the soldiers do it if they don't have anything to hide? The situation is very tense in Afghanistan, and the media should be able to report about it freely and safely."

SPRINGER'S GOT A NEW HOSTING JOB

Jerry Springer will replace Regis Philbin as host of America's Got Talent when the NBC talent show returns in the summer, the network announced Monday. Springer, whose talk show, featuring battling guests and assorted oddballs, has aired in syndication for the last 16 years, issued a statement saying, "I've been around some of America's most talented individuals on my talk show, so I'll feel right at home hosting America's Got Talent." In her column in today's Washington Post, TV writer Lisa de Moreas observed that the former Cincinnati mayor "became something of a poor man's hero last fall when he signed on as one of the 'stars' of ABC's competition series Dancing With the Stars." Philbin said that he opted out of the hosting job because "I underestimated the impact the heavy travel schedule would have on my daily syndicated talk show." Philbin's talk show is taped in New York. Talent originates in Burbank, CA.

BLACK NEWS FOR BLACK DONNELLYS

NBC's mob drama The Black Donnellys, which had a disappointing premiere a week ago, slumped even further at 10:00 p.m. this Monday night as it posted a 5.1 rating and an 8 share (versus last week's 6.0/10). The results were worse than those for the previous occupant of the Monday-night time slot -- Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. A rerun of CBS's CSI: Miami won the hour with a 9.9/16.

Brian B.