SPANISH-LANGUAGE DRAMA BEATS ENGLISH RIVALS

Spanish-language Univision boasted Monday that Friday's two-hour finale of its "novela" Al Diablo con los Guapos was the highest-rated program on the air among the key demographic groups, adults 18-34 and adults 18-49. In addition, it was the No. 1 program in overall households in Los Angeles, Dallas and San Antonio. In New York, the telecast attracted more viewers 18-34 than the combined audiences of all the other network outlets. Univision said that on Thursday it also beat all the other networks in the 18-34 demo with a combination of Guapos and Latin Grammy Celebra José José, a tribute to one of Mexico's leading pop singers who has long struggled with alcoholism.

LAWYER: EX-CBS NEWS PRESIDENT SUPPORTED RATHER IN LAWSUIT

Dan Rather received the "support" of former CBS News President Andrew Heyward during a deposition taken by Rather's attorneys in his lawsuit against CBS, Rather's attorney, Jim Quinn, said Monday. Quinn's comments came after a New York judge tossed out two claims in Rather's breach-of-contract lawsuit but let stand two others. Speaking with reporters following the decision, Quinn said that he had taken the depositions of eight persons connected with the anchorman's report about President Bush's National Guard service on 60 Minutes II and his subsequent dismissal as the network's anchorman. Among the eight, he indicated, were Heyward and 60 Minutes II executive producer Jeff Fager. "They both support us," Quinn said. The degree of support was not indicated. Rather has previously accused Heyward of treachery in his handling of the so-called Memogate scandal. In an interview last year with New York magazine, he claimed that Heyward "coerced" his apology for the report and named him as a defendant. In April, however, claims against all individual defendants, including Heyward, CBS Chairman Les Moonves and Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone were dismissed.

GE TO MERGE TV/INTERNET IN ONE UNIT

GE announced today (Tuesday) that it plans to produce (with Taiwan's Tatung) and market a new type of high-definition television set that will allow users to access the Internet over a broadband connection without a computer. In addition it said that it plans to develop content with NBC Universal that will allow "Internet engagement" that will appeal to viewers. In a statement the company said that viewers will be able to watch high-definition video featured on websites and access interactive content. Darren Feher, who oversees NBC's technology division, said that the aid is to produce a "cutting edge product that responds to consumer desire for a seamless union" of television and the Internet.

DID ABC ENGAGE IN CHECKBOOK JOURNALISM?

A witness in the current O.J. Simpson trial in Las Vegas testified that he received $15,000 from ABC News for an interview under the pretense that the network was buying photographs. The testimony by Thomas Riccio, the middleman who allegedly set up the meeting between Simpson and the men who were selling Simpson memorabilia at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas, raised new ethics questions concerning the network's involvement in so-called checkbook journalism. However, the payment from ABC News was regarded as small potatoes compared with the $150,000 that Riccio said he was paid by the celebrity website TMZ. He said he also got $20,000 from an advertiser on Howard Stern's radio show and another $25,000 from the syndicated Entertainment Tonight, which is owned by CBS.

BUY THE PLAYER, GET THE PLANET

Discovery Communications and Sony Electronics are planning a co-promotion under which consumers who purchase Sony Blu-ray Disc players this fall will receive coupons redeemable for a Blu-ray Disc sampler featuring episodes from Discovery's Fearless Planet and Sunrise Earth. In a statement, Chris Fawcett, head of marketing for Sony's home video unit, said, "Discovery's high-quality programs are a tailor-made showcase for Blu-ray Disc and a great first experience for a consumer new to the format."