Briefly Noted

Mar 12, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Friedman new head of AOL TV
AOL Time Warner’s America Online subsidiary has named Robert Friedman president of the AOL TV interactive television service. The appointment marks Mr. Friedman’s new media debut. He last served as co-chairman of worldwide theatrical marketing for New Line Cinema and president of New Line Television. Mr. Friedman, 31, is a second-generation TV newsman. His father, Paul, is the No. 2 executive at ABC News.
Bravo succeeds in its bid
to snare NBC’s `West Wing’
Rainbow Media’s Bravo Network has won cable’s off-network sweepstakes for NBC’s “The West Wing.” Bravo, which beat out cable rivals A&E Network and Turner Network Television, gets the exclusive cable TV rights of “The West Wing” from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution starting in the fourth quarter of 2003. Bravo will pay Warner Bros. $1.2 million per episode, according to sources close to the negotiations. Bravo gets the rights to all episodes produced through 2009.
`Sopranos’ ices high ratings for premiere
HBO’s ubiquitous ad campaign for “The Sopranos” paid off big time for the pay network, with the third-season premiere episode jumping 65 percent from last year’s season’s premiere. According to preliminary overnight figures in 49 markets monitored by Nielsen Media Research, the 9 p.m. (ET) premiere averaged a 7.9 rating and 12 share. Nationally, the third-season premiere of “The Sopranos” on Sunday night posted a 6.6 rating and 10 share, representing 6.7 million households, according to Nielsen Media Research. That compares with the 5.6 rating and 8 share the series earned for its second-season premiere in January.
FCC to revisit MediaOne divestiture
In the wake of a recent court decision tossing out the Federal Communications Commission’s cable ownership caps, the agency might reconsider AT&T’s MediaOne divestiture requirements.
At least that was the word last week from FCC Chairman Michael Powell, who 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&T had no comment.
Upton: Increase funding for FCC
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House subcommittee on telecommunications and the Internet, wants to boost annual funding for the Federal Communications Commission in response to concerns raised by GOP agency head Michael Powell that the FCC is underfunded. Mr. Upton will hold a March 29 hearing on FCC reform featuring testimony from Mr. Powell. Separately, Mr. Upton backs legislation authored by Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., and Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., that lets local phone companies offer high-speed Internet access nationwide to better compete with cable broadband. Local phone companies now can only offer Internet access in their service areas.
Morningstar tabbed senior VP at The WB
Bill Morningstar has been promoted to senior vice president of media sales for The WB Network, filling the post left vacant by Jed Petrick’s recent promotion to network president and chief operating officer. Mr. Morningstar, who will be reporting to Mr. Petrick, will now manage the network’s sales staff out of New York, including overseeing sales in Los Angeles and Chicago.
Gaspin back at NBC as executive vice president
Jeff Gaspin, one of the architects of VH1’s highly rated reality series and long-form movies, has joined NBC Entertainment as executive vice president of alternative, long-form and programming strategy. Mr. Gaspin, who was executive vice president of programming at VH1, is credited with helping launch “Behind the Music,” “Storytellers” and “Pop Up Videos.” Mr. Gaspin, a former NBC News executive, is rejoining NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker, who previously worked in the news division as executive producer of the “Today Show.”
Spaet to head USA Cable Sales
USA Networks has just hired former NBC Cable ad sales executive Jon Spaet as president of USA Cable Sales. He replaces Richard Sheingold, who is leaving USA to pursue other interests. Mr. Sheingold had joined USA as president of ad sales just last year. Mr. Spaet held several positions at NBC Cable, including vice president of ad sales for MSNBC. In addition, USA promoted John Silvestri to general sales manager and executive vice president for USA Cable from executive vice president of advertising sales.