WHO WANTS TO BE A RATINGS WINNER?

ABC scored its biggest ratings success last week since Who Wants to Be a Millionaire dominated Nielsen's top-ten list in 2000. Moreover, for the fourth straight week, it was the top-rated network among adults 18-49, the demographic group that advertisers most covet. It has not had that sort of run since 1993. CBS, however, continued as the most-viewed network among overall viewers and tied ABC for first place last week in the 18-49 demo. NBC also had something to boast about as well -- a 15-percent increase in its 18-49-year-old audience, plus strong success for Sunday Night Football, the new drama series Heroes, and its longtime medical drama E.R. The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 14.6/22; 2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 13.5/20; 3. Dancing With the Stars, ABC, 13.2/20; 4. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 13.1/19; 5. Dancing With the Stars (Results), ABC, 12.3/19; 6. NFL Postgame Sunday, CBS, 11.6/21; 6. CSI: NY, CBS, 11.6/19; 8. CSI: Miami, CBS, 11.5/19; 9. 60 Minutes, CBS, 11.3/18; 10. Criminal Minds, CBS, 110./17.

DIANE SAWYER LANDS IN NORTH KOREA

After months of planning that brought her to North Korea at the same time that an international crisis had been touched off by the test of a nuclear weapon, Diane Sawyer began broadcasting from Pyongyang on Tuesday for ABC's Good Morning America. "The timing couldn't be better," GMA producer Jim Murphy told the Associated Press Tuesday. Requests by other networks to send reporters to the communist nation in the wake of the crisis have been rebuffed, A.P said. Although Sawyer remarked on the air that "it's pretty extraordinary to be here at this time," her initial efforts to get comments from the public about the nuclear test proved fruitless. She said that when she approached members of wedding parties gathered in a square, their only words were Korean for "bye, bye." Murphy told the A.P. "We have no idea what the consequences are for people who would ever approach Westerners. ... I'm sure they're not healthy."

CBS WEBSITE CENSORS 60 MINUTES COMMENTS -- BY MISTAKE

While network news websites often provide uncensored versions of reports that the networks often bleep in their actual broadcasts -- ABCNews.com published verbatim transcripts of former Congressman Mark Foley's instant messages to underage pages, for example -- while the network reports contained only discreet references to them, the CBSNews website decided to redact comments made by a stripper during a 60 Minutes interview. During a segment of the program about the rape charges against members of the Duke lacrosse team, the stripper said, "I called him a little dick white boy. ... and it ended with him calling me the n-word. And it echoed, so you heard 'nigger' once, and then you heard, 'nigger, nigger, nigger.'" On the website, "dick" was replaced with "[expletive]" and "nigger" with "n.....". Contacted by the online edition of the Columbia Journalism Review, 60 Minutes spokesman Kevin Tedesco said that the CBS employee who wrote the website's story had "assumed wrongly" that the words would be bleeped out. He pointed out that neither of the words edited on the website are among those forbidden by the FCC and that the producers regarded them as "crucial to the contest." In an interview with the CBS blog Public Eye, Mike Sims, director of the CBSNews site, said that "in general, both those words are not appropriate for the website," but that had he known they would have been used on the air, "I probably would have waved the policy." Nevertheless, as of today (Wednesday) the censored version remains on the CBSNews website.

FNC'S O'REILLY SAYS FAME -- FOR HIM -- REQUIRES BODYGUARDS

Fox News talk-show host Bill O'Reilly says that "the only thing" he doesn't like about being the focus of criticism is "the hatred directed toward me and the Fox News Channel." In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, O'Reilly indicated that he dislikes having "to have bodyguards and all the other business that I didn't have to have, and it intrudes." He identified the source of the hatred as "the secular progressive community." Asked about being satirized on Comedy Central's Daily Show and The Colbert Report, O'Reilly responded: "They're up against me, too, at 11, and we beat them. My rerun beats them. I don't mind that. I don't mind those guys."

FIRED BASEBALL ANNOUNCER LYONS FINDS SUPPORT

Baseball announcer Steve Lyons, fired by the Fox network last weekend after making what were described as "racially insensitive" comments directed toward broadcast colleague Lou Piniella, received unexpected support Tuesday from Piniella himself. Calling the firing "an unfortunate thing," Piniella remarked, ""There isn't a racist bone in his body. Not one. ... I've known the guy personally. He was kidding with me, nothing more and nothing less." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers, which hires its own announcers and which televises games on Fox-owned FSN Prime Ticket, said that Lyons would continue to call its games "upon the completion of diversity training and under probationary guidelines." Lyons himself apologized "if I offended anybody" and insisted that the joke that got him into hot water was "in no way racially motivated."

HDTV -- NOW ON YOUR LAPTOP

Autumn Wave, based in New Bloomfield, PA, has begun distributing a device that allows users of laptop computers to receive high-definition television from over-the-air and cable sources. OnAir GT, developed by South Korean-based OnAir Solutions can also receive conventional TV signals and can be hooked up to console game devices. In a statement, Autumn Wave CEO Patrick Park said, "The OnAir GT is compact so consumers who travel frequently or live in tight quarters, like dorm rooms or studio apartments, can experience high-definition television wherever a receivable broadcast signal exists for a fraction of the usual cost." The device has a suggested retail price of $179.

VETERAN CBS NEWSMAN CHRISTOPHER GLENN DIES AT 68

CBS News correspondent Christopher Glenn, who retired in February after 35 years with the network, died of liver cancer Tuesday at age 68 in Norwalk, CT. Glenn, a familiar voice on CBS Radio's World News Roundup and several daily newscasts as well as the principal announcer on CBS Television's coverage of the space-shuttle launches (he covered the Challenger disaster in 1986), told CBS News on his retirement that he had always preferred the medium of radio: "You have to tell them the story and make them understand, and I think that that's much more of a challenge for a journalist," he said.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.