TALLYING THE COST OF THE LENO MOVE
NBC has lost 30 percent of its viewers in the 10:00 p.m. hour since it turned the hour over to Jay Leno last month, Advertising Age reported today (Tuesday), citing figures from a research note by Wells Fargo Securities. The loss of viewers has resulted in an even deeper slump in advertising revenue, the trade publication indicated. For example, it noted that whereas My Own Worst Enemy, which starred Christian Slater, commanded an average of $99,009 per 30-second spot on Monday nights last season, the Leno show only takes in $53,640. The trade publication did not compare what NBC had to pay for Enemy compared with what it now pays for Leno. However, it noted that Leno is expected to improve considerably in the summer when it airs all-new live shows against the other networks' repeats.
RICKY GERVAIS TO HOST GOLDEN GLOBES
The Golden Globes will revert to a format abandoned 14 years ago when a single host fronted the awards presentations. Since 1995 the ceremonies have featured numerous celebrity presenters in the hope that eliminating the host would speed up the pace of the show. But on January 17, the producers of the show said Monday, Ricky Gervais, who upstaged other presenters a year ago, will take over. In a statement, Philip Berk, president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which selects the Golden Globe winners, said that Gervais will "bring his unique brand of humor and charm to what will continue to be a fast-paced award show," For his part, Gervais remarked, "I have resisted many other offers like this, but there are just some things you don't turn down,"
MICROSOFT PULLS OUT OF FAMILY GUY SPECIAL
Microsoft has decided not to go ahead with announced plans to be the sole sponsor of a forthcoming episode of Family Guy on Fox. The company said that the special episode, set to run on November 8, included content that "was not a fit with the Windows brand." Commented today's (Tuesday) New York Times: "Maybe Microsoft should have rented a "Family Guy" DVD or tuned into Fox on a Sunday night before going forward with the integration."
UNDER WHITE HOUSE ATTACK, FOX NEWS SOARS
The White House's recent criticism of Fox News has apparently only served to boost the cable news network's ratings. A new survey indicates that in the period from September 28 to October 11, a period during which White House Communications Director Anita Dunn called Fox News an "arm of the Republican Party," ratings for Fox News jumped 9 percent for all demographic groups and 14 percent for adults 25-54. At the same time, CNN's ratings were collapsing, particularly those for Anderson Cooper's AC360 show. Fox News currently averages 2.2 million viewers in primetime versus 730,000 for MSNBC, 679,000 for CNN, and 530,000 for HLN. In reporting on CNN's nosedive, the New York Times commented today (Tuesday): "In an era when the relationship between the White House and Fox News is making headlines, and when the ideological rivalry between MSNBC on the left and Fox News on the right is commanding the spotlight, CNN has little from a news angle to stir consistent interest from viewers. As a consequence, CNN's position in prime-time programming, the most profitable area of the cable news business, has been undermined by the strength of competing channels that focus largely on opinion-based programs during those hours."
COMICS GALORE OUTSHINED BY COSBY AT TRIBUTE
A host of veteran comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Carl Reiner, Sinbad, and Dick Gregory, paid tribute to Bill Cosby as he received the 12th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington Monday night. And while each of them drew laughter from the audience, they were all upstaged by clips from Cosby's TV appearances over nearly a half-century. Even a routine featuring Seinfeld and Rock together fell flat, with Seinfeld acknowledging the fact by remarking that everyone in the audience was probably thinking, "I thought these two guys would be funny together," and Rock rejoining, "But we're not." All of the comics told how they had listened to Cosby's comedy albums as children and how they were influenced by them. All, that is, except 87-year-old Carl Reiner, himself a former Twain Prize recipient, who recalled how his then 16-year-old son Rob had excitedly told him about a Cosby appearance on the Tonight show. Later, Reiner related, he described Rob's excitement to Sheldon Leonard, who was producing The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which Reiner was a regular, and who was then casting a new series called I Spy, about a couple of tennis-playing secret agents. "Why couldn't one of them be black?" he remembered Leonard remarking, thus setting the stage for Cosby's eventual TV stardom. Accepting his award, Cosby reminisced about his early career, and finally referred to one of the TV clips shown earlier in the evening in which Jack Benny, arguably the premiere comedian of the 20th century, was reduced to helpless laughter watching a Cosby monologue during their joint appearance on a late-night talk show. "I'm especially happy that you saw Jack Benny fall out of that chair," he concluded.