MSNBC.COM RUNS ANTI-LENO ITEM

Now even MSNBC.com, whose corporate sibling, NBC, made the decision to broadcast The Jay Leno Show at 10:00 p.m. each night, has joined the number of media outlets criticizing that decision. In an article that appeared on the site Monday, veteran Canadian TV newspaper critic Bill Brioux, now a regular columnist for MSNBC.com, observed that Leno's press coverage keeps deteriorating. He cited numerous devastating reports in such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, MediaWeek, Advertising Age, and the New York Times. Brioux also cited earlier remarks by NBC executives that the Leno show can turn a profit even with a 1.5 rating among the 18-49 demo. "But the numbers have dipped below even that low threshold," he noted. Brioux quoted Marc Berman, who tracks ratings for MediaWeek as saying, "It's an enormous flop."

LIONS GATE ROARS BACK

Lions Gate, which earlier this year was squarely in the sights of corporate raider Carl Icahn after reporting a series of quarterly losses, continued to roar back in its latest quarter. The entertainment company, based in Canada and California, swung to a $31.7 million net profit in the quarter compared with a net loss of $51.8 million during the comparable quarter a year ago. While the company reported a substantial downturn in its cinema and home entertainment businesses, it was easily offset by solid performances from its TV units, which grew 30 percent thanks to the popularity of such shows as Weeds, Mad Men, and Crash. TV syndication and international TV sales also soared during the quarter. Going forward, the company is likely to reap huge rewards from Precious, which had a record-breaking opening in limited release over the weekend and is listed high on the list of most critics as an Oscar contender. Lions Gate purchased the movie at Sundance for just $5.5 million.

RECORDING INDUSTRY GLEEFUL OVER GLEE

The recording industry has been given a much-needed shot in the arm by TV shows that spotlight new CDs and by the Fox musical-comedy series Glee in particular, Reuters reported on Monday. Sony's Columbia Records and Fox TV have been releasing cover versions online of songs performed on Glee with often spectacular success. (The cast recording of the 1981 Journey song "Don't Stop Believin'" has sold more than 500,000 copies online, mostly on Apple's iTunes.) Columbia also retains first rights to recording contracts with the show's stars and gets a cut from concerts, endorsements, merchandising and ringtones, Reuters reported. It said that the CW network also gets a reduced rate on the use of music on its programs in exchange for on-air ads for the music which urge viewers to go to CWTV.com to purchase it.

CBS NEWS STAFFERS AIDING ACCUSED LETTERMAN BLACKMAILER

Longtime CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Bob Arnot, a friend of accused David Letterman blackmailer Joe Halderman, is attempting to raise money among the network's news staff to help pay for Halderman's defense, the New York Observer reported on Monday. Arnot told the Observer that Halderman has no intention of reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors as several columnists have predicted and intends to take the case to trial. Arnot said that he has already succeeded in raising $100,000 for the 48 Hours producer's defense. A preliminary hearing on the case is scheduled in a Manhattan court today (Tuesday).

GOSSIP GIRL PICKS UP VIEWERS WITH "THREESOME" EPISODE

Monday night's "threesome" episode of Gossip Girl (which included former child star Hilary Duff in the "ménage")saw a 17 percent rise in the series' ratings among women 18-34 (its target audience) and a 13 percent boost in its total audience from the previous week. However, ratings for the show remained some 29 percent below what they were a year ago. However, it often receives a 30 percent boost in its numbers when Live Plus 7 Day Ratings, which include DVR usage, are released. Monday night's show was roundly condemned by the Parents Television Council, which called on CW affiliates to preempt it. Not one did.

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