FOR ABC'S REVIVAL, IT TAKES PRACTICE
ABC's Practice Practice and NBC's Bionic Woman got off to promising starts Wednesday night, with Practice easily becoming the most-watched series premier so far this season. Of course, its 9.7 rating and 15 share owed a lot to its lead-in -- the results episode of ABC's Dancing With the Stars, which drew an 11.1/18 and was the highest-rated show of the night overall. In the same hour, the debut of Bionic Woman ranked second in overall households with an 8.4/13, but it captured the crown in the 18-49 demo, not only in the hour but for the entire night. At 10:00 p.m., CBS took the lead, scoring an 8.1/13 for the season premiere of CSI: NY.
NBC, TELEMUNDO TO YANK JUNK-FOOD ADS FROM KIDS SHOWS
NBC and its Spanish-language sibling Telemundo vowed on Wednesday to decline ads for "unhealthy" food and beverages not only on their respective networks but also on their 26 owned-and-operated stations during the blocks of educational kids-TV programs that they air on Saturday mornings. The ban will not go into effect until next June, giving the networks what they said was a reasonable time to determine which ads for foods will make the cut. The networks appeared to be taking preemptive action against a proposed FCC rule that would bar ads for snack foods from shows that qualify as "educational." All TV stations are required to air at least three hours of such programming each week. The action was hailed by Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, chairman of the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee, who said in a statement, "I commend NBC and Telemundo for being the first media companies to take this next step to protect children from unhealthy junk food ads." He encouraged the other networks to "follow NBC and Telemundo's lead in ... combating the childhood obesity epidemic."
JUSTICE DEPT. TO TAKE "FLEETING EXPLETIVE" CASE TO SUPREME COURT
The Justice Department will seek a Supreme Court decision on whether the FCC has the power to ban fleeting expletives on television and radio. A three-judge federal appeals court ruled in June that the FCC ban was executed arbitrarily and capriciously. In a statement on Wednesday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said, "I am pleased that the solicitor general will be seeking Supreme Court review of the Second Circuit's decision. ... I continue to support the commission's efforts to protect families from indecent language on television and radio when children are likely to be in the audience." In reporting the development, the Associated Press observed on Wednesday that "if the high court decides to hear the case, it will be its first review of broadcast speech in three decades."
DID GOVERNMENT TRY TO BLOCK ABU GHRAIB REPORT?
When he learned that CBS was planning to broadcast photographs documenting charges of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in 2004, America's top military officer personally attempted to prevent the story from airing, according to commentator and former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal. Writing in Salon magazine, for which he is a regular contributor, Blumenthal, who cited sources close to the case, said that Joint Chief of Staffs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers phoned CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather at his home and informed him that broadcasting the story would endanger national security by demoralizing U.S. troops serving in Iraq. In fact, according to Blumenthal, the story was held up by CBS News executives until they learned that investigative reporter Seymour Hersh was planning to scoop the network with it in The New Yorker. Blumenthal further points out that in Dan Rather's recently filed lawsuit against CBS, he alleges that even after the network permitted the Abu Ghraib story to air on 60 Minutes, it "imposed the unusual restrictions that the story would be aired only once, that it would not be preceded by on-air promotion, and that it would not be referenced on the CBS Evening News."
NEW NBC SHOWS SHOW UP AT ITUNES STORE
Despite Apple's recent announcement that it would not offer any new NBC fall programs for downloading at its iTunes store, the store is currently offering Chuck and Journeyman, which debuted this past week. News of the availability of the shows popped up on several blogs Wednesday. While individual episodes cost $1.99, a full-season pass -- usually about 24 episodes -- is being offered for $39.99. That would cover a period well beyond the December 31 deadline when NBC itself has said it will pull all of its shows from the iTunes store.