THREE-WAY RATINGS TIE
For the first time in memory, ABC, CBS and NBC wound up in a ratings tie for first place last week among adults 18-49, the key group for advertisers. The tie was attributed to interest among young adults in coverage of Tuesday's presidential election. Fox, which did not provide full-time coverage on its broadcast network -- but did on its Fox News cable network -- was the odd man out. CBS remained the top-rated network among overall viewers, although its coverage of the elections ranked last. The low ratings on election night was offset by enormous ratings for an overrun of the NFL game on Sunday, followed by 60 Minutes. Perhaps most surprising is that CBS placed two Friday-night shows in the top 20, Numb3rs and a repeat of NCIS, which was moved into the slot previously occupied by the canceled Ex List. Many TV experts had concluded that all of the networks had written off Friday nights as they previously had written off Saturday nights. For the week, CBS averaged a 7.0 rating and an 11 share. ABC took second place with a 6.6/11. NBC finished third with a 5.5/9, while Fox trailed with a 3.6/6.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. 60 Minutes, CBS, 11.5/18; 2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 11.2/17; 3. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 11.1/16; 4. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 11.0./18; 5. Dancing With the Stars (Wednesday), ABC, 10.2/16; 6. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 10.1/15; 6. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 10.1/15; 8. Criminal Minds, CBS, 9.3/14; 9. SNL Presidential Bash '08, NBC, 8.7/13; 10. CSI: Miami, CBS, 8.5/14; 10. ABC Election Coverage, ABC, 8.5/12.
SUPPLIERS FEEL BRUNT OF CIRCUIT CITY'S COLLAPSE
The collapse of Circuit City has sent out a shock wave that has impacted its suppliers in the consumer-electronics industry and the motion picture business with bruising force. In its bankruptcy filing, the retailer listed $2.32 billion in liabilities. While individually, the amounts are not great, together they provide a jolt to the industry that has experienced an unfair share of jolts over the past two months. Circuit City owes Sony's computer division, its biggest creditor $60.01 million, for example. It also owes the Paramount and Warner Bros. home video divisions more than $10 million each for unpaid DVDs. And while the company has vowed to stay in business -- at least in 80 percent of its stores -- while it undergoes bankruptcy reorganization, some analysts question whether the suppliers will continue to provide product for the retailer in the interim, given the possibility that they may never be paid for it, a fact that Circuit City itself acknowledged in a statement on Tuesday. Sony Electronics, however, quickly made it clear that it will not shut the door on the company. It issued a statement saying, "Circuit City has been a good partner of Sony's over the years, and they have a plan to continue to go to market. We will continue to support them in their reorganization efforts."
IT WASN'T A "HOLOGRAM," AFTER ALL, SAYS EXPERT
CNN's highly touted "hologram," which allowed Wolf Blitzer to talk to Chicago-based Jessica Yellen on election night as if she were standing in the studio in front of him, was no hologram at all, according to an expert on computer-generated images. In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Professor Hans Jurgen Kreuzer of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that the image was actually a "tomogram," a type of image commonly used in special-effects scenes in movies. If the image had been an actual hologram, he noted, Blitzer would have been able to see Yellen's image in front of him. (Such a technical accomplishment is believed to be about ten years away.) As it was, Blitzer was only able to see Yellen on a monitor, placed out of camera range on stage.
SCARBOROUGH'S SHOW TO BE DELAYED AFTER F-WORD TO-DO
After MSNBC talk-show host Joe Scarborough inadvertently used the F-word on his Morning Joe program on Tuesday, the cable network quickly installed a seven-second-delay system that will be employed on Scarborough's show but on no others. The verboten word may be used on other cable networks -- it is not barred by law on cable as it is on broadcast networks -- but MSNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal, has made it clear that it does not regard such language as appropriate. No new equipment installation was required, it seems. It was used previously on the morning program hosted by Scarborough's predecessor, Don Imus. The Parents Television Council, which has led the battle for enforcement of the FCC's indecency rules, congratulated MSNBC for the action. "Although this is a cable network that is not subject to the same decency standards as broadcast networks, millions of families are grateful for MSNBC's decision to try to prevent inappropriate language from airing," PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement, adding: "If a several second tape delay is good enough for MSNBC, then NBC should follow suit with the Today show and its other live programming."