LAW & ORDER CREATOR "SAD" OVER LOSS OF NBC'S 10:00 DRAMAS
The creator of Law & Order has voiced his displeasure with NBC's decision to replace scripted programming in the 10:00 p.m. time period with the Jay Leno Show. In an interview in New York, where Law & Order is in production on its 20th season (tying it with Gunsmoke as the longest-running primetime drama in history), Dick Wolf told the Los Angeles Times: "I understand the economic thinking behind it, but it is sad." Wolf, however, voiced confidence that Law & Order will perform well in its new time period at 8:00 p.m. on Fridays. "It's been on cable in every time slot literally [from] 3 in the morning to 8 at night," he said. "I would prefer to have it on a 10 o'clock because I think that's when people [watch original programming]. But that's over for now, anyway." Wolf may actually have good reason to be concerned, however, following Wednesday night's results for spin-off Law & Order: SVU. Its season debut at 9:00 p.m. drew a third-place 8.7 million viewers, its weakest season debut to date.
WHITE HOUSE RETALIATES AGAINST CNN MORNING SHOW
The White House reportedly canceled an appearance of a senior adviser on CNN's American Morning after it learned that Christopher Andersen, the author of Barack and Michelle: Portrait of an American Marriage had been booked on the show, according to the website TVNewser.com. It was not clear whether the adviser, who was unnamed, had been scheduled to appear on the same program as Andersen or on a different edition. The website quoted Kiran Chetry, who conducted the interview with Anderson on Wednesday, as saying, "We reached out to the White House for a response to the book. They declined comment and made it known that they weren't happy. In fact, they pulled an interview they had with a senior adviser once they learned you were on the show."
CBS HAS BEST PREMIERE-WEEK TUESDAY RATINGS SINCE 1993
CBS boasted Wednesday that it garnered the biggest premiere-week Tuesday audience since 1993, with the season premiere (its seventh) of NCIS producing the series's highest ratings ever -- 20 million viewers. The strong primetime lead-in redounded to the benefit of the network's late-night programming as well, with the Late Show with David Letterman topping NBC's the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien in both total viewers and adults 18-49 and adults 25-54, the two key demographic groups. Late Late Show also topped NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with the biggest audience during premiere week since Craig Ferguson took over as host in 2005.
WAS COURIC AT BECK'S BECK AND CALL?
Katie Couric was able to land Glenn Beck as her first guest for her online interview series @katiecouric on Tuesday because they share the same publicist, Time magazine indicated on its website Wednesday. Beck, who ordinarily keeps the "mainstream media" at arms length -- and has persistently accused it of liberal bias -- commented during the interview that "John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama" and that he would have preferred Hillary Clinton over both of them. Other than that, the interview produced little fireworks. One TV critic, Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times, said that he was "amazed" that Couric failed to ask Beck follow-up questions -- and listed a number that he said ought to have been asked. She barely laid "a glove on him," Deggans suggested, adding, "Considering how rarely Beck talks to journalists, it was disappointing to see Couric prepared with so little specific information on what he actually does on his shows or why critics are concerned about his words." Time's revelation that the two share the same publicist would appear to underscore Deggans's perceptions and raise conflict-of-interest questions about the tractable nature of Couric's interview.
CBS: BANKRUPTCY REPORT "ABSURD"
CBS has responded angrily to a study placing it in eighth place among major corporation at risk of bankruptcy in the next year. In a statement on Tuesday, the company said that the study, by Audit Integrity, "is absurd, with no basis in either fact or reason." It accused the study's leaders of using "out-of-date data and a host of invalid assumptions" in reaching its "flawed pseudo-analysis."
JAY AND DAVE CONTINUE TO BATTLE OVER GUESTS
They may no longer be on the air opposite one another but the competition for A-list guests between David Letterman and Jay Leno is growing more intense, Chicago Sun-Times TV columnist Bill Zwecker reported today (Thursday), citing an unnamed member of Leno's inner circle. According to the source, bookers for each show are "talking tougher to publicists than I've ever heard," in order to land exclusive interviews with top celebrities. "It's brutal," he added. The pressure is particularly acute for Leno's bookers, the source noted. "Since Jay now usually only has one or maybe two big stars on each night -- they have to be really big, or viewers won't stick around." Meanwhile, publicists for the stars suggest that they feel caught up in a squeeze play. "Obviously, we have to do all we can to keep all the shows happy," one of them told Zwecker, "not easy these days."