1-19-2007: The TV Industry News Report

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Variety of Bids Give Tribune Leverage  (WSJ)
Armed with starkly different proposals from the Carlyle Group, the Chandler family and Los Angeles businessmen Ron Burkle and Eli Broad, Tribune Co. is now in a position to try to negotiate a deal to satisfy its restive shareholders. The Carlyle Group emerged yesterday as the private-equity firm that had submitted an offer for Tribune's TV station group, according to a person familiar with the situation.

American Idol Gives Networks Fits  (WSJ)
CBS executives refer to it as "the Death Star." At NBC, programmers call it "a nuclear bomb." Some ABC executives simply deem it "a nightmare."The TV series to which they refer is Fox's "American Idol," which returned to prime time for its sixth season with a roar on Tuesday. About 37.4 million people watched the premiere, with 37 million people returning for the second episode on Wednesday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

 A Talking Head Meets His Comic Doppelgänger, and Sparks Fail to Fly (NYT)
The exchange was billed as the ultimate cable news vs. fake news smackdown: Stephen Colbert, who pretends to be a Bill O’Reilly-esque television pundit on his comedy show, “The Colbert Report,” was a guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show on Fox News last night, and Mr. O’Reilly appeared on Mr. Colbert’s mock talk show on Comedy Central.