WORLD SERIES NABS TOP RATINGS SCORE

The World Series made a surprise comeback last week, drawing an average of 19.4 million viewers and peaking in Game 6 with 22.3 million, according to final figures released this week by Nielsen Research. Last year the series, hamstrung by rain delays, averaged 13.6 million viewers, a record low. The previous low mark was set in 2006 with 15.8 million tuning in, and 2007's audience was only slightly larger. Meanwhile, football remained a potent weekly force with NBC's Sunday telecast of the Cowboys/Eagles contest drawing 21.9 million viewers. Tuesday night also produced robust competition between CBS's veteran drama NCIS and ABC's newcomer V. Airing in the same 8:00 p.m. time period, NCIS attracted 20.2 million viewers and landed in third place for the week (behind the Wednesday baseball game and the Sunday football game), while V drew 14.3 million viewers, good enough for 12th place. Each of the nightly news programs showed significant audience gains. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams once again led with an average of 9.5 million viewers. ABC World News with Charles Gibson followed with an average of 8.4 million, while the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric trailed with 6.2 million viewers. Overall, CBS won the week with an average 7.0 rating and an 11 share. Fox followed in second place with a 6.5/10. ABC was close behind with an average 5.9/10, while NBC trailed with a 5.1/8.

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

1. World Series Game 6, Fox, 13.4/22; 2. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 13.1/2; 3. NCIS, CBS, 12.2/19; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 10.9/16; 5. 60 Minutes, CBS, 10.6/17; 5. (Tie) World Series Game 5, S, Fox, 10.6/16; 7. The Mentalist, CBS, 10.4/18; 8. Sunday Night NFL Pre-kickoff, NBC, 10.1/16; 9. (Tie) CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 9.7/15; 9. (Tie) Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 9.7/15; 9. (Tie) NCIS: Los Angeles, CBS, 9.7/15.

EVEN HOWIE MANDEL MAKES AS MUCH AS KATIE COURIC

Forget about the much ballyhooed $15 million a year that CBS agreed to pay Katie Couric to anchor the CBS Evening News. At least six other U.S. television personalities earn far more than that each year, according to Forbes magazine. The financial publication said Tuesday that the highest-paid TV personality is Simon Cowell, who earns $75 million on U.S. television alone. (Cowell also commutes to the U.K. each week for appearances on Britain's Got Talent. Pop Idol, and The X Factor.) The Apprentice host Donald Trump landed at No. 2 on the Forbes list with $50 million, followed by Ryan Seacrest with $35 million. Also earning more than Couric are: Charlie Sheen ($21 million), Steve Carell ($20 million); and Howie Mandel ($15 million). (Couric does not appear on the Forbes list because her program does not air in primetime.)

PRODUCERS REVAMP THE JAY LENO SHOW

Hoping to halt the continued exodus of viewers, producers of The Jay Leno Show have returned it to a format resembling Leno's Tonight show, with "signature" pieces being brought forward to the beginning of the show, Broadcasting & Cable observed today (Wednesday). The decision runs counter to the producers' original decision to move the pieces, such as Headlines and Jay Walking to the end of the show in an effort to retain the audiences for the local NBC affiliates' 11:00 p.m. newscasts. In reporting on the format alteration, the trade publication remarked, "It looks as though NBC and Leno are taking the ratings and affiliate feedback seriously and tweaking the show. How it plays out will have to wait for another day."

BROADCAST PIONEER STORER DEAD AT 81

Peter Storer, who expanded the broadcasting empire founded by his father, George Storer, into the fourth largest TV and cable company in the U.S., has died of cardiovascular disease in Saratoga, WY at age 81. At the time Storer Communications was sold to Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts in 1986, it included seven TV stations and cable franchises in 500 communities in 18 states.