SO LONG, SUMMER

Although a few early premieres punctuated the period, last week nevertheless was officially regarded as the last week of the summer season -- and looked it. Most shows continued to draw relatively tiny audiences, and no new series broke into the top ten. NBC's Sunday Night Football, this week featuring the Dallas Cowboys against the Chicago Bears, continued to lead the Nielsen ratings list (13.3 million viewers), followed by CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which usually leads when the football season ends in January. Fox also got a boost on Sunday from an overrun of its NFL game in the 7:00 p.m. hour. But college football on Saturday night drew only 4.9 million viewers for ABC. CBS was the overall household winner for the week with a 5.8 rating and a 10 share. NBC placed second with a 5.0/8. Fox took the third spot with a 4.7/8, while ABC trailed with a 3.8/7.

The top ten shows of the week according to Nielsen Research:

1. Sunday Night Football, NBC, 11.8/19; 2. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, 9.1/15; 3. Survivor: China, CBS, 9.0/15; 4. Sunday Night NFL Pregame, NBC, 8.7/15; 5. Cold Case, CBS, 8.2/12; 6. 60 Minutes, CBS, 7.6/13; 6. Shark, CBS, 7.6/13; 6. Without a Trace, CBS, 7.6/13; 9. Deal or No Deal (Monday), NBC, 7.5/12; 10. Two and a Half Men, CBS, 6.9/11.

TIGHT RATINGS RACE ON TUESDAY

Fox and ABC duked it out Tuesday night, with Fox's House scoring a 10.7 rating and a 16 share in its season premiere at 9:00 p.m. It also drew the largest number of 18-49-year-old viewers for the night. But ABC's 90-minute Dancing With the Stars registered an 11.8/18 at 8:00 p.m. and peaked in its final half-hour at 9:00 p.m. with 13.0/19. Also at 9:00, the series debut of the critically praised Reaper (it received by far the best reviews of any new series of the season) on The CW only managed to score a 2.1/3.

FOX NEWS TO EMPHASIZE VIDEO ON ITS WEBSITE

The Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network plan to emphasize video on their websites beginning October 15 when they begin employing Maven Networks technology, Broadcasting & Cable reported today (Wednesday). In an interview with the trade publication, Maven CEO Hilmi Ozguc said, "If you go to FOXNews.com, it is mostly text and pictures and some video. In the future, my expectation is that you will see something that is more like interactive TV -- very, very video-centric. Obviously there will be text articles and pictures and so forth, but video will be front and center." Unlike previous online video delivery systems that limit the number of video streams that can be served up on the Web, the Maven system is "designed for millions of video assets, millions of video transactions happening simultaneously," Ozguc said. Jeff Misenti, head of Fox News Digital, said that the Maven technology puts Fox news "on the cutting edge of innovation in Internet-video syndication."

FCC CRACKS DOWN ON VIDEO NEWS RELEASES ON CABLE

The Federal Communications Commission, which rarely monitors the content of cable TV shows, indicated Tuesday that it might fine Comcast $4,000 for airing a video news release without disclosing who had provided it. The video in question was included in Comcast's CN8 newscast, seen in 20 markets; it touted the benefits of an herbal tonic sold under the name of Nelson's Rescue Sleep, which, according to the video, were more effective than sleeping pills. Sena Fitzmaurice, a spokeswoman for Comcast, responded, "The relevant statute does not cover cable programming, and even if it did, CN8's programming was entirely consistent with the statute."

BRITISH REGULATOR FINES NETWORK $4 MILLION

The British TV regulator OFCOM has fined the "breakfast network" GMTV $4 million for staging phony telephone contests between August 2003 and February 2007. It was the biggest fine ever imposed on a British broadcasting network. Revelations of the fraud resulted in the firing of the network's managing director, Paul Corley, and its competitions supervisor, Kate Fleming.

Brian B.