WALL STREET GIVES CBS BLACK EYE
Several media conglomerates that were hit hard in Thursday's attack of the bears on Wall Street recovered some of their losses today (Friday), but, as of midday, CBS had not. On Thursday, the broadcasting company fell 16 percent to a historic low of $4.51. It was down an additional .89 percent to $4.47 today, even as its corporate sibling Viacom rose 7.41 percent to $14.06. The continued downturn in the broadcaster's stock comes despite the fact that it continues to make ratings gains against all of its competitors. Last week, CBS shares rose after it said that it would pay a $.27 dividend in December, but some analysts warn that doing so will undermine the company's cash reserves.
AILES REUPS WITH FOX
Roger Ailes, creator of Fox News Channel, has renewed his contract with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp amid speculation whether the channel will adopt the newfound hospitable tone of the New York Post, another News Corp property, toward President-elect Barack Obama. Ailes on Thursday signed a new five-year contract keeping him in place as chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and chairman of Fox Television Stations Group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. While Fox News remains a potent force among cable networks, the stations group has been hit hard by the economic crisis as automotive and financial advertisers have drastically cut spending. Last June, after Obama had refused to appear on Fox News Channel, Murdoch, reportedly acting as mediator, brought Obama and Ailes together. When Obama asked whether he would get "a fair shake" from the news channel, Ailes reportedly replied, "Senator, you're the one who boycotted us. We're not the ones who boycotted you. Nor did we retaliate for your boycott." He later maintained that while the network's commentators would no doubt criticize his positions, "there are opinion shows and there are news shows." Obama subsequently made appearances on the channel.
24 RETURNING AS 2-HOUR MOVIE
Fox has decided to bring back 24, once one of its biggest hits, as a two-hour stand-alone movie on Sunday night, hoping that it will permit fans to reconnect with the show after its audience plummeted during the 2006-07 season. It did not return in 2007-08 because the writers' strike prevented it from producing sufficient episodes. Fox presumably hopes that Sunday's movie, titled 24: Redemption will allow the producers to redeem themselves with the audience, many of whom had sharply criticized the story line of the series' last season. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Horizon Media's research director Brad Adgate said, "They've raised the bar so high for some of the story lines that it's very easy to disappoint viewers." The series is scheduled to return to the Fox lineup on January 11.
BARBARA FIRES BACK AT ROSIE
Without mentioning her by name, Barbara Walters lashed out at Rosie O'Donnell on The ViewThursday for her recent criticism of the show. Walters said that "some people who have done this show" feel a need "to dump on it, maybe for their own publicity." That, she said, "not only hurts me, but I resent it." Although she may also have had former Viewpanelist Star Jones in mind, Walters' remarks came a day after O'Donnell had said that Walters had asked the show's hosts to pretend that they were friendly, while in fact they had little to do with one another. "The fact of the matter is there was not a lot of camaraderie off camera," O'Donnell had said.
PALIN'S APPEARANCE IS A TURKEY
Another TV appearance by Alaska Gov. Sara Palin has hit YouTube. During an interview conducted in her hometown of Wasilla after she "pardoned" a local turkey, a number of other turkeys are seen being slaughtered in the background. The interview, accompanied by the butchering, continues for about three minutes. Meanwhile, CBS anchor Katie Couric has responded to Palin's characterization of her now-notorious interview with her that was lampooned on Saturday Night Liveand elsewhere. Appearing on David Letterman's Late Show Thursday night, Couric responded to Palin's complaint that she found it "a little bit annoying" when Couric asked her, "'What do you read up there in Alaska?'" Palin went on to say, "I read the same things that you guys read in New York, and there in L.A. and in Washington state. ... What do you mean what I read up there?" Couric told Letterman that she had made not reference to Alaska, merely asking Palin what newspapers she read. "And I'm not sure whether she was afraid to offend certain people by, you know, she would offend conservatives by saying she read the New York Times."
YOUNG VIEWERS ABANDONING TV SETS FOR PC MONITORS
Helping to answer the question, why is the broadcast network audience diminishing at such a rapid rate? a new study indicates that 11 percent of 18-34-year-old adults now watches TV online at least once a week. The study by Knowledge Networks' MultiMedia Mentor, found that those who do watch TV shows online spend 80 percent more time on the Internet than the general population of the same age. Bob DeFelice, vice president for client service at Knowledge Networks, said in a statement that this segment of the key 18-34-year-old demographic group appears to be expanding. "As more and more of the 18-34 population moves in this direction," he said, "understanding this group's media preferences and habits will grow in importance to marketers. And we know that a 'platform-agnostic' approach -- one in which content is accessible many places, at the user's demand -- will be an essential ingredient of reaching young adults."