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Only Traffic Can Get Dr. Phil to Slow Down

October 2, 2006 12:00 AM

Most people kick back if they have a week off from work. But Phil McGraw and his wife, Robin, spent their hiatus week from shooting episodes of his talk show "Dr. Phil" visiting 10 cities in 11 days to promote the show's new season. In New York on Sept. 18, Mr. McGraw was a guest on four shows, which turned into a logistical nightmare when a presidential motorcade wreaked havoc on Manhattan traffic. Aside from New York and stops in Pittsburgh, Dallas, Minneapolis, Chicago and Baltimore, Mr. McGraw hit Detroit, where his show migrated to WWJ-TV. In addition to donating musical instruments to Detroit's Youth Foundation (and red hockey jerseys emblazoned with WWJ-TV's "62" channel number), he held two "Get Real" events and pushed copies of Ms. McGraw's new book, "Inside My Heart: Choosing to Live With Passion and Purpose," at a bookstore in Ann Arbor, Mich. No doubt, somewhere between Dallas and Minneapolis, the McGraws began to feel as though they needed a hiatus from their hiatus.-Christopher Lisotta

Calling All Carters

E! has set up a hotline to the Carter brothers. To promote its upcoming reality series "House of Carters," starring tabloid-friendly pop singers Nick and Aaron, the network will install a phone line on which fans can try to reach one of the brothers or, barring that, leave a message. Select messages will be posted online, and Nick and Aaron will occasionally take calls-unless, of course, they're from Hilary Duff, Lindsay Lohan, Willa Ford, Paris Hilton or Hulk Hogan. "House of Carters" premieres Oct. 2. Starring along with Aaron, left, and Nick are sisters Bobbie Jean, second from left, Angel and Leslie.-JAMES HIBBERD

'Ugly Betty's' Pretty Ratings

The breathless anticipation of early ratings for the debut of "Ugly Betty" last Thursday extended far beyond ABC. It appeared that if one previewed the Cinderella-meets-Devil-wearing-Prada comedy, one was immediately so emotionally invested in it as to need fast ratings proof that it had hit its mark with the public and was getting off on a good foot. "Ugly Betty" indeed was off to a running start with 16.3 million total viewers, a mere half-million behind the CBS veteran "Survivor: Cook Islands," which averaged 16.8 million total viewers as the four ethnically divided tribes were merged into two melting-pot tribes in which the Anglo contestants were vastly outnumbered. (That didn't stop Aitu's Jonathan from trying to control the castoff vote at tribal council. Boy, was he surprised!) "Survivor" had the stronger performance in the most important prime-time demo, 18- to 49-year-old viewers (see story, Page 5), but "Betty" still showed lots of promise in the demo. Which led the wags of Blink to this conclusion: "There is a God, and She has a unibrow." -Michele Greppi

Upscale Young Viewers Go for 'Anatomy'

For years NBC was the home for a demographic that keenly interests advertisers: upscale young adult viewers. But starting last season, ABC was able to take the title of top network among the well-heeled demographic from NBC. And the trend continues: For the first week of the 2006-07 season, ABC once again took the lead. The top-rated show for the week ended Sept. 24 in adults 18 to 49 with a $100,000-plus income and four-plus years of college was ABC's "Grey's Anatomy." ABC's "Desperate Housewives" was second in both categories, followed by the highest-rated debuting show of the week, "Housewives" lead-out "Brothers & Sisters." CBS took fourth place in the category with "CSI," while NBC rounded out the top five with its new Sunday NFL football telecast. Despite the dominance of ABC at the top, NBC had cause for cheer from its new Monday series from writer Aaron Sorkin, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which ranked No. 6 among the demo. Despite losing to its time-period competitor "CSI: Miami" in the overall adults 18 to 49 demographic, "Studio 60" far outperformed "Miami," which ranked a distant No. 17 in the $100K-plus 18 to 49 group. At the end of the day, the rich may boost the fortunes of "Studio 60" and the very rich Mr. Sorkin.-Christopher Lisotta