Fox's 'Idol' finale a winner, too

Fox's two-hour special featuring Taylor Hicks being crowned the fifth American Idol was a big hit among viewers, drawing an audience of 35.4 million people, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday.


During the last half-hour of Idol, from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., when Hicks' victory over Katharine McPhee was announced, just under 43 million people were tuned in, Nielsen said.

That makes it the second most-watched Idol finale ever, behind 2003's competition. Last year's contest won by Carrie Underwood was seen by 30.3 million.


ABC's two-hour Lost finale (9 p.m. to 11 p.m.) averaged 17.6 million viewers. But the numbers jumped after Idol went off the air: 19.3 million people were watching during the drama's final half-hour, Nielsen said.

WBAL tops in local news

In the May sweeps announced yesterday, Baltimore's NBC affiliate, WBAL, retained its status as the No. 1 station in the market, according to the A.C. Nielsen ratings.

WBAL's domination of the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscast means it "delivers more total news viewers than any other station in Baltimore," said Jordan Wertlieb, WBAL president and general manager, in a statement.

WBAL's most-watched talk show remains Oprah, seen in an average of 82,000 homes.

WJZ, the CBS affiliate, retained the top spot with its noon newscast.

Beanie Sigel shot

Beanie Sigel, the popular rapper who has been shadowed by his violent past, was wounded by gunfire during an attempted robbery early yesterday in Philadelphia.


The gangsta rapper, born Dwight Grant, was shot one or two times in the upper right arm shortly after 8 a.m., police said. He was hospitalized in good condition.

NBC juggles its fall lineup

Just days after NBC announced its fall season, it's rejiggering things in response to other networks' lineups.

The marquee change in NBC's new plan is probably the move of Aaron Sorkin's new drama, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, from 9 p.m. Thursdays to 10 p.m. Mondays - a switch brought about by ABC's moving Grey's Anatomy to Thursday.

Among other changes, the Law & Order brand also got shaken up, with the original show heading to Fridays and Criminal Intent and SVU forming a two-hour block on Tuesday nights. And Crossing Jordan was bumped up to a fall berth at 8 p.m. Fridays, and Medium will get a midseason berth on Sundays, where it can run without repeats.

Will this be the end of the shuffle? Stay tuned.


$5.6 million for Kahlo art

A painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo sold for $5.6 million, setting a new record for the artist and for a Latin American work of art at auction.

Roots, among Kahlo's few full-length self-portraits, was sold to an anonymous phone bidder at Sotheby's auction house Wednesday evening. The 1943 oil-on-metal had never before appeared on the public market, Sotheby's said.

The previous record for a Latin American work of art at auction also was for a Kahlo work, Self Portrait, executed in 1929. It sold for $5 million, Sotheby's said.

From staff and wire reports