FOX SCORES WITH FOOTBALL, THEN BASEBALL

A one-two punch of football followed by baseball put Fox well ahead of its rivals in the Sunday night ratings. An overrun of NFL coverage at 7:00 p.m. produced a 10.8 rating and an 18 share for Fox at 7:00 p.m., well ahead of CBS's usual winner of that time period, 60 Minutes, which registered only a 7.5/13. Fox retained the lead from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. with an average 11.1/17 for the final game of the American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians, edged out only in the 9:00 p.m. hour by ABC's Desperate Housewives, which scored an 11.3/16. (The game was won by the Red Sox, who overcame a three-game-to-one deficit.) Fox also took Saturday night with game six of the ALCS, averaging a 6.7/12, well ahead of second-place CBS, which recorded a 4.8/9.

NBC SHUTS DOWN YOUTUBE "CHANNEL"

NBC, which has had a contentious relationship with websites that have sought to present content from its shows, suddenly shut down its "channel" on YouTube over the weekend without notice, the tech gossip site Valleywag.com reported Sunday. NBC set up its official channel on the YouTube site only last June after it had expressed outrage that clips from Saturday Night Live were being posted on YouTube and attracting more viewers than the show itself. The network later became embroiled in a dispute with Apple over compensation for shows offered for download and streaming on the company's iTunes Store. NBC and News Corp's Fox Broadcasting recently formed their own online venture, Hulu, which is due to launch within the next week with content from both networks. Meanwhile News Corp-owned MySpace has begun airing Roommates, a kind of scripted reality series (each "webisode" is three minutes long) in which viewers will be asked to suggest how the story should progress.

SANDISK ENTERS PC-TO-TV FIELD

SanDisk, the company best known as a manufacturer of flash memory cards, plans to offer a package that will allow users to download movies and TV shows onto what it calls the Sansa TakeTV Video Player and play them on standard television sets. According to an Associated Press report, the tiny device, which comes with a 4GB or an 8GB flashcard, also includes a downloading service called Fanfare, which at launch was reportedly offering only 85 titles from CBS and the network's cable sibling Showtime. Today's (Monday) Wall Street Journal observed that the SanDisk device will also play videos downloaded in formats commonly used to pirate movies and TV shows on the Internet. "While it said it doesn't approve of TakeTV being used with such content," the Journal noted, SanDisk "hasn't taken any technical measures to prevent it."

COMCAST INTERFERING WITH MOVIE AND TV DOWNLOADS, SAYS A.P.

Cable giant Comcast is actively blocking file sharing services like BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella, the Associated Press reported on Friday. "When files are being exchanged between two computers, Comcast surreptitiously steps in and gets the two machines to hang up on each other," the wire service reported. While such tactics may interfere with downloading bootlegged movies, they also block legal use of the file-sharing services. "An independent producer distributing his own film, for example, is treated with the same regard as a pirate," A.P. said. While a Comcast spokesperson maintained that the cable company "does not block access to any applications," he would not define what he meant by "access." Meanwhile, today's (Monday) New York Post reported that the Motion Picture Assn. of America is talking to a number of Internet Service Providers about adopting technologies that would prevent their customers from illegally swapping movies and TV shows online.

NEARLY TWO-THIRDS OF U.K. VIEWERS TUNE IN TO RUGBY WORLD CUP

Sixty percent of the entire British TV audience -- 15.8 million viewers -- tuned in to watch South Africa defeat England in the Rugby World Cup final Saturday night. ITV, which carried the game, said it was "the most-watched television moment of the year." The commercial channel also noted that the ratings figures represented only at-home viewing and did not take into account additional numbers of viewers in pubs and clubs.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.