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TV notes: Season openers give CBS, NBC the edge

Opening week of the television season was a split decision for the four biggest broadcast networks: CBS and NBC saw a viewership increase while ABC and Fox saw a decrease.

CBS was the week’s most popular network with a 6 percent rise over last season’s opening week. The “Hawaii Five-0” remake, seen by 14.2 million people, was the most-watched new series.

NBC’s viewership was up 8 percent over last year, while ABC was down 13 percent and Fox down 12 percent, Nielsen said. The four networks overall lost a million viewers from last year, a 3 percent change.

“The Event” accounted for much of NBC’s improvement. The new thriller’s Monday night audience of 10.9 million nearly doubled what the network had in the time slot with “Heroes” last season.

So long, ‘Lone Star’

Fox’s new prime-time soap “Lone Star” is the first casualty of the new season, being pulled off the air after just two airings.

Replacing the little-watched new show is the psychological crime drama, “Lie to Me,” which begins its third season Monday at 9 p.m.

Although Fox didn’t officially cancel “Lone Star,” its fate seemed sealed after Monday’s episode, whose audience was even smaller than the 4.1 million viewers who had watched its premiere a week earlier.

Spike from Spears

Britney Spears provided a big boost for Fox’s hit musical “Glee.”

Tuesday’s episode, which featured the pop star in some dream-sequence cameos, drew an estimated 13.5 million viewers.

That’s the second most-watched episode of the show ever, behind last spring’s return from a hiatus.

GLAAD tidings

The number of gay and bisexual characters on scripted broadcast network TV has risen slightly this season to 23 out of a total of nearly 600 roles, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The 15th annual “Where We Are on TV” report released Wednesday found that 3.9 percent of actors appearing regularly on prime-time network drama and comedy series in the 2010-’11 season will portray gay, lesbian or bisexual characters. That’s up from 3 percent in the 2009-10 season.

While the number of broadcast drama series featuring regular or recurring gay characters is unchanged from last year, the number of comedy series has increased from eight to 11, including new comedies “Running Wilde” (Fox), “Hellcats” (CW), “$#*! My Dad Says” (CBS) and upcoming midseason show “Happy Endings” (ABC).

Only six of the 23 gay and lesbian characters this season are nonwhite, GLAAD found.

ABC led the networks in gay representation, with 7.2 percent (11 regular characters out of a total of 152), followed by Fox with 5 percent (five out of 100).

Speaking volumes

Legislation to turn down the volume on those loud TV commercials that send couch potatoes diving for their remote controls looks like it’ll soon become law.

The Senate unanimously passed a bill late Wednesday to require television stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as the programs they interrupt.

The House has passed similar legislation. Before it can become law, minor differences between the two versions have to be worked out when Congress returns to Washington after the Nov. 2 election.

Ever since television caught on in the 1950s, the Federal Communication Commission has been getting complaints about blaring commercials. But the FCC concluded in 1984 there was no fair way to write regulations.



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