FALLEN IDOL STILL ON TOP

Even though it drew its lowest ratings in five years, last Tuesday night's American Idol still was the second-most watched show of the week last week, beaten only by the Wednesday-night edition of Idol, which drew its lowest numbers in three years. For a May sweeps week, it might as well have been June. Except for the two Idol shows, none had enough appeal to draw more than 20 million viewers. (There was a time when all of the top-ten shows during a sweeps week routinely attracted 20 million viewers or more.) CBS remained the nation's most-watched network again last week, averaging a 6.7 rating and an 11 share (or about 10.6 million viewers). ABC placed second with a 6.2/11. Fox followed with a 5.5/9 (although it continued to top the list among adults 18-49); NBC remained last among the major networks with a 4.0/7.

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

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 13.9/21; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 12.6/20; 3. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 12.0/18; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 11.7/19; 5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 11.4/17; 6. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 10.5/16; 7. Without a Trace, CBS, 9.8/16; 8. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 9.7/15; 9. CSI: Miami, CBS, 9.5/16; 10. NCIS, CBS, 8.9/14.

TIME INC.'S EX-EDITOR -IN-CHIEF HEADS TO BLOOMBERG

Business channel CNBC may not only have Fox Business Network to contend with but a reinvigorated Bloomberg News Channel as well. Bloomberg has appointed Norman Pearlstine, former editor-in-chief at Time Inc. and a top editor at The Wall Street Journal to the newly created position of chief content officer. He will reportedly be working hand in glove with Bloomberg editor-in-chief Matthew Winkler on finding ways to build Bloomberg's audience. Pearlstine told the New York Times that he plans on focusing on developing Bloomberg's key businesses, not on adding new ones. Thus far, the appeal of Bloomberg TV has seemed limited, but Winkler told the Times: "You cannot be in the news business today without being in television."

DILLER AND MALONE ARE PALS AGAIN

Suddenly and surprisingly media moguls Barry Diller and John Malone have patched things up. Malone will not pull Liberty Media out of Diller's InterActiveCorp, as was widely presumed following a Delaware court decision favoring Diller. In a joint statement, Liberty agreed to drop its appeal of that decision in return for Liberty receiving representation on the boards of each of the IAC companies that Diller plans to spin off including Ticketmaster, HSN (Home Shopping Network), Ticketmaster, and Lending Tree. Diller issued a statement saying, "Now it's really over and that's great for both of us."

A REALITY TAKE ON THE MILLIONAIRE

A day after Oprah's Big Give gave out -- it will not return next season -- reports emerged that Fox is planning its own philanthropic reality show, Secret Millionaire. The format is yet another import from Britain, where it has been a hit for two years: a millionaire agrees to live in an area of poverty for ten days, experiencing what it's like to live on a meager income. At the end of the ten days, he reveals who he actually is and hands over a $100,000 check drawn on his own bank account to at least one deserving member of the community. Meanwhile ABC's Stephen McPherson said that the network was prepared to bring Oprah's Big Give back for a second season, but "it wasn't something Oprah wanted to do."

ISAIAH WASHINGTON FEUDING AGAIN WITH GREY'S ANATOMY TEAM

Saying that he was not aware that the producers of Grey's Anatomy used a photo of him during an episode until it actually aired last week, Isaiah Washington has asked the Screen Actors Guild to look into the matter. In the scene, a photo of Washington, in the guise of Dr. Preston Burke, was seen above a newspaper article reporting that Burke had received a prestigious medical award. Washington claims that the photo was used without his consent. The actor was forced off the show last year after he allegedly taunted fellow cast member T.R. Knight with homophobic slurs and other cast members complained that he was difficult to work with.

GRAMMER SAYS FOX MISLED HIM, CANCELED SHOW

Kelsey Grammer has accused Fox executives of misleading him and the other producers and cast of Back to You. "We were told all this time we were in good shape and we were coming back" next season, Grammer told the Associated Press. Instead, he says, he returned home Friday after taping an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel's late-night show to promote the series, to receive a phone call notifying him that the show would not be renewed. "I'm not really sure what the real reasoning is," Grammer said. "I think they ended up with a show that was going to be a great show. It was a great show." He said he has already contacted CBS chief Les Moonves about picking up the show "and he was not completely discouraging."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.