ABC IGNITES ANOTHER FOLEY CONTROVERSY

ABC failed to block the screen name of one of the Congressional pages who had a sexually explicit online conversation with former Florida Congressman Mark Foley, and, as a result, a blog was able to track down his name and photograph. William Kerr of The Passionate America site, which originally posted the information, said that Foley's correspondent, who was just shy of his 18th birthday at the time of his initial instant messaging with Foley, is now 21 years old and is currently working as deputy campaign manager for Republican Congressman Ernest Istook of Oklahoma. On Wednesday, ABC issued a statement saying, "We go to great lengths to prevent the names of alleged sex crime victims from being revealed. On Friday there was a very brief technical glitch on our site which was overridden immediately. It is possible that during that very brief interval a screen name could have been captured. Reviews of the site since then show no unredacted screen names." Meanwhile House Speaker Dennis Hastert vowed to remain in his position despite calls for his resignation over his handling of the Foley case. He accused Democrats and ABC News of trying to "blow up" the controversy.

KIDNAPPED IS BUMPED OFF

NBC has decided to finish off Kidnapped after 13 episodes. According to Broadcasting & Cable magazine, which cited multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, NBC has asked the writers to wrap up the plot line at the end of the 13 weeks. The third episode of the critically praised but ratings-challenged series aired Wednesday night, when ratings reached their lowest level yet, registering a 3.7/6, dead last among the four major networks. An announcement is expected as early as today (Thursday) about when the remaining episodes will be shown.

FATHER AND WIFE IN TUG OF WAR OVER LACHLAN MURDOCH

The wife of Lachlan Murdoch appeared to shoot down public speculation by her father-in-law, Rupert Murdoch, on Tuesday that Lachlan will return to News Corp. Asked during an appearance at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday about comments by the elder Murdoch that "Lachlan might come back," Sarah Murdoch replied, "I am very happy in Australia, and I think both of us are very happy in Australia, and our children are very happy here. It's a wonderful place to live. We pinch ourselves every day. Really it is fantastic. Australians have the best of both: we have a fantastic community, a fantastic business sector, a lot of challenges, but a fantastic lifestyle. Very lucky." When reporters spotted Lachlan Murdoch in the audience and asked him about his father's remarks, he replied that he had no comment. "Sarah is the star today," he remarked.

VIEIRA TO MAKE NBC DEBUT IN PRIMETIME

Meredith Vieira will make her NBC debut in primetime Saturday when she appears on the news magazine Dateline to interview John Michael and Ellen Keyes, the parents of Emily Keyes, the 16-year-old student killed by a shooter at a high school in Baily, CO last week. Excerpts from the interview are also scheduled to air on the Today show, which Vieira co-hosts, on Friday.

CONSUMERS TO BENEFIT FROM PRICE WAR OVER BIG-SCREEN TV SETS

A price war between makers of large-screen TV sets is expected to break out in advance of the holiday season with little more than bragging rights at stake, according to Business Week magazine. Prices are expected to be razor thin, the magazine noted, quoting analyst Rosemary Abowd of Pacific Media Associates as saying, "The only ones making money in the TV business this year will be the guys who deliver the sets and the people who sell the stands and the mounting brackets." The magazine is quoted as saying that sales of LCD sets are expected to grow from 20 million units last year to 38 million this year; plasma sets, from 5.2 million units last year to 8.6 million this year.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.