STOSSEL: WHY I LEFT ABC FOR FOX

John Stossel has acknowledged that he made the jump from ABC to Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel primarily because he felt muzzled by ABC News producers. In a commentary posted on the Townhall.com website, Stossel wrote that while he was "usually" able to air features reflecting his libertarian viewpoint, "it was frustrating. My vision and that of my producers were often not in harmony. Too many stories I thought were important ... were not aired." Conspicuously he does not indicate whether Fox, which often reflects the views of the religious right, will allow him to produce programs that champion the libertarian positions on drugs, prostitution, gambling, pornography and abortion.

NIGHTLINE AGAIN BEATS DAVID, CONAN

ABC's Nightline has done it again -- beaten both The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman in total viewers. Moreover, it appears to be widening the gap between them. Last week, it averaged 3.59 million viewers to Late Show's 3.28 million and Tonight's 2.93 million. It also drew closer to overtaking Tonight among adults 25-54. While Tonight continued to lead in that demo with 1.58 million viewers, Nightline grew to 1.45 million. Late Show placed third in the demo with 1.21 million.

TWO BIG MEDIA COMPANIES AMONG THE TOP-TEN AT BANKRUPTCY RISK

CBS Corp. and Liberty Media have made the top ten of Audit Integrity's Bankruptcy Risk list. The annual study of more than 2,500 companies places Rite Aid, the drugstore chain, at the top of the list of at-risk companies with more than $1 billion in market capitalization. It has a 10.5-percent risk of bankruptcy over the next year due to the heavy debt load it incurred when it acquired the Brooks and Eckerd drugstores in 2007. CBS placed eighth on the list with a 6.2 percent risk of bankruptcy in the coming year, while Liberty Media placed tenth with a 5.6 percent risk.

GUIDING LIGHT SWITCHES OFF AFTER 72 YEARS

The oldest soap opera in broadcast history, Guiding Light, which originated on radio in 1937 and moved to television in 1952, will flicker out today (Friday). "It's a run, an institution, that has never been matched and never will," the Associated Press commented in its report on the show's finale. The wire service noted that as recently as the 1991-92 season, Guiding Light was drawing 6.5 million viewers versus 2.1 million this season. But the lesbian media website AfterEllen.com observed that the end of the show also means kissing off the relationship between the characters Olivia and Natalia ("Otalia" as they are called) without so much as a kiss. Editor Sarah Warn wrote: "When the writers refused to let the couple kiss (or even hold hands until close to the end), they made them -- and us -- second-class citizens, and ruined the fantasy element that is at the heart of daytime drama."