Stateside

Imagine Liverpool Football Club in the Third Division - that's the kind of collapse suffered by CBS. When Fox TV became America's "fourth network", CBS led the ratings war. For the past four weeks CBS has been placed fourth behind Fox in prime time.

This was not supposed to happen - a saviour was meant to be at hand. As the autumn season began, New York was plastered with cast photos from Central Park West, a glossy new series starring Mariel Hemingway. The soap saga is set in a slick New York magazine not unlike Vanity Fair, with characters modelled on folk like John F Kennedy Junior. CPW has been on for three weeks and the ratings trend is clear - each week it finished fourth in its time slot, behind episodes on Fox of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210. CPW is produced by Darren Star, who devised Melrose and 90210. At a million dollars an episode it's a disaster for CBS - and it is committed to 22 episodes.

The CPW bomb has made the other networks nervous. In the US, programme ideas are like measles in a classroom - soon everybody has the same itch. There are now five different sitcoms set in the news business. One of the five is also on CBS and the dialogue on New York News leaves one gasping: who is running this network? An elevator salesman? Actually yes, but Westinghouse can't be blamed for this tripe. Here are some gems from this week's episode: harassed hack on telephone: "I can't talk now, I'm just about to nail a major dirtbag"; or handsome columnist to beautiful reporter: "Two people working for the same newspaper shouldn't be this competitive."

The absence of realism may explain why none of the new journo shows figure in last week's top 20. Number one in that list was ER, and CBS had but one entry. If Westinghouse doesn't make changes soon, its new purchase may become an enormous burden.

More news news: building will soon start in Washington on the world's first "Newseum", a museum dedicated solely to news. The $40m project has been funded by the Freedom Forum, a foundation devoted to protecting the freedom of expression enshrined in the First Amendment. The Newseum will feature everything from Columbus's letter to Queen Isabella on what he found in the New World to a video wall with 24-hour satellite news feeds. There will be a "Freedom Park" outside with a memorial to a thousand slain journalists.

The Newseum director will be the former USA Today editor Peter Prichard: "If we can help people understand the news process and the values that underlie it, that's a healthy contribution."

Others are less pleased. "It sounds absolutely sickening," says the veteran columnist Jimmy Breslin. "You're supposed to be scruffy and despised. You're not supposed to be honoured."

The British author Nicholas Evans has taken a beating in the US press. His book The Horse Whisperer was bought by Dell Publishing for $3.15m. Good enough for a first novel, but then the book's movie rights went for $6m. The backlash was inevitable. First up was the New York Times, which described the book as "sentimentally bloated".

But what comics are calling The Horses of Madison County has now established itself on the US bestseller list. According to experts, Dell ran a masterly pre-publication campaign, persuading bookshops across the malls of America that the Evans book would be a sell-out. The Times review did not bother the Dell people, but a pounding in the populist USA Today did. "I didn't think the Times review would affect my customers," says Joy Sanger at the Brentano book chain. "But then USA Today trashed it and that reached straight out to the mall audience."

Dell responded with a special mailing to book stores, countering the USA Today review with critical acclaim from other sources. The rest is history and a model of a publisher's battle plan. "This book has many lives," says Carole Baron, president of Dell Books. "There's the paperback and the movie tie-in. We're on the way to not only breaking even but making a great deal of money."

OJ was found not guilty and may get $10m for book and movie deals. The convicted fraudster Michael Milken just got paid $15m by Ted Turner for advice given during the Time Warner deal. Now Oliver North gets in role in a prime-time drama. The man who lied to Congress will appear in NBC's new serial JAG, which features the police force of the US Air Force. He plays a good guy - it's called casting against type.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
Sport
football
News
Hillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Recruitment Genius: B2B Media Sales Professional - Work From Home

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Enjoying rapid growth we contin...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test