NETWORKS DOWNPLAY ONLINE VIDEO TO AD BUYERS

Even though networks have invested extensively in online video, they are downplaying its significance during current upfront market sales to advertisers, according to Advertising Age. For example, it reported, Anne Sweeney, president of Disney/ABC Television Group, presented results from a test of TV ads by Disney's Emerging Media Ad Lab, which concluded that "TV remains the best platform to reach consumers." AdAge, which cited similar comments from other network chiefs, observed that their "focus was all on getting the dollars onto their most lucrative platform: network TV." Meanwhile, Mediaweek reported that widespread predictions that advertisers could cut their upfront buys by as much as 20 percent may be well off the mark and that most media buyers are now saying that they will slip just 5-8 percent and be offset by additional buys in the "scatter" market when the season actually gets under way in the fall. One media buyer told the trade publication: "Ad budgets for TV will be close to last year. We just won't spend it all in the upfront unless we get the right pricing."

NBC WINS MONDAY NIGHT

NBC collected a rare ratings win Monday night with two hours of its news magazine Dateline and an episode of Medium, a show that CBS picked up when NBC decided to cancel it last month. Dateline led between 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. except in the 9:00 p.m. half-hour, when a rerun of the CBS hit Two and a Half Men took over the lead. At 10:00 p.m., Medium was edged out by a rerun of CBS's CSI: Miami. Overall results for the night were tight, with NBC averaging 7.34 million viewers and CBS, 7.23 million. ABC was a distant third with 5.66 million viewers, followed by Fox with 5.07 million.

THANK GOD THERE'S FRIDAY

The major networks are returning scripted programming to Friday nights next season after several years of airing mostly low-cost reality shows and news magazines, USA Today observed today (Tuesday), noting that only CBS has programmed original dramas on that night. The other three major networks, which combined aired just one scripted series last year, plan to air 10 next season. However, the newspaper noted, some ad buyers still regard the night as a dumping ground for shows that have declined in the ratings. "Except for CBS, Friday has become Death Valley for the broadcast networks," Steve Sternberg of ad firm Magna Global USA told the newspaper. "It's where they place shows right before they get canceled."

APPLE PLANNING TO SELL MOVIES, TV SHOWS WIRELESSLY

Apple's new iPhone/iPod Touch software update due to be released next month will allow users to download television shows and movies wirelessly, without first having to be hooked up to a computer (which is now the case), according to OpenSalon.com. The website posted screen shots for the iPhone app Twitterfon with menu items for "iTunes Movies," "iTunes TV," and "iTunes Movie Rentals." The app cannot be used for such downloads currently, the website noted. Attempting to do so brings up the error message, "The item you've requested is not available." Open.Salon also noted that the site itself is still being tinkered with, with numerous changes being introduced throughout the day.

LENO, IN FINAL TONIGHT SHOW WEEK, SAYS HE'S A SHOW BIZ VOYEUR

Beginning his final week as host of NBC's Tonight show, Jay Leno says that he has strived always to keep a level head. In a telephone interview with the Boston Herald, Leno remarked, "The real trick to show business is try not to get too excited. Try not to get too depressed. ... I have the same friends I had in high school. I'm married to the same woman I had. I'm still driving the same car I had when I dated her -- although I got a few more. I come in here and I enjoy it. I enjoy being a voyeur to show business. I enjoy looking at it and being around it. But it doesn't become my life. I don't let it absorb me."

FIRST 3-D TV SERIES BEING PRODUCED IN CHINA

Chinese Producer Wu Qiuyun has disclosed that he is close to completing what is believed to be the first television series filmed in 3D. In an interview with the Beijing News, Wu said that the series is based on the legendary tale Wu Cheng-en and the Journey to the West. A theatrical movie is also in the works. According to the newspaper, the series includes 45 episodes, 45 minutes long. 3D effects are reportedly employed sporadically, averaging about 10 minutes per episode.