Back to the Future?

Analysts were continuing to express amazement over the fact that the
highest-rated entertainment programs during the November sweeps were CBS
specials featuring Carol Burnett, Michael Jackson and Lucille Ball.

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales commented in his column
today: “Let us now hug Carol Burnett. … [Her ratings victory]
sends a message to the networks that Americans are craving family
programming once again. Sept. 11 casts a long shadow, and its effects
will be felt for years to come. One of those effects is to make people
hungry for TV programming that is familiar, reassuring, cozy, pleasant
and positive.”

Nevertheless, CBS president Les Moonves told Reuters
Thursday: “Those who want to claim this was just a specials win are
totally inaccurate. … The bedrock of our success is the incredible
depth of our core series.”