i>KID NATION TO BE SCREENED FOR KIDS, NOT CRITICS
In an unusual move, CBS has decided not to show its controversial Kid Nation series to TV critics before it airs Wednesday night. However, it said Monday that it was setting up screenings for several elementary schools in a number of major markets. Taking note of the network's tactics, Daily Variety observed today (Tuesday): "By screening the show for kiddie [critics], CBS is bypassing traditional media in an effort to build positive buzz. And by linking those screenings to its local stations, the Eye has given those outlets a good excuse to do news stories on the screenings -- further hyping the show."
FOX EXPLAINS THE SOUND OF SILENCE
Despite a ruling by a federal appeals court in June that broadcasters cannot be held responsible for "fleeting expletives" uttered on live television, Fox decided to cut three such expletives from its telecast of the Emmys on Sunday. In one instance, the decision to hit the mute button resulted in dead audio for several seconds during antiwar remarks by Sally Field, giving the impression to some that she was being censored for her political comments. On Monday, Fox insisted that it had only been concerned about Field's use of the word "goddamn." (Her remarks aired uncensored in Canada, and excerpts from the Canadian telecast were promptly posted on YouTube and were printed unfiltered in many so-called family newspapers.) In a statement, Fox said, "Some language during the live broadcast may have been considered inappropriate by some viewers. As a result, Fox's broadcast standards executives determined it appropriate to drop sound during those portions of the show." Fox's decision to censor the remarks, however, seemed especially odd to several TV writers who pointed out that the network had been at the forefront of the battle against the FCC's efforts to punish broadcasters that allowed such language to go out over the air. In an interview with the New York Post, Joan Bertin, executive director for the National Coalition Against Censorship, commented, "This is the absurd result of the FCC's unpredictable ruling on what is and isn't decent on broadcast television. ... It's a little surprising that Fox would be so ultra-cautious, and it is hard for me to believe that the FCC could sustain a decency fine for these particular words."
WALL STREET JOURNAL TO AIR OVERSEAS
Although the Wall Street Journal's exclusive deal with CNBC limits News Corp's ability to exploit its newest aquisition on its upcoming Fox Business Network, there are numerous other ways that the WSJ's parent, Dow Jones, could provide content for News Corp's other enterprises, company chairman Rupert Murdoch said Monday. "How much more influential will Dow Jones content become, for example, if it is linked directly to our television networks in India, Europe and elsewhere in the world?" Murdoch said at a New York investor's conference.
ELVIS SPECIAL TO BE HOSTED BY FORMER NEWS ANCHOR VARGAS
One of the oddest exhibitions of "infotainment" ever broadcast is due to air tonight as a two-hour ABC-TV special, Elvis: Viva Las Vegas, emceed by 20/20 co-host and former ABC World News anchor Elizabeth Vargas. (The show received a lengthy promo last Friday, delivered by Vargas's colleague, John Stossel.) The special includes never-before-broadcast concert performances by Presley, performances of Presley tunes by such singers as Paul McCartney, Chris Isaak, Brandi Carlile, Joe Perry, and Toby Keith. It also includes interviews with other pop stars about how Presley may have influenced their careers.
MATCH GAME PANELIST SOMERS DEAD AT 83
Brett Somers, best known as the quippy panelist on Match Game in the 1970s -- it still airs on GSN, the former Game Show Network -- died Saturday of cancer at her home in Westport, CT at age 83. She also appeared frequently on The Odd Couple, playing Jack Klugman's ex-wife. In fact, she married Klugman in 1953, and although they separated 20 years later, they never divorced.