Review JUNE 11 - 17
Gas Update: Local pump prices took a significant drop for the week ended June 14. A price of self-serve regular was $2.317, according to the Energy Information Administration. That's down from $2.344 the week before and $2.361 for the week ended May 31. The statewide average was $2.289, down from $2.316 the week before.
Housing Surge: Los Angeles County home prices kept surging in May, with the median price reaching $394,000, up 25.9 percent from a year earlier. However, home sales fell 3.1 percent for the month, another indication of the limited inventory available. The prospect of higher interest rates has some analysts expecting the market to cool down in the next few weeks.
Upfront Action: CBS said it expects advance advertising sales to increase 9 percent, to $2.4 billion, as advertisers paid more to book commercial time on "CSI" and "Survivor." CBS has increased its prices more than the other major networks in part because it was the only network to increase its audience for the 2003-04 season. The network has also added the fewest number of new shows for the fall.
WB Resignation: Jordan Levin resigned as chief executive of the WB Television Network, less than a year after being named to the position. Levin quit rather than accept a position of network president of entertainment under Chairman Garth Ancier, who has management oversight. Its ratings fell slightly this season. After the resignation, the WB announced an overhaul of management that has producer David Janollari as the new entertainment president.
ABC Stores: Thanks to the NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Pistons, ABC wound up tied with CBS as the No. 1 network and the most watched network among viewers between 18 and 49, the demographic prized by advertisers. ABC is again trying to rebuild its prime-time schedule after failing to produce a mega-hit. For the entire series, ABC's ratings rose 62 percent from a year ago.
Safeway Suit: Safeway Inc. was sued by California over sales of cigarettes to minors. State Attorney General Bill Lockyer's suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks civil penalties estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and a court order to prevent further sales. Lockyer sued after an undercover investigation determined that Safeway, parent of Vons, has the highest rate of sales to minors among the major chains. A Safeway spokesman called the suit unjustified.
Video Suit: Electronics Arts Inc., Atari Inc. and Vivendi Universal SA's video game unit sued 321 Studios Inc. to stop the sale of software that allows people to copy videogames, following similar suits by movie studios. In the suit, filed in federal court in New York, the videogame makers claim that 321 Studio's "Games X Copy" let users bypass encryption codes. 321 said later in the week that it might have to file for bankruptcy protection because of mounting legal costs.
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