CELEBS RALLY FOR WRITERS
Although Hollywood Boulevard's annual Santa Claus Lane Parade was officially canceled earlier this year because of a lack of support from celebrities (a scaled-down version is planned for Nov. 25 with Bob Barker riding as grand marshal and the cast of Disney's High School Musical waving to the crowds), there were celebrities aplenty on the same street Monday to participate in a 90-minute demonstration staged by the Writers Guild of America. The guild reportedly attracted a crowd of about 4,000 (a rally in New York attracted only about 200, attributable to the cold, rainy weather) and heard WGA West President Patric Verrone declare, "What we're fighting for is our future and that of the entire industry." Alicia Keys sang two songs for the crowd. Actress Sandra Oh urged them to boycott Disneyland. The celebrities even included eight actors who played Munchkins in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.
STARS DANCES BACK TO FIRST PLACE
ABC's Dancing With the Stars, which was tripped up a bit last week by CBS when it aired a drama that began on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and concluded on Without a Trace, took the lead again this week. The network also scored strongly with Grey's Anatomy, Samantha Who? and the American Music Awards, all of which landed in the top-20 list. Nevertheless, CBS placed 12 shows on that list, and wound up with a 7.7 average rating and a 12 share for the week. ABC placed second with a 6.8/11. Fox placed third with a 5.2/8, just edging out NBC with a 5.3/8. In the nightly news ratings, Nielsen Research called it a draw, saying that ABC's World News with Charles Gibson and NBC Nightly News with Brian Gibson tied with 9.08 million viewers. The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric was well behind with 6.67 million viewers.
The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:
1. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 14.0/20; 2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 13.3/20; 3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 12.5/18; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 11.7/17; 5. NCIS, CBS, 11.1/17; 6. House, Fox, 10.3/15; 7. Criminal Minds, CBS, 10.1/16; 7. CSI: Miami, CBS, 10.1/17; 9. 60 Minutes, CBS, 9.5/15; 9. Without a Trace, CBS, 9.5/16.
CHILLIS RED HOT OVER SHOWTIME TITLE
Writers were scratching their heads after learning that CBS's Showtime pay-TV channel apparently did not bother negotiating with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers rock group before airing the current serial drama Californication. The title was conceived as the title for the Chilli Peppers' 1999 hit CD. Moreover, one of the characters in the show, which stars David Duchovny, is named Dani California, the title of a Chilli Peppers song released just last year. On Monday the rock group filed a lawsuit against Showtime seeking damages and restitution and asked the court to issue a permanent injunction barring further use of the title. Reporting on the lawsuit, TV Guide Online commented, "Um, wouldn't the network's lawyers have, like, checked on the legality of reusing a famous title before they, you know, used it?"
GALACTICA DVD TO BE RELEASED DAYS AFTER BROADCAST
A special two-hour episode of Battlestar Galactica will air this Saturday on the Sci-Fi channel, then become available on DVD just days later, on Dec. 4, the New York Times reported today (Wednesday), commenting that the broadcast of the episode titled "Razor," represents "yet another step in the complex, fast-changing relationship between DVD sales and cable broadcast. The episode would not exist except for the promise of selling it on DVD." (The episode was also shown in movie theaters in eight cities earlier this month.) The newspaper also noted that while the episode is a stand-alone story, it nevertheless raises questions about a surprise development in the final episode of the last season.
BRITISH FUNDAMENTALIST PROTESTS SPRINGER "OPERA"
A fundamentalist Christian leader on Tuesday sought to have Britain's High Court overturn a lower-court order tossing out his lawsuit against the BBC and the producers of Jerry Springer, which air on the publicly supported network in 2005. Stephen Green of the group Christian Voice called the production blasphemous and therefore unlawful under British law. But civil liberties groups filed briefs with the court contending that Britain's blasphemy law is outdated and violates the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the country is a signatory. Anna Fairclough, legal officer of the group Liberty, said in a filing, "These blasphemy laws should be shelved in dusty archives, not used as a tool to bring mischievous prosecutions against the arts."
KING SEES GUEST WALK OUT OF INTERVIEW -- FIRST TIME IN 50 YEARS
Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West's mother the day before she died, walked out of Larry King's CNN show during an interview Tuesday saying that he had received a request from the West family not appear. "They are on my side and so I'm going to respect their wishes," Adams told King. An initial autopsy was inconclusive and an official cause of death may not be released by the coroner's office for several weeks, news reports indicated. King said afterwards that in 50 years in broadcasting, no one has ever walked out of his show during a live interview.