CBS REAPPRAISING APPLE OF ITS EYE
CBS is waiting to see how NBC's dispute with Apple pans out before deciding whether it, too, will remove its programs from Apple's iTunes Music Store, CBS Interactive CEO Quincy Smith has told Forbes magazine. "Of course you want more control over your own pricing," Smith said. "NBC's stance really helps us, because you can be sure that if they win, we're second in line with our hands out to make sure we change [our deal]." Meanwhile, technical blogs were buzzing with complaints about the NBC-Apple dispute, with one writer noting that it leaves millions of owners of Macintosh computers and those seeking the convenience of downloading with iTunes software without a legitimate way of buying NBC programs. Moreover, CNET News observed that iTunes and other legal online stores "cannot compete with [illegal] file sharing on price. ... The only areas where they have the upper hand are in quality and ease of use. ... Apple's iPod makes up more than 70 percent of the overall mobile player market. With those customers now completely cut-off from NBC's offerings, the ease-of-use advantage of legitimate purchase has been lost."
SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE BEATS VIACOM
A North Carolina school board candidate who posted his TV commercial on YouTube, then saw it air on Viacom's VH1 channel, has successfully fought off Viacom's attempt to remove the spot from YouTube. Christopher Knight had observed that VH1 had never asked him for permission to air the spot and had not paid him for its use. (When Knight uploaded the spot a second time, he included the introduction by the VH1 host.) He filed a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) counter-notification claim against Viacom -- and won. The clip was restored on YouTube, which also informed Knight that his account would not be lifted, as it previously threatened to do.
THE VIEW MAKING WHOOPI -- AND VICE VERSA
Whoopi Goldberg's first week as a full-time panelist on ABC's The View captured an average of 3.5 million viewers, some 70,000 more than tuned in for Rosie O'Donnell's first week a year ago, according to Nielsen Research. It marked the biggest season-opening week of The View in its history. The show pulled even even more viewers at the beginning of this week for Sherri Shepherd's debut as co-host, posting 3.9 million viewers on Monday -- 800,000 more than the number who watched the second Monday of The View at the beginning oflast season.
VIDEO GAME CONTEST ON CBS SHUTS DOWN
The World Series of Video Games, whose deal with CBS last year was hailed as a milestone in bringing competitive video gaming to a major TV network, has canceled its remaining contests for 2007. The WSVG cited "the continuing challenges of securing adequate revenues to sustain the production of the WSVG's large-scale events and television programming in a very crowded field of competitive gaming leagues." The group said that remaining contests scheduled for Los Angeles, London and the finals in Sweden, which were to have aired as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular series and hosted by sportscaster Greg Amsinger, would be scrapped and contestants would receive refunds of their entry fees. In announcing its deal with the WSVG last May, CBS Sports programming exec Rob Correa said, "We think this will be the year that television broadcasting of video games really takes off." The network did not immediately comment on the cancellation.
CNN DENIES IT'S CUTTING COOPER'S SHOW
CNN has denied a trade-paper report that it had decided to cut Anderson Cooper's two-hour program to one hour and air a repeat during the second hour. On Thursday, Daily Variety had reported that CNN was "scaling back an ambitious programming block created in 2005 to showcase the studio and field-reporting talents of Cooper, who it viewed as an emerging star." Broadcasting & Cable noted on its website Thursday that CNN had switched the second hour to a mostly taped format two months ago, with Cooper opening it with 10-15 minutes of live content, then airing taped pieces unless a major breaking news story is in progress, when it remains live.
ABC PROBING POSSIBILITY OF FURTHER PHONY STORIES BY FRENCH WRITER
It was alleged Thursday that numerous interviews published under the byline of Alexis Debat, a former ABC News consultant, may never have taken place. Following Senator Barack Obama protest that he had never been interviewed by Debat for a French foreign affairs journal, Politique Internationale, ABC News's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross reported Thursday: "Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan have added their names to the list of people who say they were the subjects of fake interviews" by Debat. ABC said that it is reviewing all stories in which Debat was involved.
REPORTERS' PRESS-RIGHTS GROUP DEMANDS RELEASE OF AL-JAZEERA CAMERAMAN
In a statement timed to coincide with the first day of Ramadan, Islam's holiest month, the Paris based Reporters sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders), called on the U.S. to release al-Jazeera cameraman Sami Al-Haj from its Guantánamo military prison in Cuba, where he has been held for more than five years. In a blistering statement, RSF declared, "Ramadan is traditionally the month of self-denial and forgiveness and for the individual to confront his own humanity, but how much humanity remains when someone is detained arbitrarily and deprived of all contact with his family for more than five years? ... And what remains of the rule of law, when a prisoner is denied a fair trial, denied treatment and tortured? The Al-Haj case is a legal scandal, as is the Guantánamo prison camp itself."