A RERUN WRITES "X" ON EX

A strong showing Friday night by a rerun of CBS's long-running NCIS in the 9:00 p.m. timeslot previously occupied by the struggling Ex List series appeared to spell doom for the new series. The Ex List concerns a woman who is told by a psychic that she will find lifelong happiness with one of her ex-boyfriends or live out the rest of her days loveless. The only remaining question appeared to be, will CBS allow the producers to wrap up the plot? Ratings for the show, never strong to begin with, had dipped each week since the show debuted in September. By last week, the number of viewers had dropped to 5.33 million. By contrast, the NCIS rerun attracted 11.21 million and was the highest-rated show of the night. It effectively eliminated the ratings dip between CBS's one-hour Ghost Whisperer at 8:00 p.m. (9.41 million viewers) and its one-hour Numb3rs at 10:00 p.m. (10.61 million). Meanwhile, NBC continued its downward spiral, posting series lows for every show that it aired Friday night.

TV OR NOT TV? A QUESTION FOR THE HOLIDAYS

With consumer electronics stores reporting light business -- and some even contemplating shutting down for good -- some are expected to begin reducing prices of wide-screen HDTV sets before Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, regarded as the biggest shopping day of the year. Today's (Monday) New York Times, citing a study by the market research firm DisplaySearch, reported that prices could go as low as $400 for a 32-inch LCD and $600 for a 42-inch plasma model. Stan Glasgow, president of Sony Electronics, told the newspaper that "those numbers do not shock me." Glasgow indicated however,that he's still hoping for the best. "In past recessions, consumer electronics has fared rather well,"Glasgow said. "I believe we'll sell more TVs than last year."

KING OF THE HILL IS KNOCKED OFF

After 13 years on Fox, King of the Hill is being deposed. Fox indicated on Friday that the final season of Hill cartoons will air during the 2009-2010 season. Animated shows take longer to be booted off the air since they take longer to produce. Meanwhile, the network said that it will be renewing American Dad for a fifth season.

PEANUTS DEBUTS ON THE WEB

Some 20 classic Peanuts comic strips have been animated by hand into 3-4-minute-long "webisodes" that will be offered on Apple's iTunes Store at a price of two for 99 cents. However, beginning today (Monday), fans will be able to download two of them for free during a limited promotional period. The cartoons, based on strips that appeared in the mid '60s, were produced by Warner Bros. Motion Comics and supervised by Jeannie Schulz, widow of Charles Shulz, who created the Peanuts characters. Schulz indicated that no thought was given to turning the strips into 3-D, computer-generated animated productions. In an interview with the Associated Press she said, "CG doesn't quite look right [the characters]. ... I still love that funny way they walk along."

DID ONE MURDOCH NEWSPAPER STIR UP BBC SCANDAL?

U.K. media critic Charlie Brooker, who regularly lampoons British TV shows in his column in Britain's Guardian newspaper, has joined the backlash to the backlash that ensued following the BBC's decision to suspend popular personalities Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross over lewd phone calls they made to actor Andrew Sachs. In his column today (Monday), Brooker points out that the broadcast went virtually unnoticed until the London tabloid, the Daily Mail, called attention to it and used it for what Brooker called "the starting point for a full-blown moral crusade." Brand noted that the newspaper printed a transcript of the prank "and helpfully included outtakes that weren't even broadcast, so its readers could be enraged by things no one had heard in the first place. This was like making a point about the cruelty of fox-hunting by ripping a live fox apart with your bare hands, then poking a rabbit's eye out with a pen for good measure." Brooker concluded his column by proposing the establishment of a "Counter-Complaints" unit at the British watchdog OFCOM that might "keep our shared national culture relatively sane. Because judging by the rest of the news, if the ship's going down, a few unrestricted taste-free laughs now and then might make things more bearable for all of us."