CHANEL NO. 1

In the latest example of a basic cable television network drawing an audience matching in size many broadcast networks', the female-oriented Lifetime channel drew 5.2 million viewers for its original movie, Coco Chanel, starring Shirley Maclaine on Saturday beginning at 9:00 p.m. (A repeat at 11:00 p.m. delivered an additional 2.2 million viewers.) On broadcast TV Saturday night, only ABC's telecast of the Ohio State/USC football game and CBS's 48 Hours Mystery drew larger audiences during primetime. Meanwhile, the History Channel said Monday that it had scored its second-largest audience ever with the special 102 Minutes that Changed America, which it aired on the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The documentary also drew 5.2 million viewers.

HDTV BUYERS GET THE PICTURE

When it comes to purchasing a new digital TV set, consumers put picture quality ahead of price in making their decision, according to research group iSuppli. (Lower-income consumers put price ahead.) Upper-income shoppers put brand-name in second position. The researchers said that they were surprised to discover that screen size ranked well down the list of priorities, with fewer than 10 percent of consumers ranking it as most important in their purchasing decision.

LANCE BASS: TIME NOT RIGHT FOR GAY COUPLES ON DWTS

Dick Clark's American Bandstand, which debuted in 1956,may have been the first dance show on national television but it wasn't until 30 years later that interracial couples were shown dancing together on USA Network's Dance Party USA. Now, in an interview with E! Online, openly gay Lance Bass, the former 'N Sync member and an upcoming contestant on ABC's Dancing With the Stars, has suggested it may be a long while before two men are seen dancing together on such a show. Bass said that in today's world it would look "silly" to see a same-sex couple on DWTS and that "it would just overshadow everything else going on." Admitting that he has had to work strenuously to learn the routines for the televised competition, which begins on Sept. 22, Bass said that he realizes gay men may be "scrutinized and picked apart" more readily than straight men in such circumstances. "I definitely feel a responsibility of making sure I represent well," he said.

MORE CRITICISM OF SEINFELD/GATES TV SPOTS

The author of two how-to guides about the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system has called the Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates television commercials "one of the worst most pointless ads in history." Writing on Computerworld magazines blog, Preston Gralla describes the original ad -- Seinfeld and Gates in a discount shoe store -- as "about as boring a minute and a half as you'll ever spend." Jeff Bercovici, a columnist for Condé Nast Portfolio, wonders whether Microsoft's ad agency considered Seinfeld himself as a metaphor. "A towering presence during the 1990s, increasingly irrelevant since then...remind you of any software giants you can think of?" Indeed, the latest commercial shows Seinfeld and Gates being taken into an ordinary household so that they can get in touch with ordinary people -- but, in the end, not being accepted by them.

SILVERMAN VOWS TO STAY ON AT NBC

Despite growing speculation that he will soon be forced out as co-chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, Ben Silverman told an audience at the New York Television Festival Monday that he is "so committed to the job." In an on-stage conversation with CNBC host Donny Deutsch, Silverman said that he has the "job I want, I am doing it by choice, which sort of throws people who are on a treadmill for life just trying to get access to these opportunities and doing everything in their power to hold onto them." Some critics have suggested that NBC's new fall lineup, for which Silverman is primarily responsible, will tank and that, as a result, Silverman will be held responsible. However, Silverman told his audience, "Everyone is fixated on the fall. .. I am fixated on the fourth quarter."

NBC TRIES TO YANK YOUTUBE SNL CLIP

NBC on Monday sent take-down notices to YouTube as Saturday Night Live fans posted clips of last weekend's Saturday Night Live sketch featuring former SNL head writer and 30 Rock star Tina Fey doing a spot-on impersonation of Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler doing Hillary Clinton. People alerted to the YouTube video saw a notice reading, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by NBC Universal." But as soon as one clip was removed, another took its place -- and the clip also showed up on numerous other websites. Asked what Palin herself thought of the clip, her spokesperson told CBS News, "She thought it was quite funny, particularly because she once dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween."

Brian B.