PHILLIES' WIN DRAWS BIG CROWD
A rain-soaked Game 1 of the World Series certainly didn't dampen the enthusiasm of baseball fans Wednesday night as they flocked to their TV sets to watch the Philadelphia Phillies clobber the New York Yankees 6-1. The game averaged 17.80 million viewers -- a figure that remained virtually flat throughout the night. It was the best showing for Major League Baseball since the final game of last year's World Series -- and topped the previous games of that Series. It gave Fox a win, both in overall households and adults 18-49 in every half-hour of primetime Wednesday night. With the largely male audience gravitating toward baseball, Jay Leno's ratings continued to erode. For the second time this week, the number of viewers fell below five million, causing MediaWeek's ratings pundit Marc Berman to remark, "I pity the poor person at NBC handling the ratings for Jay Leno."
FCC: NO LET-UP IN CRACKDOWN ON TV INDECENCY
The FCC on Wednesday signaled that it will be no less tough on "indecent" broadcasting under the Obama administration than it was under the Bush administration. In an appellate brief, the FCC said it was correct when it reprimanded Fox for airing "vulgar expletives" during a telecast of the Billboard Music Awards in 2002. The commission maintained that its regulations are necessary in order to "ensure that parents can construct 'a relatively safe haven for their children.'" The commission also addressed broadcasters' comments that other content distributors face no such prohibitions. Those providers, it observed, "are required to pay often substantial sums" for access, while broadcasters get theirs "for free on the condition that they operate in the public interest."
IDOL'S LAMBERT SHOCKS WITH ALBUM COVER
Hearkening back to the days of David Bowie and his androgynous Ziggy Stardust persona, American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert on Wednesday displayed the cover of his latest CD, For Your Entertainment, in which he resembles a glamorous chanteuse. On his Twitter page, he thanked fans who realized that the cover "is deliberately campy" and an "omage (sic) to the past." He signed off: "Androgyny. Rock n Roll." His remarks appeared aimed at preempting criticism from reviewers rather than responding to it. Surprisingly, virtually no critical flak appeared in print or on entertainment blogs Wednesday following release of the cover artwork.
NEW ABC-DISNEY STUDIOS TO GO UP NEAR L.A.
The Walt Disney Co. said on Wednesday that it plans to build a massive studio for its movie studio and ABC-TV network in the Santa Clarita Valley north of Los Angeles. The proposed complex would cover 56 acres and would comprise soundstages, talent bungalows, offices, storage facilities and a commissary. Richard Ballering, an ABC executive, told the Los Angeles Times that the facility would allow it to have as many as 16 to 23 television productions taking place during the height of the pilot season. "This will help us to better manage our portfolio of shows," Ballering said. The location has been used for outdoor TV and movie productions since the 1950s, the newspaper said.
AS ADVERTISERS PULL OUT, GERMAN TV NETWORK TURNS TO VIEWERS
Germany's No. 2 commercial television network, which has experienced a sharp decline in advertiser revenue this year, is looking to offset its losses by developing services that it hopes viewers will pay for. The New York Times, citing an article in Germany's business journal Handelsblatt, reported today (Thursday) that the German television broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media aims at generating 30 percent of its revenue from sources other than advertising within five years, primarily from pay-TV services. But the Times indicated that the broadcaster faces numerous problems, not the least of which is the fact that Germans in general have shown reluctance to adopt pay-TV services.
BROADCAST NETWORKS STAGING A COMEBACK?
All of the major networks with the exception of ABC have shown significant ratings boosts this fall, USA Today reported today, citing figures from Starcom Media. The researchers noted that much of the increase could be attributed to viewers watching television shows on home and laptop computers. (According to the study, 25 percent of younger viewers now watch TV shows via some form of digital device.) CBS is up the most -- 6 percent -- according to the figures. Fox is up 5 percent, helped in particular by House's move to Mondays. Even lowly NBC was able to post solid numbers. thanks to Sunday Night football and The Biggest Loser. ABC was down 4 percent. Overall broadcast network viewing is up 2 percent for the current season, the first upturn in years.