Breaking News Archives

Mar 7, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Yahoo! CEO Tim Koogle quits

Yahoo! will begin searching for a new CEO following Wednesday’s resignation of Tim Koogle, who will continue as chairman of the board.

The announcement followed news that Yahoo!’s first-quarter revenues would fall far short of Wall Street expectations. News of lower revenue estimates temporarily stopped trading and caused the cancellation of a scheduled meeting hosted by Merrill Lynch.

Meanwhile, the Yahoo! board authorized a stock repurchase plan of up to $500 million over the next two years. The company has made significant appointments to its executive team in recent weeks, including a senior vice president of the company’s media unit and senior vice president of major initiatives.

‘Survivor II’ to end May 3: CBS has set Thursday, May 3, as the series finale for “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” but is playing it mum on whether an hour-long reunion special will follow the closer. CBS also announced the Wednesday, March 21, scheduling of “The First 24 Days: A Closer Look-Survivor: The Australian Outback,” a behind-the-scenes look at the show, as an 8 p.m. (ET) lead-in to “Survivor” that night.

Due to CBS Sports coverage of the NCAA college basketball tournament on March 22, “Survivor II” is moving to 9 p.m. Wednesday, March 21. The series will resume airing at 8 p.m. Thursday nights beginning March 29.

The “Survivor” special on March 21 promises never-before-seen footage of the 16 survivors’ first 24 days in the rugged Outback. In replacing CBS’s regularly scheduled movie showcase, “48 Hours” will lead out of “Survivor” at 10 p.m. to 11p.m. that night.

As for “Survivor’s” planned May 3 finale, CBS has yet to confirm a start time or whether an hour-long reunion show will follow and pre-empt the normal 9 p.m. airing of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” When the original “Survivor” ended its summer 2000 run Aug. 23, it was followed by a highly rated reunion show.

Furthermore, ad buyers are speculating on whether “CSI” or “Big Apple”-a modestly rated 10 p.m. Thursday cop show that debuted March 2-will take the coveted 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. lead-out slot from the “Survivor” finale and possible reunion show.

Tom Decabia, executive vice president of national broadcast buying for Schulman/Advanswers New York, said he has yet to be informed of CBS’s “Survivor” finale moves but suggested “Big Apple” could benefit the most from the “mammoth” ratings lead-in from the reality series.

“Clearly, ‘Survivor’s’ lead-in has already given ‘CSI’ a really strong push in terms of building sampling and awareness, so logic would point to ‘Big Apple’ getting its turn this May,” said Mr. Decabia, who also suggested that “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” could temporarily move back to Friday to make room for the May 3 stunting. “The CBS sales guys are really great at packaging, and this would be the best way to maximize the strengths of their signature franchise [‘Survivor’].”

A CBS spokeswoman declined comment on the other May 3 scheduling moves.

ABC News’ MacVicar on the market: Sheila MacVicar, the London-based ABC News correspondent whose international reporting from a long list of hot spots has earned two Emmys and a Peabody, may be in play after 11 years with the network.

Some network sources say she has been given notice by the network, which late last year began another round of budget-cutting-a process that was expected to include not renewing some correspondents.

Other sources say the highly regarded Ms. MacVicar, who has the bad luck to have her contract come due when potential suitors are hobbled by varying degrees of hiring freezes, may have been offered the option of renegotiating by ABC News.

An ABC News spokesman would not comment and Ms. MacVicar’s agent did not respond to calls.

CBS cements Monday: CBS has given full-season renewal orders to its Monday comedies “The King of Queens,” “Yes, Dear” and “Becker.” With its announced two-year renewal of tentpole “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the Eye Network has made pickups of all four of its top-ranked Monday sitcoms for the 2001-02 season.

CBS’s 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) comedy rotation has ranked atop household and other key demo ratings for the last two seasons. Season-to-date, CBS’s Monday comedy block is averaging a 10.7 rating/16 share in households (up 9 percent from last year), 16.09 million total viewers (up 11 percent), 6.1/14 in adults 18 to 49 (up 20 percent) and 7.1/15 in adults 25 to 54 (up 18 percent), according to Nielsen Media Research.

In its freshman season, “Yes, Dear” is the second-most-watched new comedy of the season, ranking first in the 8:30 p.m. time period in households (9.0/13) and viewers (13.6 million), tying for first in adults 25 to 54 (6.2/14) and second in adults 18 to 49 (5.5/13). Compared with the year-ago time period averages, “Yes, Dear,” which is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and CBS Productions, is up 11 percent in households, 28 percent in adults 18 to 49 and 24 percent in adults 25 to 54.

ABC News’ Hayden dies: C.B. Hayden, director of news research for ABC News, died Tuesday at the Cabrini Green Medical Hospital in Manhattan. Mr. Hayden was 47.

He joined ABC News as an information specialist in 1980. Last year, he was named director of the research department he had transformed from a paper-based service to an Intranet-based service able to serve broad and niche constituencies within the division. A memorial service will be held in Kentucky. Plans also are under way for a memorial in New York.

Herzog heads USA Network: Barry Diller’s USA Networks hired cable veteran Doug Herzog as president of USA Network, company officials announced Wednesday. Mr. Herzog replaces Rob Sorcher, USA executive vice president and general manager, who is moving on to “pursue other interests.” Mr. Sorcher was hired by USA in September.

Mr. Herzog, who was most recently president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Co., will be responsible for overseeing USA, with an emphasis on the network’s program development. He will be based in Los Angeles and will report to USA Cable President Stephen Chao.

Mr. Herzog was president of Comedy Central from 1995-98. Before that, he spent 11 years at MTV Networks, ascending to executive vice president of programming and president of MTV Productions.

FCC might revisit AT&T MediaOne divestiture: In the wake of a recent court decision tossing out the Federal Communications Commission’s cable ownership cap, the agency might reconsider AT&T’s MediaOne divestiture requirements if the phone giant asks. At least that was the word Wednesday from FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

“We have an absolute obligation to evaluate any matter of which we made that flows from the statute, and that includes AT&T and merger conditions,” he said in response to a question at a seminar in Washington hosted by the United States Telephone Association.

Mr. Powell stopped short of committing the agency to pulling the plug on the divestitures. But he added that the court’s decision “implicates our thinking, and we have to review what the possibilities are and what our legal obligations are.”

At deadline, AT&T had no comment.

Tauzin: No 2006 return of analog spectrum: Yet another high-profile lawmaker thinks television broadcasters will not meet the 2006 deadline for returning their analog TV spectrum to the government.

Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, told reporters Tuesday, “It’s a damn certainty” most broadcasters won’t meet the give-back date. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reached the same conclusion at a hearing last week.

“It may be that we want to agree on some firmer dates and we want to agree on some assistance to make sure the results come out right,” Rep. Tauzin said after addressing the Consumer Electronics Association. He criticized a provision in federal law that lets TV stations retain their analog spectrum beyond 2006 if 85 percent of viewers in a market don’t have access to digital signals.

“We’re not going to meet that deadline, I don’t think, with that [85 percent] trigger. We need to find some other
way to reach it.”

The House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, headed by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will hold a March 15 hearing on DTV.

AOL marketing deal looms: Sources say AOL Time Warner Co-Chief Operating Officer Bob Pittman will detail at least one broad new marketing agreement with a major advertiser at the Merrill Lynch Internet conference Thursday morning in New York. AOL has been under pressure to secure the multimedia marketing and promotion pacts with a handful of key advertisers that will serve as a primary revenue model and source. Less than one-third of the company’s revenues are generated from advertising, though most of that comes from corporate marketing budgets that are more recession-resistant. AOL Time Warner declined comment on the speculation.

Tauzin wants FCC to heal itself: GOP Rep. Billy Tauzin wants Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, a Republican, and the other agency commissioners to take the lead on overhauling the FCC. “We’d like to understand what he’s willing to do, how far he’s willing to take it,” Rep. Tauzin said Tuesday of Mr. Powell.

The congressman derided former Democratic FCC Chairman Bill Kennard for proposing to “add new bureaus on top of the old bureaus.” Rep. Tauzin said, “I’m sure Chairman Powell is not going to come up with a zany idea like that. I suspect he’s going to come up with some more rational plans to make the agency look more like the marketplace.”

The House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, overseen by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will hold a March 29 hearing on FCC reform, featuring testimony from Powell.

‘Fitzgeralds’ boosts NBC: The midseason debut of “The Fighting Fitzgeralds” gave NBC some newfound punch as the Peacock Network earned an unusual Tuesday night win in adults 18 to 49 for the evening. It was NBC’s first Tuesday win in adults 18 to 49 since Oct. 24.

Premiering after a special repeat episode of “Frasier” at 8 p.m. (ET), the 8:30 p.m. start of “Fitzgeralds” improved the time-period ratings by 38 percent compared with the previous week’s special run of “Three Sisters,” according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.

“Fighting Fitzgeralds” turned in a winning 5.5 rating/14 share average in adults 18 to 49, improving 6 percent on the “Frasier” repeat (5.2/14). “Fitzgeralds” also tallied a 9.3/14 in households (up 2 percent over “Frasier”) and totaled 13.6 million viewers.

“Frasier’s” top-ranked 5.2/14 in adults 18 to 49 at 8 p.m. and “Fitzgeralds'” 5.4/14 added up to a 17 percent advantage over ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (4.6/12) and a 59 percent margin over CBS’s “JAG” drama (3.4/9).

A second, original episode of “Frasier” at 9 p.m. posted a winning 7.3/19 in adults18 to 49, followed by “Three Sisters'” 6.2/16, marking 85 percent demo retention in the 9:30 p.m. slot. Although dropping 33 percent from NBC’s 9 p.m. hourly average in the key demo (6.7/17), the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. run of ” Dateline” finished a competitive second at a 4.5/12 average in adults 18 to 49. ABC’s “NYPD Blue” won the 10 p.m. hour with a 5.9/17 average in adults 18 to 49, posting 23 percent week-to-week growth after sharing the time period last week with President Bush’s speech to Congress.

NBC won the evening in adults 18 to 49 (5.5/15), holding a 12 percent advantage over ABC (4.9/13). Fox, typically a winner on Tuesday with “That ’70s Show” and “Titus,” aired “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” garnering a third-ranked 4.1/11 in the demo for the evening. CBS turned in a fourth-ranked 3.2/8.

Fielding named VP at Starcom: Starcom North America, a media buying division of Starcom MediaVest Group, has promoted Richard Fielding to vice president and director of U.S. media research.

Charged with spearheading the strategic research direction for the United States, Mr. Fielding, 36, will report directly to Renetta McCann, CEO of Starcom North America. He replaces Kate Lynch, who is currently Starcom MediaVest Group’s senior vice president and director of global research. Mr. Fielding has already relocated to Starcom’s Chicago headquarters (shared by the Leo Burnett Agency) from Hong Kong, where he was Starcom’s regional research director for Asia-Pacific rim.

Mr. Fielding will lead U.S. research from three core fronts: evolving and developing tools and proprietary studies that offer valuable new consumer insights, continually educating the U.S. media group, and harnessing the latest and best thinking in the field.

He joined Starcom in 1998 as regional research director for Asia-Pacific and also served as a member of the China/Hong Kong Research Management Group. During his tenure with Starcom in Asia, Mr. Fielding was instrumental in the P&G China AOR win, which at the time was the largest account win in Asia outside of Japan. Mr. Fielding is also the author of Media Pathways, a proprietary research tool that today is used across the SMG network to analyze people’s interaction with and attention to media vehicles in their everyday lives.

XM Rock rolls out new launch date: XM Satellite Radio’s XM Rock has yet another new launch date: March 18. The 10,322-pound digital radio satellite will be launched from the equatorial Pacific Ocean on a 200-foot Zenit-3SL rocket. XM Rock’s launch was originally scheduled for Jan. 8, then rescheduled for Feb. 28. The company’s second satellite, XM Roll, is now expected to launch in early May.

P&G, INNX ink testing deal: The Procter & Gamble Co. announced Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with San Diego-based INNX to test a new TV advertising initiative that is linked to local TV news stories.

The stories, which have been airing on NBC stations since August 1999, are hosted-in part-by former NBC News correspondent Lucky Severson and now focus on the topics of health and wellness.

Kodak to show new digital cinema system: Eastman Kodak Co. announced Wednesday that it will demonstrate a prototype higher-resolution digital cinema system at its Imaging Technology Center in Los Angeles.

The company is also developing anti-piracy safeguards that will conform to encryption standards for digital cinema being developed by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers.

Johnson & Johnson sole advertiser on ABC special: Johnson & Johnson, which was the sole sponsor of “Gideon’s Crossing” when the medical drama debuted on ABC last fall, will be the sole sponsor of an ABC News special airing Saturday night.

An ABC News spokesman said “Stress Hurts! A Wake-Up Call for Women With Dr. Nancy Snyderman” was done before the advertising deal, and “the advertiser has no impact on the editorial at all.”

A spokeswoman for Johnson & Johnson said the company will fill the commercial time with spots for some of its women’s health brands, including Healthy Woman, Carefree panty liners and Stayfree pads, Women’s Tylenol and yeast-infection treatment Monistat.

According to some familiar with the history of ABC, some prime-time news specials featuring Peter Jennings and Ted Koppel were wholly sponsored in the ’80s.

‘Arrest,’ ‘Spin’ lose access slots: One access hour in the nation’s top two markets will undergo a radical shift, with WWOR-TV, New York, and KCOP-TV, Los Angeles, bumping Studios USA Domestic Television’s “Arrest & Trial” and Paramount Domestic Television’s “Spin City” from their cushy access slots to make way for the show about nothing. In April, the Chris-Craft Industries stations will begin their runs of “Seinfeld” and add additional runs of Universal Television’s reality hit “Blind Date” into the 7 p.m.-to-8 p.m. hour.

Despite the downgrades, Studios USA execs will still fight to keep “Arrest & trial” alive for a sophomore go. The strip continues to survive as one of the top freshmen this season.

“We will pursue all other opportunities in the coming weeks to keep this series in production for a second season,” said Studios USA Domestic Television President Steve Rosenberg. “Both Dick and I believe that ‘Arrest & Trial’ has the potential to be a long-term asset for the company.

“The series has shown consistent ratings expansio
n on the Chris-Craft stations … and outperformed its lead-in. It also gained widespread support from stations and advertisers around the country.”

Sando named senior VP at CBS Enterprises: Corporate communications soldier Arthur Sando has been tapped as senior vice president for communications at CBS Enterprises, where he will oversee all publicity activities for CBS Enterprises’ subsidiaries, including King World Productions, its barter division King World Media Sales and CBS Broadcast International.

Mr. Sando has 20 years of communications expertise. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of corporate communications at Winstar Communications, a global broadband services provider. In that position, he developed Winstar’s first-ever, national media outreach program and created a new corporate branding and logo.#