Stateside

What should be done with CBS? In the 1994/95 season, CBS has slid from first place to third; after a 22 per cent fall in ratings over the past year, CBS now trails ABC and NBC, with Rupert Murdoch's Fox bearing down fast in fourth place. Last year, CBS lost American football to Fox, and its prime-time shows look stale compared with NBC's hospital drama ER and ABC's NYPD Blue.

Of all the US television networks, CBS has the oldest audience - not the kind that pulls in the big advertising dollars. And of the three CBS shows in last year's top 20, two have been on the air for more than five years and the third was the news programme Sixty Minutes, now in its 26th year.

"CBS is being killed," says Aaron Cohens, a media buyer at New York-based Media Edge. "There are now too many networks; we have four majors and two minis. But there's a terrible shortage of good programmes. So advertisers are looking at other media."

The four major networks unveil their winter schedules next month. "CBS better have something good," says Cohens. "If not, I can see them losing another 15 per cent of their ad revenues."

So will CBS fall to a takeover? "That's all we talk about round here," says one CBS News insider. "The nightmare scenario is that Ted Turner buys us, ships all the newsroom jobs to CNN headquarters in Atlanta and cuts everybody's salary to $60,000."

This would not be difficult, given the number of Americans chasing the small pool of TV jobs. This summer, about 30,000 students will graduate from American universities with degrees in "communications". Over half will struggle to find work in the broadcast media.

"It's a crisis," says Marleen Sanders at the Columbia University School of Journalism. "We are training far too many TV journalists for the jobs available. It's sending wages, and quality, through the floor."

Sanders says the average age of newsroom staff has slipped to 28 from 34 over the past 10 years. "Too many of the profession's entrants have no experience of life," she says. "They understand soundbites but not how the Senate works."

Now Sanders is launching a course that forces students to understand the news as a condition of their degree. "It's not very popular. But maybe if they don't get media jobs, they will at least be qualified for something other than waiting tables."

Rupert Murdoch is courting the politicians. First ,there was the $4m book offer to the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich. The deal embarrassed the Republicans' Robespierre, who then backed out. Now Murdoch is offering politicians free airtime on the Fox TV network. Fox would give candidates space for commercials during elections. Murdoch told the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas that free airtime would "help get rid of some of the influence of money in politics".

This was said with a straight face. The NAB rejected the notion, but then the TV networks, which pay the NAB's bills, reap multimillion-dollar windfalls during election years, as candidates stump up for airtime. Politicians, including New York's Mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, welcomed the scheme. "I think it's terrific," says Guiliani. "I spent half my campaign budget on TV ads."

Of course, there's no connection between Murdoch's offer and his current business before the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC is probing Murdoch's acquisition of local TV stations for Fox. It can't hurt to be nice to the powers-that-be at a time like this.

The New York City Planning Commission says that by the year 2000, Hispanics will surpass blacks as the city's largest ethnic group. By the year 2010, they will be the largest minority group in the country. That's good news for El Diario, the fastest-growing daily newspaper in New York. Backed by Time Warner, El Diario aims to launch a 24-hour Spanish language news network on New York cable television. Called Vea New York, the network will capitalise on the growing demand from advertisers for new ways to reach the huge Hispanic market.

This is not the only ethnic market that's growing. The New York borough of Queens is home to many West Indians. Now, New Yorkers who tune in to the local radio station WLIB will receive cricket commentary from Barbados. "I doubt that most New Yorkers will understand," says Mark Riley, the WLIB programme director. "But we've sold every second of advertising space. In the summer there's more cricket in Flushing Meadows than baseball."

Fans of ER and Quentin Tarantino rejoice. Tarantino has just finished directing an episode of the hospital drama, which will be aired on NBC next month. It includes the "significant departure" of a cast member. The job will have been a welcome break for Tarantino. He was recently overheard saying he was so "sick" of Pulp Fiction he never wanted to hear the movie mentioned again.

CBS, ABC and NBC threw all their resources at the Oklahoma City bombing and prevented a mass defection of viewers to CNN. But America's Middle Eastern community wish they hadn't bothered. All the networks, with the exception of ABC, suggested that "Arab extremists" were responsible. In the hours after the bombing, Arab organisations throughout the country received death threats. One man whose parents came to the US from Jordan 42 years ago said he no longer felt safe after watching one edition of NBC's Nightly News. Rupert Murdoch's New York Post was also guilty. Its cartoon two days after the bombing featured ayatollah lookalikes burning the Stars and Stripes in front of the Statue of Liberty ...

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

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

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week