WORLD SERIES GAME ONE WINS FOR FOX

A close and exciting Game One of the World Series averaged 13.91 million viewers in primetime Wednesday night, but although the figure was higher than many analysts had predicted, it was well off the 16.90 million who tuned in to the first game of last year's Series. The contest between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays -- won by the Phillies 3-2 -- gave Fox a close win for the night. (It's pregame show drew 11.57 million viewers.) Nevertheless, CBS's Criminal Minds outscored the game with 14.71 million viewers, as did CBS's CSI: NY, which drew 14.24 million. NBC's woes continued, with Knight Rider placing third in its time slot with 7.23 million viewers, while Deal or No Deal landed in fourth place with 7.60 million. Lipstick Jungle also remained in fourth place with just 4.19 million viewers.

MIXED MARTIAL ARTS CLOBBERED

CBS's foray into Mixed Martial Arts came to a halt Wednesday after Pro Elite, the company that staged the EliteXC matches, was pinned down by a $55-million debt load. The company's decision to shut down also left Showtime, CBS's payTV channel, without an MMA event that it had planned to broadcast from Reno on November 8. Pro Elite took a recent clobbering in the media after one of its stars, Seth Petruzelli, knocked out its biggest star, Kimbo Slice in 14 seconds on the last CBS MMA telecast on October 4. Petruzelli then suggested in a radio interview that the bout may have been rigged, and although he later recanted, his remarks touched off an investigation by the Florida State Boxing Commission. Showtime, which already owned a stake in Pro Elite, pulled out of negotiations to buy the company after the controversy erupted. In a statement on Wednesday, Showtime said that it would "explore other opportunities" to continue airing MMA contests.

FEW OVER-THE-AIR VIEWERS REMAIN

Suggesting that the days of over-the-air broadcasting may be numbered, a new report indicates that just 15 percent of all households still receive broadcasts via antennas, with about 10 percent of those planning to sign up for cable or satellite providers when the switch to digital transmission takes place on February 17. The report also indicated that about 20 percent may not purchase converter boxes and instead rely more on DVD and other entertainment. "Terrestrial viewers tend to be more likely to use alternative video entertainment forms such as DVD rentals and broadband video, and the transition may push them further in that direction," the report said.

NBC REMAINS LAST -- WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE SILVERMAN?

The failure of any new NBC series to become a breakout hit this season is likely to cost Ben Silverman his job as the network's entertainment co-chairman, according to some analysts interviewed by Forbes magazine. It quoted media buyer and consultant Gene DeWitt as saying, Ben's a very talented guy, but he's in the wrong job, as evidenced by the programming, the scheduling and the performance." NBC remains the last-place network and shows a 14-percent downturn in its audience from last year, Forbes observed (while noting that the other networks also show audience erosion averaging about 10 percent). And although Silverman is being credited with cutting costs and gaining additional revenue via product-placement deals, DeWitt commented, "The currency of television is still audience. ... Without an audience, there is no network television."

TASTE TESTED IN NEW ONLINE COMEDY

Acknowledging -- boasting even -- that its latest program is "out of touch with normal standards of good taste," Viacom's MTVN Entertainment Group has launched a new online comedy show, My Best Friend Is My Penis via its comedy website, atom.com. (http://mybestfriend.atom.com) In a news release on Wednesday, Jonathan Togo, featured on CBS's CSI: Miami, said that when he and costar Will Carlough set out to create the show, "we aimed to pick up where movies such as Waiting To Exhale and Steel Magnolias left off. ... Somehow we ended up with a guy with a talking penis." The news release states, "This special buddy comedy takes a look at the crazy things that happen when your best friend is really your penis -- including major dating issues." After its online run, the series is due to air on Comedy Central's Atom TV beginning December 8.

B. Alan Orange