WALTERS RETURNS TO THE VIEW, BUT WILL ROSIE?
Barbara Walters, who created and co-produces ABC's The View, returned to the show Thursday and said she intends to secure "peace in the kingdom" between co-hosts Rosie O'Donnell and Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Walters insisted that the angry exchange between the two that occurred on Wednesday was not contrived as a ratings ploy and that reports to the contrary were "just absurd." O'Donnell did not appear on Thursday's show; she had previously indicated that she would take the day off to celebrate her partner Kelli Carpenter's birthday. The Friday and Monday shows were taped in order to give the cast and staff a long Memorial Day weekend. Walters said the extra time would give everyone time to cool off. But it was not at all certain that O'Donnell will be returning to the show on Tuesday. (She is due to leave on June 21, the expiration of her contract.) On her personal blog, she told a viewer that she had "no idea" whether she would return. Meanwhile, O'Donnell found a surprise supporter in her feud with Hasselbeck. On the syndicated TV show Extra, Donald Trump, who engaged in a fierce debate with O'Donnell earlier in the year, said that Hasselbeck was "one of the dumber people on television" and pronounced Rosie the winner of the feud. Finally, the New York Post reported that O'Donnell's chief writer, Janette Barber, had been caught drawing moustaches on photographs of Hasselbeck in The View studios and was escorted from the building.
FOX APOLOGIZES FOR IDOL RUNOVER
Fox Television apologized to users of digital video recorders who missed the final moments of American Idol Wednesday -- in which the winner was announced -- because the show ran over almost 10 minutes. As a result, TiVo and other DVR users were unable to see Jordin Sparks crowned the latest Idol. In a statement, Fox said, "It was always our intention to bring the show in on time, but just as with any live sports, variety, awards or entertainment event, there is no way to absolutely guarantee that the show will end exactly on the hour. Fox and the producers apologize to those viewers who were inconvenienced."
BIG BROTHER COURTS NEW CONTROVERSY IN AUSTRALIA
The Big Brother reality series, which has courted controversy in its various incarnations internationally, has touched off a new storm, this time in Australia, after it was disclosed that one of the contestants in the show's "house" was not told that her father died nearly a week ago. Producers responded that the father of Emma Cornell had expressly asked before he died that she not be informed of his death. "Everybody who is part of Big Brother is very sympathetic to her situation," the producers said in a statement. Cornell's boyfriend, Tim Stanton, confirmed that it was the family's wish that she not be told. Meanwhile, U.K. broadcasting regulator OFCOM has ruled that the British version of Big Brother on commercial network Channel 4 made "serious errors of judgment" when it aired racial remarks by Big Brother contestants about Indian star Shilpa Shetty earlier this year. The channel vowed to tighten its rules. CEO Andy Duncan said, "We apologized then, and we apologize again. We did let ourselves down, and we take it very seriously."
GIBSON NEWSCAST TAKES SECOND SWEEPS PERIOD
For the second consecutive sweeps period, ABC's World News With Charles Gibson beat NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams, widening its lead significantly. The ABC newscast averaged 7.95 million viewers in May versus 7.3 million for NBC's. It was the first time that ABC had nailed two sweeps wins in a row for its newscast since 1996. Meanwhile, the audience for CBS Evening News With Katie Couric plummeted to 6.1 million viewers -- the lowest number for the CBS newscast since Nielsen's current method of measuring viewers was introduced in 1991.
LOOSER TV AD RESTRICTIONS ADOPTED BY EU
Members of the European Union meeting in Brussels have agreed to permit more advertising in television shows and, for the first time, to allow product-placement ads. The EU, however, imposed tight restrictions on the product placements, limiting their prominence and requiring repeated disclaimers. The restrictions would also apply to U.S.-produced programs, which generally have looser rules. Today's (Friday) Wall Street Journal observed that the new rules "will make it difficult or even illegal for broadcasters to show many U.S. programs, which are often laden with product placements."