Bornstein named ABC TV head
Steve Bornstein, who helped spin the ESPN brand into multiple strands of cable gold, was today named president of ABC Television, overseeing the ABC TV Network, the 10 network-owned TV stations and Buena Vista Television. Mr. Bornstein, who had suffered uncharacteristic setbacks as chairman of the Walt Disney Internet Group, replaces Robert Callahan, the well-regarded 20-year network veteran who was named president of the ABC Broadcast Group a year ago and who decided a move to the West Coast was not in his family’s best interests. Mr. Callahan, whose TV and radio divisions reported record revenues this year in spite of the collapsing ad market, will remain with ABC through September.
CBS sues Fox over ‘Boot Camp’: CBS and the producers of “Survivor” filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit Monday against Fox Broadcasting Co. and the producers of the Fox reality series “Boot Camp,” claiming that the new Fox reality hit is an outright clone of the Eye Network’s megahit series. The federal suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, charges that “Boot Camp” violates federal and California state law in that “the premise of and format of ‘Boot Camp’ are virtually identical to ‘Survivor.'” The suit also alleges “Boot Camp” series producer LMNO Productions, headed by company principals Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio, initially pitched the show to CBS Network Television President Leslie Moonves as a way to complement and capitalize on the success of “Survivor.”
NBC won’t meet affiliates board: NBC executives will not meet with the NBC Affiliate Board of Directors on Monday, April 23, the eve of the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. The network told affiliates today that it had made its decision “in light of NAB’s recent decision to support NASA [Network Affiliated Stations Alliance] in its filing to the Federal Communications Commission,” a reference to a petition filed last month on behalf of some 600 affiliates of ABC, CBS and NBC asking the FCC to investigate network-affiliate relations and practices. The network, which is said to feel it would be hypocritical and inappropriate to gather in the shadow of the NAB convention, said it also will not hold the scheduled chief engineers’ breakfast on the morning of April 23 in Vegas.
Dobbs returns to CNN: CNN officially set its business-news course back to the future today with a news conference in New York at which a contingent of AOL Time Warner brass welcomed Lou Dobbs back into the fold nearly two years after he left to run Space.com. Starting May 14, Mr. Dobbs will be the solo anchor of “Moneyline,” the signature show that in his time was CNN’s biggest revenue magnet but which has since been eclipsed by competition on CNBC. Mr. Dobbs will also be managing editor of “Moneyline” and a columnist for CNNfn.com and will help develop a show he will host for CNNfn, the business-news network that will be revamped later this year as CNN Money. Willow Bay, who has been anchoring “Moneyline” alone in New York since Stuart Varney quit last month, will be reassigned to “upcoming series, specials and other high-profile reporting assignments” from her base on the West Coast.
AT&T selling most of Cablevision stake: AT&T will seek to sell most of its 30 percent stake in Cablevision Systems, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Liberty Media (which owns a stake in Cablevision), Time Warner Cable (the second-largest cable operator), Paul Allen’s Charter and others could surface as potential buyers. AT&T would use the proceeds to pay down its $50 billion-plus debt. It was recently exempted, for the time being, from having to sell off such outside cable interests to comply with ownership regulatory conditions on its MediaOne Group acquisition last year.