ABC DANCES TO FIRST-WEEK VICTORY

ABC, which stumbled on the comeback trail last season, strode to the head of the pack in the first week of the new season, landing at the top of the Nielsen ratings lists among both overall audiences and adults 18-49. The network got a big lift from Grey's Anatomy and Dancing With the Stars, with Grey's the top-rated show among young adults and Dancing taking second-place honors among the overall audience. ABC's Private Practice was the highest-rated new show of the season in the overall rankings, while NBC's Bionic Woman topped the list among 18-49-year-olds. Meanwhile, it was announced that the Disney Channel, ABC's corporate sibling, rose to the top of the ratings among cable channels during the third quarter, thanks mostly to the success of High School Musical 2, Hannah Montana, and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. The Disney cable outlet also continued to draw solid ratings for each repeat of the original High School Musical. The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 14.9/23; 2. Dancing With the Stars (Monday), ABC, 13.5/20; 3. Grey's Anatomy, ABC, 13.2/20; 4. Dancing With the Stars (Wednesday), ABC, 12.2/19; 4. Desperate Housewives, ABC, 12.2/18; 6. Dancing With the Stars (Tuesday), ABC, 11.1/18; 7. Without a Trace, CBS, 10.9/18; 8. House, Fox, 10.7/16; 9. CSI: Miami, CBS, 10.0/16; 10. Heroes, NBC, 9.9/14.

NEWS CHANNELS LOSING VIEWERS

Both CNN and Fox News saw significant audience erosion in the third quarter, with both networks down about 6 percent in primetime compared with the corresponding quarter a year ago. CNN saw its average primetime audience fall to 901,000 from 960,000 last year, while Fox's audience declined to 1.6 million from 1.7 million last year. CNN took the hardest hit in the 8:00 hour, recently vacated by Paula Zahn. The number of viewers in that hour dropped 11 percent while the audience for FNC's Bill O'Reilly rose 1 percent. Analysts speculated that the CNN emigres landed at MSNBC where Countdown with Keith Olbermann increased its audience 73 percent in the 8:00 p.m. hour.

ANOTHER NATION FOR KID NATION?

If CBS's Kid Nation returns for a second season, it is likely to be filmed abroad, the gossip website TMZ said Tuesday, citing a source close to the program. TMZ suggested that the recent controversy over the reality program has scared off state officials who might otherwise have been eager to bring a television series to their state. "It seems that many potential places would rather not deal with child labor issues associated with the show," TMZ reported.

NOKIA SIGNS MORE CONTENT DEALS

Nokia, the Finnish cellphone manufacturer, announced Tuesday that it has signed content deals with a number of media firms to provide videos for its Nokia N-Series handheld devices. Sony Pictures and CNN are two of the companies signing on, with the cable news network providing news clips and Sony providing feature films.

ABC TO SET UP ONE-PERSON BUREAUS IN ASIA AND AFRICA

ABC News, which has been shutting down many of its bureaus in Asia and Africa in recent years, said Tuesday that it plans to open one-person bureaus in several countries. Each person assigned to the bureaus would essentially become a producer-reporter-cameraman whose work will be featured on both ABC broadcast and Internet outlets, the network indicated. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, ABC News President David Westin said, "Technology now makes it possible for us to have bureaus without a receptionist, three edit suites and studio cameras and so on." The mini-bureaus will reportedly be located in Seoul; Rio de Janeiro; Dubai; New Delhi and Mumbai, India; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Nairobi, Kenya.

PHILIPPINE OFFICIALS ANGERED OVER HOUSEWIVES REMARK

The government of the Philippines is likely to demand an apology from ABC for a put-down of the country's medical professionals on the season premiere of Desperate Housewives, which aired Sunday. In one of the scenes the character played by Teri Hatcher asks to see a doctor's diplomas "to make sure that they're not from some med school in the Philippines." In fact, thousands of Filipino-trained medical professionals work in the U.S. and are required to undergo the same rigorous testing for licensing and perform the same residency requirements as those trained in the U.S. Meeting with reporters in Manila, Eduardo Ermita, executive secretary of the Philippines, commented, "On the face [of it], we can look at it as a racial slur ... considering the number of our medical professionals in the U.S."

BSKYB HIT BY U.K. REGULATOR

The 17.9 percent stake in ITV acquired by British satellite group BSkyB, controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, could substantially lessen competition in the U.K. television market, Britain's Competition Commission ruled today (Wednesday). As a result of the ruling, BSkyB may be forced to sell its ITV stake, which it acquired last November for $1.9 billion. However, the commission appeared to open the door to the possibility that BSkyB would be allowed to sell merely a portion of its holdings, perhaps less than 10 or 15 percent to decrease its influence in the operation of Britain's leading commercial network.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.