WHO'S CURSED NOW?

Baseball fans tuned in to Fox Sunday night to see whether the Boston Red Sox could repeat the impossible and defy its "curse" for a second year in a row and win the World Series. They did -- in four straight games, which represented good and bad news for Fox. The good news was that ratings for the Series overwhelmed the competition over the four days of Boston's sweep of the Colorado Rockies. The bad news was that the series lasted only four nights -- knocking out potential advertising revenue from additional games. Sunday night's finale averaged a 13.9 rating and a 21 share in the overnights from 8:30 to 11:00 p.m. (The pre-game show at 8:00 p.m. posted a 9.8/16.) The only show that could be regarded as a contender against the Series Sunday was ABC's Desperate Housewives, which drew an 11.2/17.

KEITEL TO PLAY JERRY SPRINGER AT CARNEGIE HALL

Harvey Keitel is the seemingly unlikely choice to play Jerry Springer in a forthcoming production of Jerry Springer: The Opera in Concert, to be presented at New York's Carnegie Hall on Jan. 29 and 30, according to the New York Times. The newspaper said that if the two performances prove to be successful, the producers will consider staging it on Broadway. The "opera" -- a spoof of the U.S. television show -- was originally performed on stage in the U.K. When it also aired on the BBC two years ago, it generated an uproar, as conservative Christian groups complained that license fees collected from viewers should not be used to underwrite blasphemy. But in a letter-to-the-editor appear in the London Evening Standard, one viewer responded: "If you want to see what happens when television is censored to stop causing offense just go to America -- most of their television is so sanitized that it is unwatchable."

HULU LAUNCHES TO SOLID REVIEWS

Although the announcement that NBC Universal and News Corp were launching a joint Internet venture named Hulu was initially greeted with skepticism and even derision, advance reviews of the enterprise, which officially goes online today (Monday), have been surprisingly good, the Los Angeles Times observed today. Analysts have been particularly impressed with the two media companies' willingness to allow scenes from their television shows to be excerpted and embedded in discussion blogs. James McQuivey, an analyst for Forrester Research, told the newspaper: "No one in the industry has taken that step. ... I doubted they had the political will." Commenting on the fact that Hulu will also be available on Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft's MSN and additional hosting sites, another analyst, Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media, remarked similarly: "I really am impressed that NBC have been aggressive enough to permit this super-distribution of their copyrighted content. ... I had assumed the networks would be slow to adapt."

WGA AND DGA AT ODDS OVER STRIKE RULES

New intramural fighting has broken out between the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America over the WGA's strike rules. Like the Screen Actors Guild the DGA told its members last week that they must observe the no-strike clause in their contracts with producers, although the members were encouraged to participate in picketing in their off-hours. The WGA then responded that hyphenate writer-directors who continue to perform "writing services" on TV shows will be subject to union disciplinary action. The DGA responded: "It is an essential element of our basic agreement that the guild not only refrain from striking during the term of the basic agreement, but also that the guild assure employers that our members will continue to perform DGA-covered services during the term of the basic agreement." A strike could begin as early as next Thursday, November 1.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.