FOOTBALL THROWS IN TOWEL TO HOUSEWIVES

Even football proved to be no match for Desperate Housewives as the ABC drama made its season debut with the highest ratings of any show Sunday night, scoring a 15.8 rating and a 23 share. Nevertheless, the figures were considerably below the 19.1/26 registered by the season opener of Housewives last year. Last year, however, the show did not have to face the double-barreled competition that it took on this time around. Sunday Night Football on NBC (Denver vs. New England) averaged a 10.6/16 from 8:15-11:30 p.m. And CBS's Cold Case was just a notch behind with a 10.5/15. At 10:00 p.m. the season premiere of CBS's Without a Trace scored an impressive 11.9/19, barely edging out ABC's series premiere of Brothers & Sisters, which recorded an 11.0/17. Meanwhile, ABC's gamble in moving Grey's Anatomy to Thursday paid off in spades last week as the season premiere beat CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation -- the usual top-rated show not only on Thursday nights but also for the entire week, and indeed the entire season. Daily Variety called it a "monster bow," one that put ABC ahead in the adults 18-49 demographic category on Thursday night for the first time since at least 1991, according to the trade publication. (CBS remained ahead in overall household ratings for the night.)

CLINTON GOES FOX HUNTING

Former President Bill Clinton lashed out at Fox News Channel, its reporter Chris Wallace, and the miniseries The Path to 9/11 Sunday. Asked by Wallace, "Do you think you did enough, sir [to respond to terrorist threats]?" Clinton at first answered, "No, because I didn't get him" -- to which Wallace remarked, "Right." That seemed to set off Clinton, who continued: "But at least I tried ... So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted [under Bush]. So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me." A moment later, he continued: "I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill [Osama Bin Laden]. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we'd have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now, I've never criticized President Bush, and I don't think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan [where Bin Laden is believed to be holed up] is only one-seventh as important as Iraq. ... And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could." Later Wallace told Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post that he was surprised by Clinton's response."I thought it was a fair, balanced and not especially inflammatory question," Wallace said. The TVNewser website reported Sunday that Fox had been posting its "trademark questions," including one that asked: "Clinton's outburst: Real anger, or coolly calculated?"

THE F-WORD ON FOX?

Details of how it occurred were not available this morning (Monday), but somehow the use of the F-word during Sunday night's broadcast of The Family Guy got on the air in at least some markets. In other areas it was bleeped. The unedited version of the scene, however, was quickly posted on YouTube.com by a viewer who comment, "The F-bomb was heard plain as day." Another predicted that someone at the network is going to be "in some deep schtick."

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.