`First Years’ comes to Mondays on NBC
In his second major programming move since being named president of NBC Entertainment, Jeffrey Zucker is scheduling the midseason drama-comedy “First Years” in the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. (ET) Monday time slot starting March 19.
“First Years” replaces “Dateline” in the time period and is part of ongoing tinkering with NBC’s struggling 8 p.m.-to-10 p.m. Monday schedule. NBC has been running specials in the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. hours for several weeks and plans to schedule a two-hour “Dateline: Murder Before Dawn” special Monday, followed by Part 2 of its “Jackie, Joan and Ethel” miniseries March 5 and another movie March 12. A pair of “Crocodile Hunter” specials follow March 19 and 26 in the 8 p.m. Monday slot. Created and executive-produced by Jill Gordon (“My So-Called Life,” “The Wonder Years”), “First Years” is loosely based on the hit British series “This Life” and chronicles the lives of five first-year law graduates in San Francisco. The cast of law students features Samantha Mathis, Mackenzie Astin, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, James Roday, Ken Marino and Eric Schaeffer.
Studios USA rearms for new `Battlestar’
Filmmaker Bryan Singer has signed a deal with Studios USA to executive-produce an updated version of the TV series “Battlestar Galactica,” which originally aired on ABC from 1978-80. A spokesman for Studios USA said the revival is being pitched to the broadcast networks, along with shared or staggered exhibition windows with USA Networks’ Sci-Fi Channel.
In a talent deal closed by David Kissinger, president of USA Television Production Group, Mr. Singer will co-create the new series and, his schedule permitting, serve as director of the pilot. Longtime Singer collaborator Tom DeSanto will serve as executive producer with Mr. Singer.
KTLA site remade into all-digital facility
One of Hollywood’s most historic locations is moving toward the future as Tribune Broadcasting Co. renovates the 10-acre KTLA-TV studio lot, creating an all-digital production facility, the first in the United States. In addition, the company will form Tribune Studios on the lot. The project will convert six soundstages to full digital capabilities featuring Sony digital cameras, recording facilities and control rooms. Tribune Studios, slated to go online in the second quarter of the year, will then provide full, cutting-edge pre-production and production services for the creation of film, television and new media ventures.
Television Corp. boosts stake in PMA
London company The Television Corp. has acquired a majority stake in Pacifica Media Affiliates (PMA), the world’s second-largest entertainment post-production sound company. Under the terms of the deal, The Television Corp.’s equity share in PMA rises from 50 percent to 75 percent. As a result of the purchase, former PMA President Galen Walker has moved up to CEO and former PMA Executive Vice President Ricky DeLena becomes executive director. Former PMA CEO Dana Arnold and former Chairman Hal Katersky have resigned.
Leshem becomes Diplomatic executive
In his first hiring move since forming Diplomatic Productions in December, Michael Davies, executive producer of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and president of the jointly financed ABC/Disney production company, has tapped Matti Leshem as executive vice president.
Mr. Leshem most recently was CEO of AntEye.com, a content-driven Web site that focused on the production of original pilots and presentations.
Brockman, De Veaux are TPEC officers
The Television Publicity Executive Committee has appointed its new board for 2001. Kevin Brockman, senior vice president of entertainment communications for ABC, has been re-elected chairman for a second term, and Marcy De Veaux, president and CEO of DVG Communications, an independent public relations firm, has been elected vice chairwoman.