SO MUCH FOR UNION SOLIDARITY!

Setting the stage for a three-way war if a writers' strike occurs next month, the head of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) said Thursday that he'll sue the Writers Guild of America (WGA) -- which he called a "house of hate" -- if it follows through with its announced plan to bar members from working on animated features should a strike be called. IATSE regards animation production as its turf. But WGA East President Michael Winship observed that "honoring picket lines is a fundamental trade union principle." Jurisdictional disputes between IATSE and the WGA have been commonplace for years, particularly in recent times over reality shows, and it is unlikely that the two unions would show a united front against producers if the WGA does indeed go out on strike.

FORGET SPEECHES! WHAT ARE BALLOONS AND CONFETTI WITHOUT HDTV?

CBS said Thursday that it plans to carry both the Republican and Democratic conventions next summer in high-definition. Speaking at the SATCON/HD World show in New York, Mel Olinsky, CBS's director of bureau operations, called the development a major step for the network, noting that previously its only live news coverage in high definition had been a State of the Union address by President Bush. In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable magazine, Olinsky also disclosed that the network would probably be broadcasting the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric in high definition by the time the conventions get under way in August. He indicated that the network's goal is to have a new HD control room for the newscast operational by May.

CLASSIC TV RERUNS COMING TO THE WEB

TVLand.com is planning to stream full-length episodes of some of the classic television series that it airs on cable, including The Andy Griffith Show, Leave It to Beaver, Gunsmoke, Hogan's Heroes, and The Beverly Hillbillies. In a statement, TV Land President Larry W. Jones said that in addition to the reruns, the website will offer original programming aimed at the baby-boomer generation targeted by the cable network. "TVLand.com is evolving beyond classic TV into an entertainment destination targeting a generation," he said.

LAUER GETS HOUR -- ON PRIMETIME TV

NBC, which has completely sidelined primetime news programming since the beginning of the season, said Thursday that it plans to air an interview with Idaho Senator Larry Craig next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. The interview will be conducted by Today show host Matt Lauer and air under the banner Matt Lauer Reports, and additional coverage of the interview will be carried on Today on Wednesday. Previously Lauer has fronted features for Dateline NBC, which the network has shelved amid speculation that it is stockpiling episodes of the newsmagazine in advance of an expected strike by the Writers Guild of America, which could occur as early as November 1. (During the summer, NBC aired as many as seven hours of Dateline programs in a single week.)

GREY'S MOST-WATCHED SHOW ON TIVO

ABC's Grey's Anatomy was the most TiVo'd show during the first week of the new season, Todd Juenger, head of TiVo Audience Research and Measurement, said Thursday. Grey's was followed by CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, ABC's Desperate Housewives, and CBS's Survivor: China. While TiVo owners watched two-thirds of their programs on a time-shifted basis, Juenger observed, they switched to live coverage for sports coverage. NBC's Sunday Night Football was the least-TiVo'd telecast of the week.

CSI WINS THURSDAY, BUT GREY'S IS CLOSE

Thursday night's tight ratings race wound up with CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation once again dominating in the overall household category with a 12.3 rating and a 19 share. But ABC's Grey's Anatomy was close behind in the same 9:00 p.m. hour with a 12.1/18 and actually came out ahead among adult viewers 18-49. CBS led in every half-hour throughout the night among overall viewers, beginning at 8:00 p.m. with Survivor and ending at 10:00 p.m. with Without a Trace.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.