- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Fox suit scolds host

Fox News Channel Chairman and Chief Executive Office Roger Ailes responded to Keith Olbermann’s latest critical volley against Bill O’Reilly, saying the MSNBC host’s behavior “is over the line.”

Mr. Ailes, appearing Monday at the summer meeting of the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif., was referring to a weekend incident at the gathering in which Mr. Olbermann whipped out a mask of Mr. O’Reilly and gave a Nazi salute.

Mr. Ailes said Mr. Olbermann picks on Fox’s Mr. O’Reilly to boost his ratings. Mr. O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” is No. 1 in the cable TV news ratings. Mr. Olbermann, who hosts “Countdown” on MSNBC, generally runs third in the same time slot.

“Clearly, he has no viewers except those he gets when he attacks Fox News,” Mr. Ailes said. Of Saturday’s incident, he added, “I really think that’s over the line.”

During his “Countdown” show on MSNBC, Mr. Olbermann regularly tweaks Mr. O’Reilly and has named the Fox host his “Worst Person in the World” at least 15 times. The nightly “award” is Mr. Olbermann’s way of criticizing what he deems bad behavior.

Mr. O’Reilly has referred to Mr. Olbermann — although not by name — as a “notorious smear merchant” and pointed out the low ratings for “Countdown.”

Bad news for ABC

ABC viewers seem to be on a summer vacation.

The network finished a distant fourth last week in the broadcast ratings among all television viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Overall, CBS averaged 7.1 million viewers, NBC had 6.3 million and Fox had 5.8 million. Following were ABC with 4.7 million, UPN with 2.1 million, the WB with 1.8 million and the I network with 570,000.

For the week of July 17 though 23, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “CSI: Miami,” CBS, 11.18 million; “America’s Got Talent,” NBC, 9.92 million; “Miss Universe Pageant,” NBC, 9.65 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 9.64 million; and “So You Think You Can Dance” (Wednesday), Fox, 9.44 million.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports.

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