GIBSON: NEWSCASTS CAN'T DRAW YOUNG VIEWERS

Charles Gibson suggests that his successful rise to the top of the ratings among the network news anchors has come as a result of doing "nothing" -- his word -- to achieve that goal. In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Gibson, whose ABC World News is now the No. 1-rated evening newscast, said that ratings are "like crack for producers. ... You get into thinking, 'OK, we did that story, it rated well, so let's do more on that subject.' I don't think you can do that." Likewise, he suggested that the content of the programs will not draw younger viewers. "People's lifestyles give them a chance to watch the 6:30 p.m. news or they don't," he said, suggesting that younger viewers are generally occupied with other matters at that time. "But in 15 years when [the kids are] off to college and you're coming home maybe in the late afternoon ... and want to find out what's gone on that day, maybe at that point you'll turn it on," he said. Gibson also suggested that he was initially jealous that NBC had received the package of videos that Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-hui had produced on the day of his rampage. Then, "I thought, 'Boy, I'm glad he did that to them and not to us because they have got a really, really tricky decision on their hands.'" More recently Gibson says he decided not to air a report by ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross about the so-called DC Madam because other news developments demanded greater attention.

COURIC NEWSCAST RATINGS FALL TO RECORD LOW

During a week that saw the ratings of all evening newscasts decline, the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric declined the most, falling to 6.05 million viewers -- the fewest ever recorded (or at least since the modern Nielsen People Meters were introduced in 1987) for the CBS newscast. At the same time World News With Charles Gibson enjoyed its widest lead over NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams since the week of Peter Jennings' death in August 2005. 8.1 million viewers tuned in to the ABC newscast compared with 7.5 million for Williams's. It was the ABC newscast's ninth first-place finish in the past 13 weeks.

IDOL CAN'T LIFT FOX OUT OF THIRD PLACE

Despite placing three shows in Nielsen's top five, Fox came in third behind CBS and ABC in the ratings last week. The top two shows were Wednesday's American Idol results episode, which attracted 28.8 million viewers and Tuesday's performance episode, which drew 26.7 million. Fox's House placed fifth with 21.1 million viewers. But ABC also produced some strong contenders, including a two-hour Grey's Anatomy, which landed in third place, and the Monday edition of Dancing With the Stars, which followed in fourth place. Nevertheless CBS performed the most consistently, capturing an average 7.9 rating and a 13 share for the week. ABC placed second with an average 6.4/10, followed by Fox, with a 6.3/10. NBC trailed with a 5.8/9.

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

1. American Idol (Wednesday), Fox, 17.0/26; 2. American Idol (Tuesday), Fox, 15.7/25; 3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 13.4/21; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 12.6/20; 5. House, Fox, 12.5/19; 6. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 11.7/18; 7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 11.4/19; 8. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 11.1/17; 9. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 10.7/16; 10. Without a Trace, CBS, 9.6/16.

FASTEST CABLE MODEM TO GO ONLINE BY 2009

Comcast has unveiled a new cable modem capable of speeds of 150 megabits per second -- some 25 times faster than standard cable modems. The device, which requires linking four cable lines together and is faster than Verizon's FiOS fiber-optic technology, was displayed at the National Cable and Telecommunications Assn. meeting in Las Vegas. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said that he expects the system, currently dubbed DOCSIS 3.0, will become available in 2009.

SONY POCKETS ANOTHER $33 MILLION FOR SPIDEY

It may only have hit the theaters a few days ago, but News Corp's FX Entertainment Channel has landed rights to Spider-Man 3 for what could amount to $33 million if the domestic gross exceeds $400 million. The five-year deal with Sony Films also allows the studio to sell the picture on broadcast TV for an additional $7-10 million. FX will first be allowed to air the film in December 2009.

BO DUKE RUNS INTO EBAY HAZARD

The sale of actor John Schneider's General Lee automobile, made famous in the Dukes of Hazzard TV series, for nearly $10 million on the eBay auction site appeared to be in doubt Tuesday as the highest bidder, identified as William Fisher of Laguna Hills, failed to deliver a scheduled deposit. Ebay had said that only "qualified bidders" would be permitted to bid on the vehicle but did not indicate how it would determine the qualifications. Today's (Wednesday) Ventura County Star reported that Fisher had "backed out of the deal" and that Schneider, who played Bo Duke on the TV series, plans to take legal action against him.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.