HYPING THE HOOKER FAILS TO SCORE
ABC's promise to present an explosive exposé revealing the names of high-placed government officials who were patrons of Deborah Palfrey, the alleged DC Madam, appeared to fizzle Friday when a report on the network's 20/20 magazine show named only the two officials who had previously been mentioned in its publicity. ABC reporter Brian Ross said that others listed in Palfrey's 46 pounds of phone records were not well enough known to be newsworthy. Nevertheless, Ross said that among the clients was a recently deceased federal prosecutor, some military officers who included the head of an Air Force intelligence squadron, and a senior official at the World Bank. The decision to withhold their names appeared to miff some reporters who had hyped the program. "Many media outlets, including the Washington Post and a number of cable news programs, kept up a steady drumbeat of coverage," Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz wrote. The feature, which lasted only seven minutes, did little to boost the program's ratings. It drew a third-place 5.5 rating and an 11 share, about its average for the season.
OPPOSITION MOUNTS TO MURDOCH'S BID FOR WALL ST. JOURNAL
Rupert Murdoch's hope of buying the Wall Street Journal and naming his upcoming business channel after it ran into more opposition over the weekend as a large shareholder in the financial news publisher said that he would vote against a takeover by Murdoch. In a statement posted on the Journal's website, Jim Ottaway Jr., who holds a 6-percent stake in the company, warned that a takeover by Murdoch would lead to the "loss of the independence and integrity of a leading national editorial voice." He said that the Bancroft family, which holds a 64-percent controlling interest in the company, "has treated Dow Jones as a public trust, not for personal or political interests, or maximum enhancement of family wealth by sale to a high bidder."
BUYER WINS DUKES' GENERAL LEE FOR $10 MILLION
William Fisher, who operates a business from his home "dedicated to bringing the everyday home consumer quality premium name-brand products," was the announced winner Friday of actor John Schneider's car, the General Lee, used in the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, for $9,900,500. An email message sent to Fisher was not returned, and Schneider's representatives had not indicated as of this morning (Monday) whether the money had changed hands. Schneider had said that he planned to finance a sequel to his movie, Collier & Co. -- Hot Pursuit! with funds from the General Lee auction. "Now Collier & Co. 2 is in the bank," Schneider said Friday.
RACIST COMMENTS FORCE CBS WEBSITE TO PULL OBAMA COMMENTS
The CBS News website has decided not to allow comments from the public concerning presidential candidate Barack Obama because many of them to date have turned out to be racist in nature, the CBS blog Public Eye reported Friday. It quoted Mike Sims, director of news and operations for CBSNews.com, as saying that the website has often deleted racist comments about Obama; however, "the volume and the persistence" of them made them difficult to handle.
IDOL PRODUCERS PULL OUT OF EMMYS DEAL
Ken Warwick and Nigel Lythgoe, the two executive producers of American Idol, have backed out of producing the Emmys telecast in September, the TV academy announced Friday. The pair said that their current commitments and demanding schedule would prevent them from devoting "the creative energy and time necessary to make the Emmys outstanding." At the same time, the academy announced that Ken Ehrlich, who had produced three previous Emmy awards shows, had agreed to produce a fourth. The 59th Primetime Emmy Awards show is set for Sept. 16.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES REMAINS TOPS ON SUNDAY
Its ratings may not be what they once were, but ABC's Desperate Housewives remained the most-watched TV show Sunday night, scoring an 11.0 rating and a 17 share. A two-hour Saturday Night Live in the '90s special on NBC between 9:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. flopped with an average -- and third place -- 4.7/7.