- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Baseball blues

Baseball fans can cheer all they want about a World Series without the Red Sox or Yankees, but Fox officials aren’t joining in the revelry.

The Chicago White Sox’s championship drought is longer than the one ended by Boston last year, but the team’s quest has far less appeal to the casual TV viewer, according to the latest Nielsen ratings.

The opening game of the White Sox-Astros World Series didn’t even crack the Nielsen top 10 last week, and Game 2 got beat by ABC’s Sunday lineup, Associated Press reports.

The two games were seen by 15 million and 17.2 million respectively, compared to 23.2 million and 25.5 million for the opening games of the Boston-St. Louis series last year, Nielsen said.

Fox also prospered last year with the Red Sox-Yankees American League Championship Series, making the difference between the two years even more stunning. Fox’s prime-time average viewership for the comparable week last year was 22 million — double its closest rival — while this year, Fox barely made second place with 10.6 million viewers.

CBS continued its unbeaten streak for the season, finishing the week with an average of 13.1 million viewers (8.6 rating, 14 share) and also winning among viewers aged 18 to 49. Fox had 10.6 million (6.9, 11), ABC 10.5 million (6.8, 11), NBC 9.3 million (6.3, 10), the WB 3.7 million (2.4, 4), UPN 3.5 million (2.3, 4) and Pax TV 530,000 (0.4, 1).

A ratings point represents 1.102 million households, or 1 percent of the nation’s estimated 110.2 million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

For the week of Oct. 17 through 23, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 28.5 million; “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 25.2 million; “Lost,” ABC, 21.4 million; “Without a Trace,” CBS, 19.8 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 18 million.

No news for Sawyer

ABC still doesn’t know who will replace the late Peter Jennings at “World News Tonight,” but the network is sure it won’t be Diane Sawyer.

ABC said so this week in response to a report in Broadcasting & Cable magazine that “insiders at the network are buzzing over Diane Sawyer’s apparent interest in the blue-chip slot,” Associated Press reports.

However, after speaking to both Miss Sawyer and ABC News President David Westin, Mr. Westin’s spokesman, Jeffrey Schneider, said Miss Sawyer was not a candidate for the evening anchor job.

Miss Sawyer probably will be doing more prime-time documentaries, but she will remain at ABC’s “Good Morning America,” he said.

“World News Tonight” fill-in anchors Charles Gibson, Elizabeth Vargas and Bob Woodruff have been mentioned as candidates for the full-time job.

Mr. Schneider said ABC doesn’t have a timetable for naming a permanent anchor for the daily news show.

Game on

Video games have been going Hollywood ever since Bob Hoskins dressed up like a Mario brother back in 1993, but so far, it’s strictly been a big-screen affair.

Fox is hoping to broaden the trend with a new show based on THQ’s best-selling sci-fi video game, Destroy All Humans.

The network has acquired the rights to turn the contest into a computer-animated comedy, marking the first time a video game would be used as the basis for a prime-time network television program, Reuters news agency reports.

Set in the 1950s, the third-person action game puts players into the bulbous gray head of Crypto 137, an alien that has landed on Earth and is intent on destroying it. The game takes a comic approach and spoofs ‘50s Hollywood B-movies.

“The goal is to make the show as good and as funny as the video game,” former “King of the Hill” writer and co-executive producer Jim Dauterive told Reuters.

“If we pull this off, people will be asking why haven’t we done this before,” he said.

Game developer Pandemic’s Australian studio created Destroy for THQ. More than 1 million units of the game have been shipped worldwide since it was introduced in June.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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