ABC HOT TO (FOX) TROT ON MONDAY
ABC waltzed away with a ratings victory on the first Monday of the new season, thanks to a strong performance by the season premiere of Dancing With the Stars. The 90-minute show recorded a 13.4 rating and a 21 share during its first hour at 8:00 p.m., peaking at 9:00 p.m. with a 13.7/21. But viewers deserted the network when a 90-minute version of The Bachelorcame on at 9:30 p.m. The first half-hour drew only a 7.2/11, then dropped to a 6.3/10 during the 10:00 p.m. hour. Meanwhile, the premiere of Chuckon NBC wound up in second place with a 6.0/9 at 8:00 p.m. At 10:00 p.m. the debut of NBC's time-traveling Journeymanregistered a 5.9/10, walloped by CBS's CSI: Miami,which opened the season with a 9.8/16.
THE WAR STARTS WITH A BOOM
Ken Burns's latest PBS documentary series The Wargot off to a solid start Sunday night, but it did not attract as many viewers who generally tune in to the opening of a Burns series. The premiere attracted 7.3 million viewers. Nielsen Research said that it averaged a 5.0 household rating and a 7 share, down from Burns's last documentary opener, Lewis & Clark, which averaged a 6.1 rating. It was well below Burns's critically hailed series about the Civil War, which averaged a 9.0 for the series opener in 1990. However, PBS pointed out that the telecast went up against Sunday Night Football on NBC and the opening of several new series on the other networks. Meanwhile, PBS said Monday that it plans to air censored versions only of the series on weekends. (Stations were originally given the option of airing either the original version, with some four-letter words uttered by soldiers appearing in it, or a version with the words bleeped or removed.) Asked by Broadcast & Cablewhy it would only air the censored version on weekends, PBS spokeswoman Lea Sloan replied, "Because conceivably, a four-year-old could watch it ... and it would be going right into the teeth of the FCC."
PBS TROUNCES NETWORKS AT NEWS EMMYS
Although they operate with but a fraction of the news budgets of the commercial broadcast networks, PBS and cable networks took the lion's share of awards at Monday's News & Documentary Emmys. PBS received 10 awards, including four for Frontlineand others for Nova, Nature, P.O.V., American Experienceand AIR: America's Investigative Reports --more than all the broadcast networks combined. CBS News was in second place with five awards, four of them for 60 Minutes, the other for a Lara Logan report from Iraq on the CBS Evening News. Ted Koppel's special, Iran: The Most Dangerous Nation, which aired on the Discovery Channel, received the award for the year's outstanding longform informational program. A documentary on Cinemax, God Sleeps in Rwanda and another on the Documentary Channel, Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire -- both dealing with the Rwanda genocide -- also were awarded Emmys. Besides being recognized for his work on Discovery, Koppel also picked up a lifetime achievement award.
TV -- FROM SATELLITE TO POOL DECK
EchoStar Communications, which operates the DISH home-satellite system, has acquired the company that makes the Slingbox, a device that allows users to watch whatever is on their home computer or digital video recorder from their laptop computers via the Internet. Sling Media will receive $380 million in cash and EchoStar options. In a statement, EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen said that the acquisition is part of a strategy that will eventually allow DISH subscribers to view their favorite programs remotely on TV sets, computers and mobile phones.
FORMER TV ANCHOR EXILED AFTER AFFAIR WITH L.A. MAYOR
If the former Los Angeles TV anchor who was having an affair with Mayor Antonio Villaregosa while at the same time reporting on the breakup of his marriage wants to continue her career and her relationship with Villaregosa, she's going to have a long commute. Telemundo, which suspended Mirthala Salinas after it learned of her affair with the mayor, has assigned her to general reporting duties in Riverside, 55 miles east of Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Times. She had been suspended for two months without pay.