'Anne Frank' rises but still underwhelms
Despite earning a higher household rating for last night’s part two than it did for Sunday’s part one, ABC’s “Anne Frank” couldn’t help its network to a household win last night. Instead, CBS won both households and adults 18-49 on the strength of its “King of Queens” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” season finales. On Fox, “Ally McBeal” struggled in its season finale without Robert Downey Jr. The show’s ratings were down nearly 20 percent from last week’s episode that featured Downey’s final appearance. The preliminary Nielsen household rating and share and adult 18-49 rating for Monday night were: CBS 10.4/16 and 5.7, ABC 9.8/15 and 4.2, Fox 7.2/11 and 5.3, and NBC 7.1/11 and 4.9. On Sunday night, CBS’s “Like Mother, Like Son” won the battle of the TV movies, topping part one of ABC’s “Anne Frank” by four household shares and NBC’s “Submerged” by seven household shares. “Like Mother’s” ratings gave CBS a solid household win for the evening. In adults 18-49, Fox won every half-hour except for one, the 7 p.m. slot, when NBC’s NBA playoff game took the time period. “Anne Frank” was the highest-rated of the TV movies in the demographic, winning the 10 p.m. hour among adults 18-49. The preliminary Nielsen household rating and share and adult 18-49 rating for Sunday night were: CBS 10.4/17 and 3.7, ABC 8.2/14 and 3.8, Fox 7.1/12 and 6.3, and NBC 6.7/11 and 4.0.
Howell Raines to top editor of New York Times
A long-awaited succession has taken place at The New York Times, and sooner than expected. Howell Raines, editor of the editorial page since 1993 and a Timesman for over two decades, will follow Joseph Lelyveld as executive editor of the paper when he steps down later this year. Lelyveld, 64, who has held the top editorial job for seven years, will retire in September, a year-and-a-half ahead of his mandatory retirement date. He was thought to favor managing editor Bill Keller to succeed him, but Keller, at 52, is six years younger than Raines and on the young side to be a candidate for executive editor. Raines, a native of Birmingham, Ala., got his start reporting for newspapers in his home state and elsewhere in the South. He joined the Times in 1978 as a national correspondent, based in Atlanta, and has since served as London and Washington bureau chief and White House correspondent.
NBC and CBS: We've got sweeps nailed shut
As the May sweeps wind down, NBC is projecting a win for itself in the adults 18-49 demo, and CBS is preparing to don the total viewers' crown. By its own estimates, the peacock network will have earned a 5.0 rating and 14 share in adults 18-49 when the sweep ends Wednesday, putting it comfortably ahead of second-place Fox, which will likely post a 4.3 or 4.4. NBC’s 18-49 victory extends to the whole season, with the network boasting a probable 4.8 versus a 4.5 for Fox and a 4.4 for ABC. But Jeff Zucker & Co. have less to brag about in the total viewers' matchup. CBS is on top for May, with an average of 12.7 million viewers, and, just barely, for the season, averaging 12.53 million viewers to ABC’s 12.50 million through Sunday.
Babs on air: if ABC doesn't want me, others do
Last week, Barbara Walters publicly groused over ABC's decision to move "20/20" to Wednesdays in the fall for at least two months. This week, the popular and high-powered TV host is fending off overtures from ABC rivals who would be happy to sign her aboard, as she blithely informed her co-hosts on "The View" yesterday. "Can you believe I've already had other offers?" she asked them. Walters signed a five-year contract with ABC last September but apparently there's a window in it that would allow her to leave "20/20" if she wants to in December 2002. Though Walters made it clear she would not be leaving ABC even if she leaves "20/20," that didn't prevent her from dissing her home network to her on-air gossip circle. "So many of us felt that news is a public trust and should be respected as such, and the perception was that ABC doesn't care about news," she said, noting that while she understands ABC's decision in the context of its programming schedule, she was still disappointed at seeing "20/20" treated as just another puzzle piece to shuffle around. "We're not thrilled about being moved here and moved there, you know, but that's what the entertainment department decided," she said to her co-hosts. "Do I wish it hadn't happened? Yeah. But we'll be okay."
Supremes: Okay to air stolen tapes on radio
The United States Supreme Court ruled yesterday that two Pennsylvania radio stations cannot be prosecuted for airing an illegally taped phone conversation. In a decision that some say pitted free speech against privacy, six of the nine justices found that the stations were protected by the First Amendment when they broadcast a cellular phone conversation between two union officials that had been illegally intercepted in 1993. The call was taped during a particularly nasty dispute between the teachers' union and a Pennsylvania school district. In the course of the conversation, union president Anthony Kane threatened to "do some work on those guys" and "blow off their front porches" if the school district did not acquiesce to union demands. Kane and the union negotiator, who was on the other end of the phone line, used state and federal wiretapping laws to sue union opponent Jack Yocum, who gave the tape to the local media, along with DJ Fred Vopper and the two radio stations that aired the conversation. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion took pains not to establish a wide-ranging precedent, preserving enough ambiguity to virtually ensure future litigation, observers said.
Black: Lord, yes, I'll dump my Can. citizenship
Media giant Conrad Black says he will renounce his Canadian citizenship so that he can get his hands on the British peerage title he was offered in May of 1999. Black had been previously blocked from becoming a Lord by Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, who invoked an 80-year-old law called the Nickle Resolution that prevents a monarch from bestowing titles on Canadian subjects. Efforts to declare the action an abuse of power stalled in the courts, which argued that they were powerless to intervene. Black and his allies contend Chrétien was seeking vengeance for all the maltreatment he had received in the National Post, the London Telegraph and other papers owned by Black.
Mob hitman on HBO: I whacked a few, indeed
HBO's "The Iceman Confesses: Secrets of a Mafia Hit Man" delivered the goods on Sunday night as Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski admitted that he killed a police detective more than 20 years ago during an interview in which he described his life as a hit man for the Gambino crime family. Kuklinski, who is serving four life sentences in New Jersey State Prison, said he was paid to kill Detective Peter Calabro because the man was going to take the witness stand against the crime family. The Bergen County prosecutor's office on Sunday vowed that it will charge Kuklinski with Calabro's slaying. Kuklinski claims not to have known that the man was in fact a police officer, but he says it would not have made a difference anyway. Kuklinski estimates he killed more than 100 people for the Gambinos, with each hit earning him $1,600. He cites his abusive father as the reason for his turn toward hired killing. "I hated my father. If I could have, I probably would have killed him. I probably would have felt good about it, too," Kuklinski said. He picked up the nickname "Iceman" after it was found out he kept the corpse of one of his victims in a freezer for several months.
May 22, 2001 © 2001 Media Life