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Fast Track

Nielsen Hikes Household Estimate

Nielsen Media Research has increased its estimate for the total number of U.S. TV households to 108.4 million. Effective the TV week starting today, each national rating point will represent 1%, or 1.08 million TV homes. Last season, there were 106.7 million TV homes, translating to 1.06 million homes per rating point. According to Nielsen, nearly all major demographic categories saw an increase in households, with the exception of teens 12-17 and children 2-11.

Now the News

KTVU(TV) Oakland-San Francisco said that Gov. Gray Davis will attend its televised California gubernatorial candidates forum Race to the Recall Wednesday in Walnut Creek. The debate, co-sponsored by the Contra Costa Times, is to be carried statewide and, with Davis, who is not actually running for reelection but fighting recall, now includes all of the major candidates (except Arnold Schwarzenegger). ...

Bravo summer hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy continued to rake in the ratings records, with last week's episode scoring its and the channel's highest ratings yet. The show has averaged 2.25 million viewers in the adults 25-54 demo, 2.22 million in adults 18-49, a 3.1 rating in total viewers and a 2.9 Nielsen household rating, all records in their categories. The show also broke the 3-million–viewer barrier for Bravo for the first time. ...

Media sales firm WorldLink will handle all direct-response, infomercial ad sales and paid programming for La Familia Network. The net is a family-oriented Hispanic cable channel carried on Cablevision in New York and a growing number of other systems, according to LFN Senior VP of Marketing John Roos. ... The Communications Workers of America have asked a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York to investigate Adelphia's labor practices. CWA argues that the MSO, which has been reorganizing under a Chapter 11 filing, is actually costing its creditors money by spending more on replacement workers and security guards than "peaceful settlement" of its labor disputes would cost. ... The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, representing some 80,000 actors, broadcasters and technicians, has unanimously endorsed a resolution asking Congress to roll back the FCC's generally deregulatory June 2 ownership-rule changes. AFTRA was a co-host of the first of several of those unofficial hearings on media ownership held in the months leading up to the June 2 vote.

Reality Patrol

CBS is extending the run of Big Brother 4 by two episodes, taking the show's final two episodes into the middle of premiere week. The first new episode airs Friday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. ET; the final installment, on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9 p.m. The show had been scheduled to end one week before, on Wednesday, Sept. 17. ... Fox won't be bringing back American Juniors this fall as planned. Show producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia told Fox they were too swamped to do another round, according to a spokesman for 19 Entertainment.

New at NATPE

The National Association of Television Program Executives named six TV executives to its board: Ignacio Barrera, senior VP of Tepuy; Andy Heyward, chairman and CEO of DIC Entertainment; Paul Jackson, director of international production for Granada International; Robert Riesenberg, executive VP and director of Magna Global Entertainment; Jay Switzer, president and CEO of Chum Limited; and John Weiser, executive VP of Sony Pictures TV.

The O.C. Catches On

Fox's new The O.C. started slow but has picked up a head of steam. Last Tuesday, the soapy show easily won virtually all young-demo Nielsen categories. It gets a breather when Fox interrupts its prime time programming for the baseball playoffs, then returns later in a new, tougher time period opposite NBC's Will & Grace and Coupling and CBS's CSI.