Fox's initial coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup race, Sunday's Budweiser Shootout, scored in the ratings, averaging a 4.2 rating/10 share, according to overnight Nielsen Media Research, up 17% from CBS'coverage last year and 20% higher than CBS'1999 telecast. Fox is in the first year of an eight-year, billion-dollar deal with NASCAR.
Downey still up
Fox is keeping Robert Downey Jr. around despite his real-life problems. The network and producer David E. Kelley signed the actor to another eight episodes on drama Ally McBeal
. He'll return Feb. 26 and remain for the rest of the season. Downey is still awaiting sentencing in California on drug charges. He is set to appear in court Feb. 21.