‘Gilmore Girls’ gains Monday tryout
The WB network’s critically received Thursday rookie drama “Gilmore Girls” will be getting double-run treatment beginning March 5 with a 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. Monday (ET) berth for four weeks coming out of the network’s highly rated “7th Heaven” family drama. “Gilmore Girls” will be taking over the slot from “Roswell,” which will return with original episodes in mid-April.
Sources at The WB said the Monday tryout for “Gilmore Girls,” which could give it more young demo circulation out of “7th Heaven,” is being viewed as a possible litmus test for moving the show into the Monday slot next season. “Not only are we providing the best night of family-friendly programming on television, we also think this is an excellent way to tap into the larger audience that ‘Gilmore Girls’ deserves,” WB Co-President Jordan Levin said in a statement.
“Gilmore Girls” airs in one of the toughest time periods on TV-8 p.m. Thursdays-going up against NBC’s “Friends” and CBS’s “Survivor: The Australian Outback.” However, during the past two weeks in the Thursday berth, “Gilmore Girls” has improved the time slot 38 percent year to year in its core women 18 to 34 demographic and 45 percent in adults 18 to 49.
Critics have championed “Gilmore Girls,” and the series has earned a Viewers for Quality Television Award for best new drama and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for lead actress Lauren Graham. The drama, created and written by Amy Sherman-Palladino, received script funding from the Family Friendly Advertising Forum, a consortium made up of more than 40 advertisers. It was listed as the fourth-best series on television in Electronic Media’s 2000 Winter Critics Poll.
Ms. Sherman-Palladino, with Gavin Polone (“Stir of Echoes,” “Drop Dead Gorgeous”), executive produces “Gilmore Girls” for Dorothy Parker Drank Here Productions and Hofflund/Polone in association with Warner Bros. Television.
‘Brasher’ tops in households: CBS’s debut of its “Kate Brasher” drama, starring Mary Stuart Masterson, got off to a promising start Saturday by winning 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) in households (8.4/15) and coming in third in adults 18 to 49 (3.0/9). Hammocked between “That’s Life” (6.6/12) and “The District” (10.8/18), “Brasher” scored 12.2 million total viewers (second-best for the evening), as the Eye won the night in households (8.2/15) and finished third in adults 18 to 49 (3.1/9) to Fox (3.9/12) and ABC (3.9/12).
Marcia Clark joins ‘Attorney’: This year’s top first-run rookie strip is adding another legal eagle to the mix. Marcia Clark-the lead prosecutor in O.J. Simpson’s criminal trial-will tape three cases next week for Twentieth Television’s “Power of Attorney,” which features a who’s who of lawyers, including Gloria Allred, Ed Masry and Christopher Darden. If things go well at the tapings, she could be wooed for a full-time gig on the syndicated television docket, according to sources.
Another loss for XFL: It may be fourth-and-20 for NBC’s XFL broadcasts after further ratings losses. XFL’s fourth weekly Saturday airing turned in a 20 percent loss week to week in adults 18 to 49, and the league posted a personal-low 1.7 rating/5 share in the demo, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate returns.
The XFL game, featuring the New York/New Jersey Hitmen winning 13-0 over the Chicago Enforcers, also posted a 2.8/5 in households (representing 4.2 million homes) to mark a 13 percent week-to-week decline and a 71 percent slide since the XFL’s debut Feb. 3 to a 9.5 rating. In what could be a harbinger of worse things to come for the nascent league, NBC could be dropping 1.4 rating points to CBS to possibly lose the week in the adult 18 to 49 race to the Eye Network. Final national numbers for the week of Feb. 19-25 will be released Tuesday, the day before the end of the critical February sweeps period.
UPN’s Sunday XFL telecast, during which the Memphis Maniax beat the Los Angeles Xtreme 18-12, delivered a 1.9/3 household rating from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., off 5 percent of its previous week’s performance (2.0/3).
Richards to oversee FCC revamp: Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell Monday named Mary Beth Richards to oversee an overhaul of the agency. Ms. Richards, FCC deputy managing director, spearheaded a similar restructuring during former FCC Chairman Reed Hundt’s tenure. That initiative essentially resulted in a realignment of FCC bureaucracies and the creation of some new agency functions. But Mr. Powell says his proposed reorganization will focus on making the agency “more efficient, more decisive and more responsive to the fast-moving changes in technology and telecommunications markets.”
Vara co-anchor at KABC: Kathy Vara will join KABC-TV, Los Angeles, March 5 as co-anchor of the 11:30 a.m. news. She will also be a fill-in anchor and general assignment reporter. She was morning and midday anchor across town at KNBC-TV.
Adelphia invests in Commerce.TV: Adelphia Communications announced Monday that it has made an equity investment in interactive TV services enabler Commerce.TV, which will help the multiple system operator deploy ITV to Adelphia’s subscribers by the end of 2001 as a standard digital TV package. Commerce.TV previously announced deployment agreements with Insight Communications (1.4 million customers, pending acquisitions), Susquehanna Communications (190,000 subscribers) and Blue Ridge Communications (170,000 customers). Commerce.TV’s solution is compatible with the Scientific-Atlanta Explorer 2000 and Motorola DCT-2000 digital set-top boxes.
Court TV OKs deal with DemandVideo: Court TV signed an agreement Monday that will make programs from its extensive library available on demand to DemandVideo affiliates. The first series in the agreement is “MugShots,” Court TV’s signature original biography documentary series, which offers in-depth profiles of some of the country’s most infamous criminals. DemandVideo has deployed its services with Seren Innovations in St. Cloud, Minn., and Concord, Calif.
Liberty takes stake in Game Show Network: Liberty Digital acquired a 50 percent stake in the Game Show Network Monday for about $275 million ($125 million in cash, a $100 million note payable to Sony Pictures Entertainment and $50 million in Liberty Digital stock).
HBO, TBS tenants for PanAmSat’s Galaxy: PanAmSat Corp. announced Monday that AOL Time Warner’s HBO and Turner Broadcasting System will become anchor tenants for its next generation of Galaxy satellites. The new satellites, said PanAmSat, will enhance HBO and TBS’s ability to introduce new and advanced digital applications, such as video on demand, streaming media and other Internet services. The new 10-year contract provides for satellite transmission services beginning in 2005.
Satellite radio at the Shack: XM Satellite Radio has signed an agreement with RadioShack’s Franchisee Dealer Division to promote its products and services at RadioShack franchisee dealer stores across the country. The deal will boost XM’s retail reach to more than 4,000 outlets.#
National Geographic Channel Australia will expand its distribution reach in Australia and New Zealand to 1.4 million homes starting in April via a deal with Optus Television Starz Encore Group’s kids channel Wam! is adding a Friday night teens movie block starting March 30.#
WHO IS NEWS
Michael Rauch to executive vice president, production, Showtime Networks, from senior vice president, motion pictures. Also Kenneth Hershman to senior vice president of corporate strategy, Showtime Sports and Event Programming, Showtime Networks, from senior vice president and associate general counsel.#