STRIKE SHUTS DOWN TV
Late-night talk shows are expected to feel the effects of the writers' strike first, but the television business in general is likely to be harder hit than the movie business in coming months. According to trade reports, all of the network talk shows will go into rerun mode tonight, along with cable's The Daily Show and The Colbert Report which air on Comedy Central. (On Friday's Daily Show, host Jon Stewart remarked, "While we're not here, you can check out all of our content on our new website, TheDailyShow.com. Every Daily Show since I got here is on it, free.") Most primetime shows are not expected to be affected for several months. Indeed, episodes of some series could be preempted by news specials and magazine shows, thereby extending their runs. NBC's Dateline and ABC's Primetime have not had a regular time slot since the beginning of the season, and several persons in the industry have expressed the belief the two networks have been stockpiling the relatively inexpensive news shows in anticipation of a strike. The networks have also reportedly been preparing to launch a number of reality series. "It could look like summer in winter," Tim Spengler, chief ad buyer for the advertising agency Initiative told today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times.
CARTOON VIOLENCE ENCOURAGING ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOR, SAYS STUDY
Violence in cartoons and video games contribute to anti-social behavior and attention problems in children, according to a report released today (Monday) by the Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute. The report particularly singled out action cartoons like Power Rangers and classic Looney Tunes cartoons. "You are actually teaching [children] that violence is funny," Dr. Dimitri Christakis, co-author of the report, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
SNL FEATURES WILLIAMS, OBAMA
Presidential candidate Barack Obama and NBC anchor Brian Williams both appeared on NBC's Saturday Night Live over the weekend. Critical response to the Obama appearance was generally favorable but some critics wondered whether Williams would suffer a blow to his credibility by his appearance. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example, wrote that Williams risked "tainting his newsman credibility by hosting" the show. The Canadian CanWest News Service commented: "The already fuzzy line between news, truthiness and infotainment is about to become more blurred." However, other analysts pointed out that the line probably never existed. The late John Daly, while anchoring the news on ABC-TV in the 1950s and '60s, also served as host of the weekly game show What's My Line. Associated Press TV writer Frazier Moore commented that Williams "displayed some solid comedy chops -- and a readiness to laugh at himself." Obama's appearance was a surprise. Indeed, while other SNL regulars appeared as political candidates in a Halloween sketch at the beginning of the show, Obama removed an Obama Halloween mask and remarked to a faux Hillary Clinton, "You know, Hillary, I have nothing to hide. ... I enjoy being myself. I'm not going to change who I am just because it's Halloween." Obama then provided the opening "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night" announcement. (While Obama's appearance would have almost certainly been uploaded onto YouTube before NBC's demanded that all NBC shows be removed from the site, it did not even make it onto NBC's own Hulu video site(s). It was immediately uploaded onto Obama's campaign website, however.
FOX RETALIATES AGAINST UNIVERSAL MUSIC; SHOOTS ITSELF IN FOOT
The 20th Century Fox TV and film studios refused to use any music from Universal Music after the music company sued MySpace.com for copyright infringement, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday). The two Fox companies and MySpace are units of News Corp.; Universal Music Group is controlled by Vivendi. According to the Journal, the Fox units lifted the ban recently after producers complained about the restriction. Billy Gottlieb, music supervisor for Bones and Journeyman, both produced by 20th Century Fox Television, told the newspaper that as a result of the ban "the shows suffered and people like me had to jump through hoops." Kevin Edelman, another music supervisor, said it was a particular relief when he was allowed to use Universal music for My Name Is Earl, which is also produced by 20th TV. "It's all classic rock. And Universal has a lot of that," he said.
FOOTBALL SCORES WINNING RATINGS FOR CBS
Huge ratings for the primetime overrun of Sunday's CBS telecast of the New England Patriots-Indianapolis Colts football game helped CBS capture a win for the night. The game, which ran through most of the 7:00 p.m. hour, scored a 19.3 rating and a 31 share. By contrast, NBC's NFL telecast of the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game averaged a 9.7/15 and was beaten in the 9:00 p.m. hour by ABC's Desperate Housewives, which registered an 11.9/18.