RAYS SHINE ON CABLE, SET RECORD
Proving that there's nothing like a David-over-Goliath victory, especially when it comes in the final round, the Tampa Bay Rays' triumph over the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series Sunday set a record as the most-watched baseball game ever televised on cable TV. The TBS telecast was also 2008's second most-watched cable program of any type. It drew 13.4 million viewers while recording a 9.2 cable rating, equivalent to a 7.9 broadcast rating. It topped the previous record for a baseball telecast set on Sept. 2, 1998, when 9.1 million viewers tuned in to watch Mark McGwire hit his 61st home run, thereby tying the record for most homers in a single season. On Saturday, 8.9 million viewers tuned in to Game 6, despite technical difficulties that prevented the first 20 minutes of the game from being broadcast.
LIGHTS DIMMING AT CIRCUIT CITY
With consumer demand for high-end electronics plummeting and competition from rivals becoming more intense, Circuit City, according to the Wall Street Journal, may close 150 stores and pink-slip thousands of employees, thereby allowing it to liquidate $350 million in assets and stave off bankruptcy. The company, which reportedly has had only one profitable quarter since the second quarter of 2007, has seen its stock drop 90.7 percent since the beginning of the year. Analysts have suggested that even the drastic cost-saving moves contemplated by the company may not be sufficient to turn it around.
SNL BOOSTS PALIN
Governor Sarah Palin's favorability rating may have plunged after her interview with CBS's Katie Couric and the spoof of it on Saturday Night Live, but her own appearance on SNL last weekend gave her favorability a significant boost, according to a study conducted by HCD Research and the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion. Among all those participating in the poll, Palin's favorability rating rose to 54 percent from 51 percent. Among Democrats it rose to 24 percent from 18 percent and among independents, to 55 percent from 50 percent. Republicans, who had already given her a whopping 83 percent favorability rating, lifted that figure to 85 percent following the show.
MCCAIN FINALLY SETS INTERVIEW DATE ON CNN
John McCain has agreed to be interviewed by CNN for the first time since his nomination. He is scheduled to appear on the cable news network's The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday. He last appeared on CNN in late July, before the Republican convention, when he promised Larry King that he would bring his running mate to his program, saying, "I will not risk the wrath of Larry King, I want to assure you." He did do precisely that in September when he canceled an appearance on Larry King Live after CNN reporter Campbell Brown doggedly questioned campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds about Governor Sarah Palin's role as commander in chief of the Alaska Air National Guard. A message currently appearing on King's website says, "We're still waiting for the senator to reschedule with us. ... We've also extended an invitation to Gov. Palin to be a guest on the show, as Sen. McCain assured us would happen."
EAT, TALK TO FRIENDS, THROW THINGS AT SCREEN WITH NEW TV
While the household rule in many families may be "Don't talk during the show. Wait for the commercial," CBS is planning to introduce a feature called the Social Viewing Room (www.cbs.com/socialroom) in which fans of the network's shows can watch them online "and interact as if they were all sitting together in the same room." Presumably the only word that will be verboten is "Shhh!" since, according to a release by CBS Interactive, viewers will be able to "chat with any or all of [their fellow viewers] directly during the show, thus increasing viral aspects through chat and interaction." Viewers will even be encouraged to "throw or animate customized virtual objects on the screen." The experiment is being sponsored by Intel. In a statement, the company's consumer marketing director, Heather Dixon, said, "Now, the PC can start to replicate the traditional living room experience but in a virtual space --- enabling the PC viewer to banter, laugh and comment with the power of Intel microprocessors." (But will they be permitted to do so during the Intel commercials?)