'24' loses to 'NYPD Blue' opener
On a night where two highly anticipated shows made their debut, Fox’s “24” and ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” audiences didn’t have much trouble making up their mind. “NYPD Blue” was the clear favorite, winning all four of its half-hours in households from 9-11 p.m., and all but the 9 p.m. half-hour among adults 18-49, which went to NBC’s “Frasier.” Fox’s “24” had a promising start at 9 p.m., with an adult 18-49 rating slightly higher than “NYPD Blue.” But ominously, the show dropped 7 percent in household rating and 11 percent in adult 18-49 rating across the hour. Fox still won the night among adults 18-49, thanks to a superb performance of “That '70’s Show” and a new Halloween episode of “The Simpsons” at 8 p.m. CBS squeaked by ABC in households for the night, winning by a preliminary four-tenths of a rating point, but tying in share. The preliminary Nielsen household rating and share and adult 18-49 rating for Tuesday night were: CBS 9.9/15 and 3.9, ABC 9.5/15 and 5.4, Fox 7.6/11 and 6.2, and NBC 6.8/11 and 4.2. On Monday, ABC held off CBS’s sitcoms to win households and adults 18-49 with “Monday Night Football.” “Everybody Loves Raymond” won the 9 p.m. half-hour in households and adults 18-49, and “Becker” won households at 9:30 p.m., but “MNF” took a commanding win in both audience categories at 10 p.m. Part two of NBC’s miniseries “Uprising” held onto 95 percent of its Sunday night household audience and 80 percent of its adult 18-49 audience to give NBC a third-place finish for the night. Meanwhile on Fox, its Monday night shows seem to have fallen out of favor. “Boston Public” dropped 14 percent of its household rating and 20 percent of its adult 18-49 rating from its debut last week. In a vast improvement from last week, “Ally McBeal” retained 92 percent of “Boston Public’s” household audience and built on its demographic lead-in by 2 percent, but neither “Boston Public” nor “Ally” was in contention to win its hour. The preliminary Nielsen household rating and share and adult 18-49 rating for Monday were: ABC 10.9/17 and 6.3, CBS 10.2/15 and 5.7, NBC 7.6/12 and 3.5, and Fox 7.3/11 and 5.1.

Baseball owners vote to eliminate two teams
It's baseball meets "Survivor": The owners of the 30 teams that make up Major League Baseball have voted to eliminate two franchises by the start of next season. Commissioner Bud Selig, longtime owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, has been urging his colleagues to make the sacrifice, pointing out that the league is set to lose $500 million this year, thanks largely to low ticket sales by the weakest franchises. The Montreal Expos, who averaged fewer than 8,000 per game in attendance this year, will almost certainly be one of the teams to get cut. Other likely candidates are thought to include the Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals, Anaheim Angels, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Opposing the plan will be the powerful players’ union and cities that have been clamoring for their own MLB franchises, such as Washington, D.C.

George Clooney feuds with FNC's O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly has ticked off plenty of people before, but this time the conservative talk show host has outdone himself, sparking the ire of none other than Batman. Actor George Clooney, who has taken a turn as the Caped Crusader but is better known from his role on "ER," is feuding with O'Reilly after the latter said on his show that participants in the Sept. 21 megatelethon don't know and don't care what happens to the money they raised. Of the $266 million pledged during the pan-network fundraiser, only about 20 percent will ever reach families affected by the events of Sept. 11, claims O'Reilly. Speaking on his Fox News Channel show, O’Reilly called the stars who performed on the telethon "phonies, much more interested in their own images than solving any social problems." In a letter sent to O'Reilly and forwarded to news agencies yesterday, Clooney calls the allegations "nothing short of a lie." The United Way, he says, is simply taking its time allocating the money to ensure that none of it is misdirected. "If you were a journalist you would have known that," writes Clooney. O'Reilly claims he isn't fazed by the testy response. "George Clooney can take his letter and you know what with it," he told the New York Post. "The facts we've aired are rock solid."

Cigarette maker asks FCC to block dog pee spot
Like a bit of dog pee with your after-dinner smoke? On the assumption that most people would answer "no," Greensboro, N.C.-based Lorillard Tobacco is putting pressure on the Federal Communications Commission to block the broadcast of an ad designed to alert consumers to some of the more unsavory additives used in cigarettes. The spot takes the form of an anonymous call by a teenager to an unsuspecting Lorillard employee. The caller, who claims to be a professional dog walker, offers to sell the company "quality dog urine," noting that urea, the main component of urine, is also found in cigarettes. Lorillard says that the commercial, produced by the American Legacy Foundation for TV and radio, violates an FCC rule prohibiting the broadcast of conversations taped without the knowledge of one of the participants. It also says that the ad falsely suggests that dog urine is used in making cigarettes.

Garth Brooks to do three sweeps specials for CBS
CBS has replaced the struggling "Wolf Lake" for sweeps with three one-hour concert specials starring country music icon Garth Brooks. Each "Garth Brooks: Coast to Coast," which will air on the consecutive Wednesdays of Nov. 14, 21 and 28, will tape from a different location. The first stop will be The Forum in Los Angeles; the second, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, which will be returning to its Norfolk, Va., base after a tour in the Middle East; and the third location will be announced closer to the air date, at which time guest stars for the performance will also be announced. The arrangement is seemingly a winner for both sides. The supernatural drama "Wolf Lake" has been more of a dog for CBS, as it has slipped each week in both its household and 18-49 ratings, doing even worse than last year's Wednesday night movie. Garth Brooks, meanwhile, will be releasing his new album "Scarecrow" on Nov. 13, the day before the first performance.

Philly dailies settle their suit against Metro
The tussle over newspaper circulation in Philadelphia is over. The publishers of The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, The New York Times and USA Today have settled their lawsuit with the upstart publication Metro. The big papers became rankled in January of last year when the 25-page, graphics-heavy Metro arranged an exclusive deal with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to have its paper distributed in bus and subway stations, locations off-limits to the established players. In return SEPTA received a slice of the ad revenue and a page with which to make announcements to its customers. The new settlement will keep all papers on equal footing in SEPTA locations, except for buses, for 18 months. After 90 days, SEPTA must let all the papers know whether it has coordinated another distribution deal. Metro came to Philly after successfully launching in 13 European cities, where a large slice of population uses public transportation.

November 7, 2001 © 2001 Media Life

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