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GOP wins convention ratings

LOS ANGELES -- The country may be more or less evenly divided when it comes to the presidential race, but the Republican Party prevailed in the Nielsen polling of nominating conventions.

The GOP's four-day gathering in New York's Madison Square Garden, which ended Thursday, brought in an aggregate average of 22.6 million viewers in the primetime hours covered by ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC.

That compared with an average of 20.4 million viewers for coverage of the Democratic Party's July 26-29 convention in Boston, on the same outlets.

On Thursday, President Bush's acceptance speech, which ran from about 10 to 11:15 p.m., yielded an average of 27.6 million viewers, compared with 24.4 million for his Democratic challenger, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts.

Overall, the Republican Party had more pull with viewers this time than four years ago. In 2000, the GOP's nominating convention from July 31 to Aug. 3 averaged 19.2 million viewers. By comparison, the Democrats' Aug. 14-17 gathering, which crowned former Vice President Al Gore as their candidate, fared slightly better, with an average of 20.6 million viewers.

And in a nod to the power of incumbency, Bush drew a larger audience as he made his case for a second term Thursday night than he had with his acceptance speech as a nonincumbent challenger to Gore in 2000, which brought in 21.2 million viewers.

Dreyfuss takes varied spotlights

This year, Richard Dreyfuss has jammed his schedule with Broadway (starring in "Sly Fox"), London's West End ("The Producers"), and John Sayles's film ("Silver City"). To that mix, he added a role for a labor of love, a "PBS Hollywood Presents" production called "Cop Shop."

Produced by Los Angeles public station KCET, "Cop Shop" is an unusual project for public television: It's an original drama about the personal lives of New York City police officers. Dreyfuss, 56, stars opposite Rosie Perez in one of two 45-minute episodes, called "Blind Date," playing a cop on his first sober visit to a brothel.

The project originated at cable's A&E but was orphaned when that network moved away from original drama. When PBS expressed interest, Dreyfuss not only agreed to act in an episode but also took on an executive producer role. The first two episodes air Oct. 6; in addition to "Blind Date" there is an episode called "Fear," starring Blair Brown.

Dreyfuss was drawn to the project's format of tightly scripted stories filmed "live to tape" in a single 45-minute sweep (each episode was taped three times and the best version was chosen). The format harks back to the earliest days of live television, giving the actors an experience closer to stage acting and -- by limiting them to a narrative that unfolds without a break and in a single location -- lets the writers explore the characters with depth and intimacy, he says.

As an actor, he adds, filming the episode was "thrilling," with the several dozen people in the room all "holding their breath. . . . It was like a great tennis match, and when it was over, we were 3 feet off the ground."


CBS plans auction for childhood AIDS

NEW YORK -- CBS is auctioning off everything but the kitchen sink to benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation -- and to promote the network's new fall season.

From tomorrow through Sept. 26, the network will put up for bid on eBay CBS memorabilia and celebrity experiences, such as David Caruso's "CSI: Miami" sunglasses or dinner with Rupert Boneham of "Survivor: All-Stars" fame.

"People have a great affinity for these shows," said George Schweitzer, CBS vice president of marketing and communications. "People love their reality shows. People love `CSI.' Now they can have a part of these shows while celebrating the new season."

Not hungry for dinner with Boneham? How about dance lessons with Tom "Big Tom" Buchanan, also from "Survivor: All-Stars"? Not a "Survivor" fan? Take a tour of the "Big Brother" house instead. Know a CBS soap lover who's about to get hitched? She can walk down the aisle in a wedding dress worn by Brooke Logan Forrester from "The Bold and the Beautiful" or Harley Davidson Cooper from "Guiding Light."

"We looked for items at all different levels," Schweitzer said. "Some are priceless and some are attainable."

On the attainable side are signed photos of CBS cast members, while the not-so-attainable include forecasting the weather on "The Early Show." There are plenty of tickets, too. Access to the 100th "CSI" episode party, the "Survivor: Vanuatu -- Islands of Fire" finale, and the Country Music Awards show will be available.

Elizabeth Glaser, actress and wife of "Starsky and Hutch" star Paul Michael Glaser, died of AIDS in 1994; her daughter, Ariel, died in 1988 of the disease.

"We are simply thrilled to be the beneficiary of CBS' one-of-a-kind auction and help kick off their exciting fall lineup," said Kate Carr, president and chief executive officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. "This is a great opportunity for people everywhere to have an extraordinary TV experience and help save the lives of children around the world at the same time."


Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on "Around the Globe" today:
* 9:30 a.m.: "Talk of New England" -- Ask the Teacher columnist Ellen Peterson joins a discussion on reading habits of children.
* 12:30 p.m.: "Globe at Home" -- Eating Right columnist Lawrence Lindner on the potential impact of new FDA food labeling rules on consumers' decisions at the supermarket.
* 4 p.m.: "Around the Globe"
* 6:30 p.m.: "New England Business Day"
* 8 p.m.: "NewsNight" Schedule is subject to change.

Talk of the dial

6 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- "Early Exchange." Guest: Gerald E. Libby II, , "WBIX BostonWorks Hiring Squad," on legal positions.
2 p.m. WBNW-AM (1120) -- "PM Magazine." Guests: Douglas Harbrecht, BusinessWeek online; Rich Karlgaard, Forbes magazine; John Schultz, Boston University College of Communication.

Other radio highlights

9 a.m. WCRB-FM (102.5) -- Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 13; Elgar's Sanguine Fan.

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