BLACK EYE ON WALL STREET
Shares in CBS Corp., which plummeted 21 percent on Friday, dropped an additional 4 percent by midday today (Monday), trading at $7.77. Only a year ago, they were trading at $31.46, a decrease of more than 75 percent. The stock has been hit hard in recent days following an announcement by the company on Friday that it is cutting its outlook for the year and taking a $14-billion charge. The company said, "The continued economic slowdown in the United States has adversely affected advertising revenues across the company's businesses." Meanwhile, NBC Universal said that its operating profit climbed 10 percent and revenue, 35 percent thanks to its Olympics telecasts and the worldwide box-office success of Mama Mia!, which has earned $520 million and is still climbing.
FOOTBALL RUNS CIRCLES AROUND BASEBALL ON FOX
A big night of sports put Fox on top during primetime on Sunday as an NFL football overrun posted an enormous 17.1 rating and a 31 share (21.84 million viewers) in the 7:00 p.m. time period, followed by game three of the National League playoff series between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, which averaged a 6.8/9. Football clobbered baseball, however, as the NBC's Sunday Night Football coverage of the game between the New England Patriots and the San Diego Chargers delivered a 9.0/15. Nevertheless the game was no match for ABC's Desperate Housewives, which jumped to the top at 9:00 p.m. with a 10.1/15. The network stayed there at 10:00 p.m. as Brothers & Sisters registered a 7.2/12.
YOUTUBE TO ALLOW FULL TV SHOWS
In a significant departure from its previous policy of allowing only video clips that are less than ten minutes long, YouTube said Friday that it will allow "select content partners" to make full-length episodes of TV shows available on its website. In a further policy departure, the website said it would allow advertising on the videos as part of its revenue-sharing agreement. One of the first media companies to sign on was CBS Corp., which said that it will make available the season premieres of Dexter and Californication from its Showtime pay-TV channel, as well as a number of "classic" TV shows, all of which are already posted on www.cbs.com/classics.
OBAMA TO PAY CBS NEARLY $1 MILLION FOR HALF-HOUR
In what some analysts described as a bargain deal, the Barack Obama presidential campaign has agreed to pay CBS $961,000 to buy a half-hour of primetime at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Under federal law, networks are required to charge their "lowest unit cost" -- the same rate charged to the networks' highest-spending, year-round clients -- for political advertisers. The campaign has also purchased the same time period from NBC and is seeking a similar deal with ABC and Fox. Terms of the other deals were not disclosed, nor did the Obama campaign disclose the format of the program it intends to air.
MCCAIN TO MEET LETTERMAN: PATCHING THINGS UP?
Republican presidential nominee John McCain's most relentless detractor in recent weeks may not have been Democratic contender Barack Obama, but CBS's Late Show host David Letterman, who has continued to fling zingers at McCain for canceling an appearance on his show at the last minute on September 24, then turning up at the appointed time for an interview with Katie Couric just a few blocks away from Letterman's studio. McCain, who formally announced his candidacy on the Late Show on February 28, 2007 has been booked for Thursday's edition of the show, CBS said in a statement.
COWELL EARNS $76 MILLION YEARLY AS TALENT JUDGE
Former American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed that Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson have expressed jealousy over the payments fellow judge Simon Cowell receives for his appearances on the talent show. In an interview with the New York Post, he confirmed that Cowell receives $36 million a year and negotiates a new figure before each season. "Why is he getting more than the other two judges? Because it is believed that he brings more to the table," Lythgoe said, adding that Cowell is worth what he is being paid and has always "handled his negotiations quite brilliantly." The London Sunday Times, reported meanwhile that Cowell receives an additional $40 million a year for his appearances on the British version of Idol and The X Factor.
ABU DHABI TO BUILD VAST ENTERTAINMENT PARK
Abu Dhabi, which in recent weeks has announced a series of major investments in the entertainment sector, unveiled plans for a new media park Sunday, aimed at making the emirate "a source of innovative and far-reaching media content, the English-language newspaper Gulf News reported Sunday, quoting Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Media Zone Authority. Called twofour54, after its latitude/longitude coordinates, the media center is expected to include five studios, post-production facilities, a training center, and a business incubator. CEO Tony Orsten told the newspaper that the media park intends to create "a thriving international media industry, which, to be successful, needs to be local at the same time."
ACTOR/SPORTSCASTER GIL STRATTON DEAD AT 86
Gil Stratton, who made his debut as a juvenile actor costarring with Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in the Busby Berkeley/Norman Taurog musical Girl Crazy in 1943, but is best remembered in Los Angeles as the sportscaster for the CBS-owned KNXT (now KCBS-TV) for more than two decades, died Saturday of congestive heart failure in Toluca Lake, CA at age 86. His signature line, "Hi folks, it's time to call 'em as I see 'em," was familiar to a generation of Angelenos, who, in the '60s and '70s, tuned in to The Big Show, which is believed to be the nation's first hourlong newscast.