RED LETTER(MAN) DAY FOR FEMINISTS
Feminist groups have chimed in on the David Letterman scandal, with most of them demanding that CBS take some disciplinary action against the talk-show host. The National Organization for Women said that the scandal "sheds new light on the widespread objectification of women in the workplace." Its statement concluded: "The National Organization for Women calls on CBS to recognize that Letterman's behavior creates a toxic environment and to take action immediately to rectify this situation. With just two women on CBS' board of directors, we're not holding our breath." (Unlike NBC's talk-show hosts, Letterman is not a network employee. His production company, Worldwide Pants, sells Late Show with David Letterman and Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson to CBS.) In an open letter to Letterman appearing on the Radar Online website, attorney Gloria Allred commented that Letterman's behavior amounted to "sexual favoritism in the workplace." She added, "I believe that your sexual conduct is wrong and potentially in violation of the law even if your sexual relationship with your staffers was consensual and romantic." Meanwhile, TVNewser reported Wednesday that CBS News producer Joe Halderman, who is accused of blackmailing Letterman, is continuing to command support among his colleagues at the network. According to the website, two of them, Andy Soto and Marc Goldbaum, posted bond for Halderman. Halderman's attorney, Gerald Shargel, has hinted that his client's only intention was to reach a settlement with Letterman before his girlfriend, Stephanie Birkitt, a former assistant to Letterman, filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. The celebrity website TMZreported Wednesday that Birkitt, who remains an employee of Worldwide Pants, has been banned from the Late Show set. However, Worldwide Pants later insisted that Birkitt is merely on a "paid leave of absence" and has not been banned. (The Associated Press sent out five reporters to interview former Letterman targets who had been caught in sex scandals.)
MONKEY BUSINESS DELETED FROM DANCING WITH THE STARS
Responding to complaints by the animal rights group PETA that chimpanzees used for entertainment productions are often separated from their mothers, then abused during the training process, the producers of ABC's Dancing with the Stars on Tuesday, removed scenes of a chimpanzee appearing as a guest judge. In a letter to the group, executive producer Conrad Green said that while the chimp had appeared happy and well treated during the shoot, "I do appreciate your point that showing a chimpanzee on our show may indirectly lead to other chimpanzees being ill-treated in the future. While I can't undo the fact that we did shoot with a chimpanzee I will be sure we don't do this again in the future."
COURT QUASHES RATHER'S REMAINING COMPLAINTS AGAINST CBS
Dan Rather's remaining complaints against CBS, its CEO Les Moonves and its former news chief Andrew Heyward were all tossed out by New York State Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman on Wednesday. His action came after a state appeals court last week dismissed most of Rather's claims. Gary Meyerhoff, an attorney for the former CBS Evening News anchor, said in an email statement to Bloomberg News, "This is a procedural step that was expected and has no bearing on Mr. Rather's right to seek review of the Appellate Division's decision in the New York Court of Appeals, a step he still intends to take." The case stems from CBS's decision to remove Rather as anchor of the nightly newscast after a story he aired on 60 Minutes 2 about President Bush's National Guard service during the Vietnam War came under attack.
ABC'S WEDNESDAY LINEUP LOSING STEAM
ABC's new Wednesday-night programs, which started off promisingly, appear to be running out of steam. Modern Family, which debuted with 12.60 million viewers three weeks ago, was down 33 percent to 8.46 million viewers this week. Cougar Town, which attracted 11.28 million for its premiere three weeks ago, was down 31 percent to 7.80 million. And Eastwick, which started out with 8.50 million viewers on Sept. 23 fell 38 percent to 5.28 million, putting it in danger of cancellation.
BASEBALL FEVER RETURNS
October baseball fever appears to have returned. Tuesday night's American League dramatic tiebreaker game between the Minnesota Twins and the Detroit Tigers -- won by Minnesota in the 12th inning -- drew 6.54 million viewers, peaking in the final half hour with 11.4 million, making it TBS's most-viewed telecast since the final game of last year's American League Championship Series. In the Twin Cities, the game drew an average rating of 27.1, while in Detroit it registered a 24.6. The division playoffs began on Wednesday, but cable ratings are not expected until late today (Thursday).