SMEARED LIPSTICK?

The major news media, which have come under attack by the McCain campaign for assertedly showing bias in favor of Barack Obama, found themselves under attack by the Obama campaign Wednesday for their coverage of Obama's "lipstick on a pig" remark. The Republicans, said Obama, had taken his remark out of context and used it in an "outrageous" commercial "because they know that it's catnip for the media." Several TV and radio newscasts on Tuesday had played Obama's remark, juxtaposing it with vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's remark during her acceptance speech that the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull was lipstick. The suggestion was that Obama was referring to Palin. However, he did not mention Palin in his remarks but had instead compared John McCain's position on major issues with President Bush's and had used the phrase in an apparent effort to show that the difference between them was only cosmetic. Surprisingly, conservative news commentator Bill O'Reilly came to Obama's defense. On his Fox News program he said that there was no evidence that Obama was making a sexist remark and he chastised the media for its coverage of the matter. During an interview on Fox News McCain's daughter Meghan said that she had heard her father use the "lipstick on a pig" line in the past. The Chicago Sun-Times discovered that McCain had indeed used the phrase last October to describe Hillary Clinton's position on health care. And MSNBC's liberal talk show host Chris Matthews displayed the cover of a book written by former McCain press secretary Torie Clarke titled Lipstick on a Pig.

PALIN GETS WIDESPREAD EXPOSURE ON ABC

Charles Gibson's interview with Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, will receive unprecedented exposure on ABC tonight (Thursday) and tomorrow, with segments of the interview airing on ABC World News and Nightline tonight and on Good Morning America and 20/20 Friday night. The Palin campaign set the timing for the interview, which takes place on the same day her son Track is deployed to Iraq.

SPRINGER EXEC PRODUCER QUITS -- SOME SAY, FIRED

Richard Dominick was ousted as executive producer of The Jerry Springer Show and The Steve Wilkos Show after he failed to tone down violence on the two shows, as NBC Universal executives had demanded, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today (Thursday). According to the newspaper's TV columnist, Robert Feder, who cited "the story making the rounds," Dominick was fired by his bosses after engaging in a "physical confrontation" with a guest in which he applied a choke hold. Dominick declined to comment on the report.

CBS SUES TO CLARIFY RIGHTS TO NFL PLAYER STATISTICS

Despite several court rulings that Major League Baseball could not prevent fantasy baseball sites from using the names and statistics of players, NFL Players is seeking to halt CBS Interactive's fantasy football site, claiming that it violates the players' intellectual property rights. NFL Players, which handles licensing and sponsorship deals for the players, further claimed that it is wrong for CBS to use the rights of NFL players to generate revenue without compensating them. CBS declined comment on the suit. Last week, it filed a lawsuit against the NFL Players Association asking for a declaratory judgment that it has the rights to use publicly available statistics on its CBS Sports website.

FRINGE BENEFITS FOX

The debut of Fox's Fringe one of the buzziest series of the fall season, received good but far-from-extraordinary ratings Tuesday night. The show, from Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams, drew 9.13 million viewers and won its time period. However, given the preseason chatter and enthusiastic reviews about the show and the expectation that it would at least draw more than 10 million viewers on its initial outing, analysts said that the result was merely "respectable." (The debut of Lost attracted more than twice the number of viewers.)

LOGO TO LAUNCH FIRST GAY-ORIENTED SPORTS SHOW

Viacom's gay-oriented LOGO channel said Wednesday that it plans to launch "the first gay sports show on a national network airing in a weekly fixed prime time slot." The show, Shirts & Skins appears to be a reality show in which a basketball team, made up primarily of gay African Americans, are brought together to participate in a national basketball tournament.

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.