Arnold's New Role Cost $16M

California recall is ratings, financial windfall for TV

While California gubernatorial candidates spent heavily on TV advertising leading up to last week's recall of Gov. Gray Davis, it's the one part of the story that didn't get as absurd as it could have.

TV political spending totaled $48 million, according to TNS/Media Intelligence. That's far less than the $100 million that some pundits were predicting but in line with the estimates of media buyers. According to the TNS/MI tallies, winner Arnold Schwarzenegger and his supporters spent $16 million while losers Davis and Lieutenant Gov. Cruz Bustamente spent $13.5 million and $13 million, respectively.

Governor-elect Schwarzenegger's victory created a spirited race on Los Angeles television. KNBC(TV) nabbed the highest ratings for its one-hour election special at 10 p.m. and its late local news. KNBC-TV notched a 6.1 rating/9 share in households at 10 p.m. and a 5.7/12 for its local newscast at 11 p.m., according to Nielsen. Fox's KTTV-TV, which aired a Chicago Cubs and Florida Marlins baseball playoff game earlier in the night, scored a strong 5.4/8 share for its 10 p.m. telecast.

On cable, Fox News led its cable news rivals in household ratings and total viewers, attracting a 1.8 rating and 2 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. ET. The marks were on par with Fox's usual prime time draws.

Meanwhile, NBC News Dateline
correspondent and Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, is expected to resume her job soon. (She took time to campaign with him, and her glowing presence was said by pundits to have considerably helped his effort after womanizing charges erupted.) NBC says there is no official timetable for her return, but, when she does return, she'll most likely steer clear of stories involving California or politics.

"We'll work with her to determine the best way to do that and what assignments are appropriate," a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, as recall mania seemed destined to settle down, there were these developments: Schwarzenegger was a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno
the night after the election (he had announced his candidacy on the show), and Davis was slated to read the Top 10 list on Late Night With David Letterman
last Friday night. And last week A&E network said it is fast-tracking production on an original biopic about the actor and governor-elect titled See Arnold Run
and set to air in 2004.