Hollywood Notes

Apr 9, 2001  •  Post A Comment

NBC joins Family’s circle
NBC has officially become the fourth broadcast network to join the year-old Family Friendly Programming Forum’s script development initiative for the 2001-02 season. Joining previous participating networks The WB, CBS and ABC, NBC will also receive seed money from the forum to develop so-called “family-friendly,” scripts.
Bob Wehling, global marketing officer for Procter & Gamble and co-chair of the Forum, said NBC’s initiation to the group came as a result of ad executives Bill Cella of McCann Erickson and Andrea Alstrup of Johnson & Johnson (also Forum co-chair) being approached by Jeffrey Zucker, NBC’s recently installed president of entertainment.
The Forum, a consortium of 42 major advertisers, first linked with The WB last season on the successful development of its hit “Gilmore Girls,” which has recently been benefiting from double-run airings on Thursday and Monday nights at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET).
WB veteran Litvack named exec VP
The WB Network has promoted John Litvack, who has been senior vice president of current programming since 1997, to executive vice president of current programming and prime-time scheduling. Mr. Litvack-who has worked closely with producers of such prime-time WB fare as “Felicity,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Charmed,” “7th Heaven” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”-reports to Susanne Daniels and Jordan Levin, the network’s co-presidents of entertainment.
`First’ doesn’t last for NBC
After only three airings, NBC’s midseason 9 p.m. (ET) Monday legal drama “First Years” is the latest cancellation on a ratings-challenged evening for the Peacock Network.
Taking the place of “First Years,” a co-production of NBC Studios and Studios USA, will be repeats of “Law & Order” (Studios USA) starting this Monday. On April 16, NBC will also be inserting the much-hyped and highly anticipated British game show “The Weakest Link” (hosted by Anne Robinson) for the
8 p.m. Monday slot. Hopes are that “Weakest Link” will provide a strong opening springboard for the evening.
Since its debut March 12, “First Years” averaged a 2.5 rating/6 share in adults 18 to 49, generally dropping roughly 35 percent of its 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. lead-in, according to Nielsen Media Research.
`Apple’ falls from CBS schedule
As expected, CBS has pulled the plug on “Big Apple” after five airings on two different nights. Starting April 19, CBS will return newsmagazine “48 Hours” to the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. (ET) Thursday slot, with “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” temporarily filling the time period April 12.“Big Apple” was pulled off the schedule after hitting 10 p.m. Thursday series lows in adults 18 to 49 (2.6 rating/7 share) and total viewers (7.5 million) in addition to dropping 30 percent or more of its “CSI” lead-in.
Tribune gives `Walk’ a green light
Tribune Entertainment Co. has formally declared its planned fall 2001 relationship strip “Talk or Walk” a “firm go” after tallying up TV station sales in more than 154 markets representing 92 percent U.S. broadcast coverage.
Hosted by relationship specialist and author Michael Baisden, the reality strip has been cleared in 48 of the top 50 markets, largely attributable to its being sold to the major-market Tribune Broadcasting station group.
Peacock shines with 3 PRISM awards
NBC picked up three trophies at this year’s PRISM awards, which recognize the accurate depiction of drug, alcohol and tobacco use and addiction in television, feature film and comic book entertainment. PRISM winners include HBO’s “Sex and the City” and “The Corner,” CBS’s “Cosby,” NBC’s “Third Watch,” “ER,” and “Days of Our Lives” and A&E biography “Dick Van Dyke: Put on a Happy Face.” Fifteen winners were selected out of 56 nominees and 248 submissions.