DOBBS ABRUPTLY QUITS CNN

In a surprise announcement, controversial CNN host Lou Dobbs said shortly after his show began Wednesday night, "This will be my last broadcast." There was no immediate explanation from Dobbs himself or from CNN about why he was leaving so abruptly in the middle of a week with more than a year remaining on his contract. Speculation immediately arose that Dobbs would be heading for Fox News, which might welcome his conservative viewpoints on such matters as immigration reform and corporate bailouts. But a spokesperson for Fox immediately discounted such speculation, maintaining that there had been no discussions between Dobbs and any Fox executives about Dobbs jumping ship. Dobbs himself said merely, "I will let you know when I set my course." Some TV columnists theorized that his closing remarks Wednesday hinted that he would try his hand at politics. "As for the important work of restoring inspiration to our great free society and our market economy, I will strive as well to be a leader in that national conversation," he said. In a statement, CNN President Jon Klein said that he respected Dobbs's decision. "With characteristic forthrightness, Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere," he remarked. The cable news network quickly replaced Dobbs with Sunday-morning host John King. "The program will reflect what CNN is all about: the widest range of opinions from across the political spectrum," Klein said in a statement.

PREJEAN THREATENS TO WALK OUT ON LARRY KING

CNN personality Larry King nearly was forced to put on a one-man show Wednesday night when his guest, former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean, seemed ready to walk out and was apparently dissuaded during a commercial break. Prejean, who was booked on the show to discuss her new book about losing his beauty-pageant title -- and before the scandal erupted over her alleged sex tape -- became clearly upset when King asked her why she settled her lawsuit against the pageant, insisting that she was bound by a confidentiality agreement. When King insisted that he was not asking her about the terms of the settlement, she interjected: "I think that you are being extremely inappropriate right now, and I'm about to leave your show." A moment later, when King took a call from the audience, Prejean could be seen removing her microphone -- at which point King went to a commercial break. After the break, King explained that he was unaware that his producer had agreed not to take phone calls from viewers during the segment. He apologized and continued with softball questions to Prejean. Meanwhile, Vivid Entertainment, which calls itself "the world's leading adult film studio, has renewed its $1-million offer to Prejean to star in one of its porn movies. It said that she had failed to respond to its original offer in May. "Now that it's been revealed that she has actually made her own sex tape we know her reluctance certainly wasn't based on any fear of performing sexually for the camera," said Steven Hirsch, co-chairman of Vivid.

MORE PEOPLE WATCHING TV THAN EVER BEFORE

Despite competition in the home from the Internet, DVD's and videogames, Americans spent more time watching television during the 2008-2009 season than ever before, according to a study by Nielsen Media Research. In a new report released on Wednesday, Nielsen said that Americans spent an average of four hours and 49 minutes a day in front of their TV sets, up four minutes from the previous year and nearly one hour (58 minutes) from the 1998-1999 season. "The continued increase in television consumption can be attributed to several factors including more television sets in the home, and Americans also have more channels and content to choose from and are using their DVRs more than ever," Nielsen explained.

V AIN'T FOR VICTORY

The alien invasion that ABC launched last week with the debut of V that threatened the status of CBS's NCIS as the No. 1 scripted series, appeared effectively driven back as the second episode of the series lost 27 percent of its first-week audience. The plunge was typical for sci-fi vehicles. Nevertheless, the episode attracted 10.6 million viewers, a solid number despite the fall. ABC improved its ratings at 9:00 p.m. with a results episode of Dancing with the Stars, which drew 15.5 million. But neither ABC show could outshine CBS's one-two punch at 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. In the earlier hour NCIS drew 20.2 million viewers (a tad below its average for the season), and in the later one, NCIS Los Angeles pulled in 16.2 million viewers. CBS also dominated in the 10:00 p.m. hour, with its freshman show The Good Wife rounding up 12.9 million viewers.