Matt's Millennium Stew

Today's Millennium Stew --------, ABC Wins, U.S. Sunrises, Millennium Theft and Polar Bear Swimmers

by Matt Markovich
Everything2000 Stewmaster

---Y2K might become Y10,000K for computer bug guru Peter de Jager. The Canadian businessman, who made a name for himself as a Y2K doomsayer, received a $10-million bid for his Web site during an online auction on eBay Inc.

However, Mr. de Jager said yesterday he believes the bid is a hoax by a prankster or perhaps by one of his detractors, so he's not getting excited until the deal closes, which could take up to a week. Still, if it is legitimate, the bid would be the largest price ever paid for an Internet address, which initially cost about $70.

 The previous record for an address, or Universal Resource Locator, was the $7.5-million the Internet venture firm eCompanies paid for the address in November.

The site went on the block at the eBay Internet auction site on Dec. 22. The bidding started at $1-million and climbed to $10-million by the time of the close of the auction on Jan. 1. The minimum bid requirement of $1-million was based on past offers that had been turned down.

 --- We have been chronicling the debate about the first sunrise in the U.S. for some we wanted to know how was it. Well, according to our intrepid reporter Ronald Pesha, about 500 guests journeyed to West Quoddy Head lighthouse, the easternmost point of the United States, to view the first sunrise of the Millennium Year on January 1, 2000. The appearance of the sun's upper limb at 7:07:27 AM rewarded the crowd with a glorious coastline-colored orange disc. The ten-degree temperature warmed rapidly with the sun, and within an hour snow dusted Lubec from an overcast sky.

The remote site prevented Lubec's participation in the cell-phone conference call with Bar Harbor, Maine and Sconset, Massachusetts (on Nantucket Island) to compare precise sunrise times at these locations blessed by Nature with First Light for the nation. Clouds obscured Bar Harbor's Cadillac Mountain, so Sconset claims the first light at about 7:04 AM. Nantucket sees a clear ocean horizon, but in winter the sun at the Easternmost Point rises over Canada's Grand Manan Island, delaying its appearance to the United States.

 --- ABC 2000 and Peter Jennings were the big winners in the TV race on New Year's Eve.    About 175 million viewers tuned in to at least a portion of ABC's 24-hour coverage of the new year's arrival around the globe. That's nearly triple the number ABC reaches during an average broadcast day.

 Y2K fears and interest in the new millennium brought viewership surges to the other networks as well, but ABC uncorked the biggest New Year's Eve results, including a metered-market 16.1 rating, 30 share, in households for its 11:20-11:55 p.m. coverage (11:55 p.m.-12:05 a.m. was considered local coverage).

NBC's latenight millennium coverage Friday night/Saturday morning earned a 5.8/12 in Nielsen's metered markets, while an 11:35-11:50 p.m. "Tonight Show" segment hit a 6.8/13, repping a modest increase from the previous night's 6.2/15 for a standard-length "Tonight."

CBS got a solid New Year's Eve boost, growing from the previous night's 3.9/9 for "Late Night With David Letterman" to a 4.7/10 for its millennium coverage.

Coverage of 2000's arrival no doubt brought significant increases to some cable services as well, particularly CNN, but no cable Nielsens were available Sunday.

In England, the BBC won the battle for viewers on Millennium Eve with the audience peaking at 12.8 million at midnight, compared with an average New Year's Eve maximum of six million. Early figures indicate ITV attracted an average of 4.1 million.

 --- Those "polar bear" sw