ANALYSTS ENGAGE IN IDOL SPECULATION

Ratings analysts on Thursday were trying to figure out what the 9-percent drop in viewers (to 28.8 million viewers from 32 million a year ago) for Wednesday night's American Idol results show really means --, for Fox Television, which airs Idol, for its affiliates, and for its advertisers. Some attributed the decline to the general perception that Adam Lambert was a shoo-in to win the title. (He didn't; Kris Allen did.) Others blamed the expanded four-judge panel, who, they said, lengthened the show without increasing its entertainment value. Reuters dug up former Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe, who commented that the judging panel "had lost the chemistry." Others suggested that the show had become old hat and that audiences now had cable, videogames, and the Internet to distract them. On the other hand, there was a growing belief that audiences had simply caught on to the fact that the two-hour finale is simply an excuse to produce an old-time variety show, a format that rarely draws big audiences these days, and that the final seven minutes of the show, when the winner was announced, drew 40 million viewers -- an enormous figure even by Idol standards. By contrast, the first half hour attracted 23.22 million viewers.

CBS ON TOP; ITS STOCK IS NOT

CBS was able to boast Thursday that it was the most-watched network for the 2009-2009 season, that it was the only one to increase its audience, and that it aired both the top-rated drama (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and the top sitcom (Two and a Half Men). Investors were unimpressed. Shares of CBS Corp. barely budged on the New York Stock Exchange, stuck at just under $7.00, where they have been for weeks after falling to a 52-week low of $3.06 on March 9. Of all the media companies, CBS is the one that is most dependent on advertising, and there have been no signs yet that companies are going to do anything other than curtail their ad budgets.

HULU TO STREAM LIVE CONCERT

In what is regarded in some quarters as a preview of things to come -- when the Internet becomes a major video competitor of cable and satellite TV -- Hulu said Thursday that it plans to deliver a live web telecast of a concert by the Dave Matthews Band from the Beacon Theater in New York on June 1. It marks the first entertainment program to be streamed live over the video website. After the live webcast, the concert will be available for viewing on demand.

TV STATIONS TO POOL COVERAGE IN D.C.

Washington D.C. is the latest city to create a pool service among several of its stations to cover scheduled events like news conferences and celebrity appearances. WRC, WTTG, and WUSA said that each of them will assign two cameramen to the pool but that no reporters will be attached to them. Chicago and Philadelphia have set up similar pool operations. "We're in an economic time when [we] have to look for every efficiency we can," Duffy Dyer, WTTG's general manager, told the Washington Post. "It's never made a great deal of sense to have 15 cameras at some scheduled news event or ribbon-cutting. This is a good place to start making some inroads" in the news budget.

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE TROTS AGAIN FOR FOX

Fox returned So You Think You Can Dance to its schedule for the summer (another SYTYCD series is due to air in the fall), and it appeared to have lost none of its steam since last year. The two-hour show averaged 8.77 million viewers, peaking in the final half hour with 9.35 million, strong numbers for a summer series and about the same as last summer's season debut.