After two years of record-low ratings, the Primetime Emmy Awards roared back with 13.3 million viewers Sunday night. But the awards show was nevertheless trounced by NBC's Sunday Night Football (New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys), which averaged 21.67 million viewers. Indeed 18 million was recorded for CBS's own football overrun at 7:00 p.m. The awards telecast averaged over 14 million viewers for its first two hours but dropped to about 11 million in its final hour -- a surprise given the fact that the major trophies are handed out in that hour.


Once again AMC's Mad Menand NBC's 30 Rocktook the top series awards at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sunday night. Glenn Close again won the best actress Emmy in the drama series division for her role in Damages, while Bryan Cranston repeated in the best actor category for Breaking Bad.In the sitcom area, the top acting awards went to Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock and Tony Collette of United States of Tara. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won its seventh consecutive Emmy for best variety, music or comedy series. Once again, television's top rated American Idolwas passed over as the Emmy award for outstanding reality-competition went to The Amazing Race.


Critics have heaped praised on Neil Patrick Harris for his turn as master of ceremonies of Sunday night's Primetime Emmy Awards. Robert Bianco in USA Todaygushed "If Sunday night's CBS Emmy broadcast was the best in years _ and it surely was _ much of the credit goes to Harris, the show's dapper, constantly congenial host. Proving his Tony Awards stint was more than a flash-in-the-reward-show-host pan, Harris rescued the show from two years of reality-host miasma with style, grace and musical flair." The Washington Post's Tom Shalessaid that Harris performed his duties "engagingly." On the show itself Jon Stewart told Harris, "You're doing a great job," and noted that he had attended quite a few Emmy shows. (He picked up his seventh Emmy Sunday night.)

COURIC TO LAUNCH INTERVIEW SHOW -- ONLINE plans to launch a weekly one-hour interview program hosted by Katie Couric beginning Tuesday, the New York Timesreported today (Monday). The program, titled @katiecouric, is aimed at highlighting Couric's strengths as an interviewer and will feature Fox News's Glenn Beck in the inaugural program. "I still love to talk with people and interact and try to peel the layers of the onion back," she said. "I think the interview show will really satisfy that side of me," Couric told the Times, adding that she "even got the sponsor," Dove, the skin-care company. She explained that she met an executive of the company at a gala and put the person in touch with CBS sales execs. Andrew Tyndall, who analyzes TV newscasts for his The Tyndall Report, said that the webcast would allow Couric to "carve herself the niche of being the leading online video interviewer of newsmakers." Couric also indicated that there are plans afoot to alter the content of The CBS Evening News. She said that she wants to include more upbeat stories "since the news can be so depressing now."


The major broadcast networks and cable news channels CNN and MSNBC were up in arms over the weekend after Fox News Channel purchased ads in the Washington Post,the Wall Street Journal,and the New York Post showing a photo of the anti-administration protest the previous weekend and asking "How did ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN miss this story?" The ad concluded, "We cover all the news." Each of the news outlets cited in the ad insisted that they had each devoted considerable coverage to the protest. ABC News spokesman Jeff Schneider fired off a blistering letter to the Washington Post, accusing the newspaper of exercising "zero due diligence" in assessing the ad and said that it tarnished "the reputation of five other news organizations." The other two newspapers that ran the ad are both owned by News Corp, which also owns Fox News. A spokesman for the Washington Postsaid that the newspaper "will not reject an advertisement based on its content or sponsor, unless the ad is illegal, false, advocates illegal actions, or is not in keeping with standards of taste." CNN said that it had more than a dozen personnel and multiple camera crews covering the event. CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair also said that the network had multiple crews covering the protest. "It was the lead story on the CBS Evening News," she observed. Lauren Kapp of NBC also noted that the protest was the lead story on NBC Nightly News and was covered he next day on the Todayshow. Fox News did not back off. The cable network's marketing chief, Michael Tammero, said, "The networks either ignored the story, marginalized it or misrepresented the significance of it altogether."