i>LATE NIGHT UPDATE: FALLON TO REPLACE O'BRIEN
Officially introduced Monday as the successor to Conan O'Brien on NBC's Late Night when O'Brien moves over to the Tonight show next year, Jimmy Fallon joked that his elementary school principal, Mr. Nostradamus, had listed him in his kindergarten yearbook as "most likely to take over for David Letterman." As many people are aware, Mr. Nostradamus has been a bit off with other predictions over the years, but TV writers had been predicting for weeks that Fallon would be named Late Night's host (and, of course, Letterman did indeed once host the show himself, jumping to CBS after the powers-that-be at NBC passed him over for Jay Leno to succeed Johnny Carson.) Still up in the air is the question of what will happen to Leno when the game of musical chairs plays out next year (precisely when that will be has not yet been disclosed). At Monday's news conference, NBC Entertainment co-chairman Ben Silverman said that he was looking to find an inducement to keep Leno at NBC, but he acknowledged that he might not be able to do so. "I think it's a reach," he said.
FINES 'R' US
The Federal Communications Commission may fine toy retailer Toys 'R' Us $248,000 for "willfully and repeatedly" violating a requirement that they place a label on analog-only TV sets warning consumers that they will not be able to receive signals on them from February. The FCC said that it had issued eight warnings to the toy chain warning that labels in large type must be prominently displayed next to all analog-only sets. The commission also proposed a fine of $216,000 against another retailer, Value City, which had previously received two warning notices.
WHO'S WATCHING TV ONLINE? NOT MANY
While unions and studios continue wrangling over how revenue from Internet screenings of TV shows and movies should be divvied up, a new national survey commissioned by Entertainment Weekly magazine indicates that hardly anyone is watching shows online. The survey concluded that just 1 percent of viewers most often view TV shows by downloading or streaming them. That compares with the 60 percent who still watch all their TV shows the old-fashioned way -- at the time they are transmitted. Another 9 percent watch shows via their DVRs later in the day, while 14 percent do so later in the week.
APPLE CHANGES POLICY TO LAND HBO
Apple, which said "no" to NBC last December when it demanded flexible pricing for programs sold on Apple's iTunes store, is now saying "yes" to HBO. Details were sketchy, but published reports said today (Tuesday) that episodes of HBO shows including The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Deadwood would be priced above the $1.99 that Apple ordinarily charges for TV episodes. It was not clear whether Apple would now also accommodate NBC's demands for flexible pricing and welcome it back into the iTunes store.
WALTERS SAYS SHE UNDERSTANDS COURIC'S WOES
Barbara Walters says that she can identify with the current tribulations of Katie Couric because she went through a similar experience when she herself left the Today show to co-anchor ABC's nightly newscast 30 years ago. "I had great difficulties, and it was a very difficult, unhappy experience," she told Larry King on his CNN talk show Monday night. "I talked to Katie because Katie and I are friends, and I know that she's not sorry she left. ... And Katie's going to be fine. She is such a talent. If she wants to stay in the news, she can. If she wants to come off and do specials. If she wants to do 60 Minutes. If she wants to replace you in about ten years."
SMALL TV STATION USES THE INTERNET FOR LIVE COVERAGE
A television station in Idaho Falls, ID (pop. 57,000) is using a relatively low-cost system that allows it to transmit live coverage of local news events via the Internet. As reported by Corey Bergman on his Lost Remote blog, station KIFI-TV uses a technology called WiNG (Wireless Internet News Gathering) that allows it to provide "near broadcast quality" coverage without incurring the costs of remote equipment used in major markets. The technology, station GM Mark Danielson told Bergman, "is simple and dependable for our staff to use."
NOT MUCH NEW ON ABC'S FALL SCHEDULE
Frustrated by a writers' strike which forced it to postpone many of its development plans for the fall season, ABC announced that it will only air one new drama in the fall, David E. Kelley's Life on Mars, a time-travel tale about a police officer who is plunged into 1970 America from the current time. ABC will also air the final season of Scrubs, which was dropped by NBC. It is produced by ABC Studios, formerly Touchstone TV, a corporate sibling of ABC. Also making the lineup for the fall is the new Ashton Kutcher reality series Opportunity Knocks.