LENO'S NUMBERS PLUMMET

NBC, which had much to cheer about last week as more than 18 million viewers tuned in for the debut of the Jay Leno Show, must have been stunned after getting word today that ratings for the show had disintegrated after just a week. Monday's episode attracted just 5.67 million viewers, about what he was drawing when Leno hosted the Tonight show. Even more worrying, perhaps, was the sickly performance of a two-hour season debut of Heroes, which preceded the Leno show. It drew a fourth-place 6.02 million viewers. A year ago, the season premiere of Heroes attracted 10.09 million viewers. ABC's Dancing With the Stars was the big winner Monday night as it kicked off the season with a two-hour episode that landed 17.53 million viewers. Fox's House was close behind with 16.50 million viewers.

ABC TO SHOWCASE NEW SHOWS WITH FEWER COMMERCIALS

With the most new shows of any network being introduced this season, ABC has decided to cut the opening commercial "pod" and extend the content on such series as Cougar Town, The Middle, FlashForward and Eastwick, The Los Angeles Times reported today (Tuesday). The newspaper described the strategy as "a big risk" and quoted ABC Entertainment's Jeff Bader as explaining: "You hope the longer you keep them at the start of the show, the more likely they are to stick to it." About three minutes of ad time will be cut from the half-hour sitcoms and about five minutes from the hour-long dramas, the Times said.

JUDGE SAYS RATHER CAN DEPOSE REDSTONE

A New York judge has ruled that Dan Rather's attorneys can obtain a deposition from Sumner Redstone, whose Viacom company presided over CBS at the time Rather was ousted as anchor of the CBS Evening News. Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman appeared impatient with the slow pace of trial preliminaries, which began more than two years ago. "Let's get this case moving," Gammerman said at one point. Rather attorney Martin Gold later told reporters, "It was definitely a positive day for us." But James Quinn, who represents CBS, said that he remains confident that the case will be thrown out before it ever comes to trial.

FOX NEWS APOLOGIZES FOR PRODUCER WHO WHIPPED UP PROTESTERS

Fox News has apologized after a video was posted on TheHuffingtonReport showing one of its producers acting as a cheerleader during last weekend's anti-Obama protest in Washington. The producer, identified as Heiki Noonan, was apparently attempting to rouse the crowd behind Fox news reporter Griff Jenkins as he delivered a "stand up" commentary. Bryan Boughton, Fox News Channel Washington Bureau Chief. told the Huffington Post, "The employee is a young, relatively inexperienced associate producer who realizes she made a mistake and has been disciplined,"

EX-CHILD STAR CAMERON CHALLENGED BY ROMANIAN WOMAN ON YOUTUBE

Efforts on YouTube by actor-turned-evangelist Kirk Cameron to promote a give-away on university campuses of 50,000 copies of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, which includes a 50-page creationist rebuttal, appear to have backfired as a video by a young Romanian woman assailing Cameron's has gone viral. As of this morning, the video by the woman (who calls herself ZOMGitsCriss) had been viewed by nearly 160,000 YouTube visitors. It can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmHN3JtyUXg&feature=player_embedded.

GETTY'S EMMY STILL LISTED ON EBAY

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has so far been unsuccessful in its efforts to have the Emmy that Estelle Getty won in 1988 for Golden Girls removed from eBay. The trophy, awarded for best supporting actress in a comedy series, was reportedly put up for sale by a merchant specializing in fine art. The initial asking price was $15,000, but as of this morning (Tuesday), there had been no bids. "This extremely rare item is being offered for this week only, it will not be relisted," the eBay blurb reads. The listing expires on Wednesday. The Academy said Monday that, like its movie counterpart, it only "loans" the trophy to recipients, who may keep it forever, but if they or their heirs wish to part with it, they must return it to the Academy.

HOW DID THE PRESIDENT OF THE U.S. END UP ON A LATE-NIGHT SHOW?

President Obama told David Letterman Monday night that it was a bit "unexpected" when he noticed on his schedule that he would be making an appearance on Letterman's Late Night show. "But that's one of those where you ask your advisers, 'Who's responsible for this?' And everyone kind of looks down and they pull out their BlackBerries," he said, adding, "Nobody's accountable."

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