Buckle Up, Dick, Here Comes Saget
January 8, 2007 12:00 AM
We'll soon find how well Warner Bros. syndication legend Dick Robertson can take a joke. It turns out that Mr. Robertson, who is the guest of honor at a roast at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference this month, will be hoisted on the comedic petard of Bob Saget. Blink has often experienced cognitive dissonance with regard to Mr. Saget, whose treacly role on "Full House" (distributed in off-net syndication by Warner Bros.) is difficult to harmonize with his bluer-than-blue performance in "The Aristocrats" cinema raunchfest. If Mr. Saget pulls out the hard stuff, Mr. Robertson had better batten down the hatches. "I am very happy to roast Dick," Mr. Saget said. "That may not come off well in print. What I mean is, I have a long relationship with Warner Bros. Television that I hope I will not tarnish on Jan. 17." The dinner event is being co-produced by the Warner Bros. Television Group and NATPE and will feature friends and colleagues of Mr. Robertson paying tribute to his 40-year career in television, which established him as one of the most powerful and innovative executives in the industry. The roast will take place from 7:30-9:30 p.m. in Mandalay Bay Ballroom G. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the NATPE Educational Foundation and Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Mass Communication, where Mr. Robertson serves as chairman of the advisory board.
A&E, enjoying a ratings resurgence with reality programs starring characters such as bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman and former Kiss rocker Gene Simmons, is gearing up to get back into the scripted-drama business. The network is expected to announce a slate of dramas in development at the Television Critics Association winter press tour this week, but one new show not likely to be announced is a project the network is discussing with Tom Selleck because details remain to be worked out. The former "Magnum P.I." star is a big figure in A&E history. He played President Dwight D. Eisenhower in "Ike: Countdown to D-Day," which was the channel's highest-rated show until last year's 9/11 movie "Flight 93."
With This Name ...
It may have taken eight years, but at last the stepchildren of the 1999 marriage of King World and Viacom will share the same name. Just weeks after announcing that series including King World's "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and CBS Paramount's "Judge Judy" and "Entertainment Tonight" would be credited to either King World or CBS Paramount Domestic Television, all series will now officially be branded under the umbrella moniker CBS Television Distribution. A spokesperson at the company issued a media alert Thursday that read, "We're finally officially changing all the credits to our company's name." Instead of changing names on checks and bills, the united company will have to harmonize press kits, logos and letterhead. Blink extends best wishes to the happy couple.
Ah, (Relative) Youth
MSNBC knows that sometimes losing is a good thing-especially when what's being lost are its viewers' unsightly age lines. Those wrinkles can turn off advertisers or lower the price they are willing to pay for commercial time, and MSNBC is drawing more youthful viewers. At the end of 2006, the median age of MSNBC's prime-time and total-day audiences was 56, a year younger than the 57-year median age for both dayparts at the end of 2005. Demographic data from Nielsen Media Research showed that CNN's median age in prime time remained flat at 60, but went up one year, from 62 to 63, for total day. Meanwhile, Fox News Channel, which claims the title for largest of the Big 3 cable news audiences, also has the oldest audience. At the end of 2005, Fox's median age in prime time was 65. At the end of 2006, it was 65-plus (the data doesn't get any more specific after 65). For total day, the Fox audience aged two years, from 62 to 64.
Belching It Out
If fans of the Washington Redskins or the New York Giants didn't already have reason to booze over their teams' disappointing seasons, the NFL Network may have inadvertently created a brand-new drinking game for them: "Take a shot whenever the network broadcasts a belch." With throngs of viewers paying attention to a key game between the teams in determining playoff matchups, viewers were treated to belching sounds throughout the broadcast. Announcers Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth, clearly embarrassed, eventually had to alert viewers that the noises were, in fact, not coming from them. Apparently a comic genius had found an open microphone somewhere in the stadium that the crew had trouble locating. The mystery belcher got away clean.