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May 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

‘Greenfield’ gets launch date, time

CNN has given the long-awaited Jeff Greenfield show a launch date — Monday, June 4 — and a time slot — 10:30 p.m. (ET) weeknights, the half-hour that until this week had been home to “The Spin Room.”

“The Spin Room,” which was spawned in the wake of last November’s prolonged presidential election, was hosted by young conservative Tucker Carlson and somewhat older liberal Bill Press.

Mr. Carlson is scheduled to join Mr. Press and conservative pundit Robert Novak on “Crossfire,” which has been short one regular panelist since Mary Matalin joined Vice President Dick Cheney’s team.

“Greenfield at Large,” executive-produced by Shelley Lewis, with whom Mr. Greenfield worked at ABC News, aims to expand the topical dialogue by bypassing the usual suspects in favor of “writers, musicians, business people, athletes, screenwriters and teachers,” in the words of the announcement.

“What we’re trying here is an act of faith — faith in the idea that people of accomplishment from different fields have provocative things to say about what’s in the news and about the way we live our lives,” the senior analyst for CNN said.

“At Large” will be taped late on the day of air, a CNN spokeswoman said.

FCC plans reform: The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that is embarking on a “comprehensive” effort to explore reforming the agency and will be collecting ideas and suggestions over the next several weeks.

Lawmakers have signaled recently that they’ll let the FCC take the lead on its restructuring before deciding whether to intervene. Suggestions should be sent to: Mary Beth Richards, special counsel to the chairman, Room 8-C750, 445 12th St., SW, Washington, D.C., 20554.

Lawsuits over ‘Queer,’ ‘Superman’ and ‘Y&R’: Three lawsuits involving Hollywood’s television community were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court this week.

In one of the more high-profile cases, Robert Dwek, a former Fox network executive, filed a breach- of-contract suit against the United Kingdom Channel Four for consulting fees of more than $300,000 he claims were due for the format sales of “Queer as Folk” to Showtime. On top of claiming that he is owed $7,500 per episode for more than 44 episodes of “Queer as Folk” (totaling $322,500), Mr. Dwek’s Red TV is also saying Channel Four owes his consultancy an additional $13,500 per episode in fees for selling a “A Young Person’s Guide to Being a Rock Star,” which The WB Network announced as a midseason commitment (to U.S. producer Warner Bros. Television) for its 2001-02 season schedule.

In another case, Pueblo Film Licensing-a successor company to the estate of “Superman” motion picture producer Alexander Salkind-filed a suit against Warner Bros. seeking more than $20 million in damages. Pueblo alleged that the entrusted licenser of the Salkind estate is due to alleged DVD revenue on a pair of “Superman” motion pictures and claims Warner Bros.’ DC Comics division engaged in unlawful licensing of the “Superboy” syndicated TV series to Viacom after Nov. 6, 1999.

Also, Meryl O’Loughlin, formerly a casting director for Columbia TriStar Television’s “The Young & the Restless” (airing on CBS), has filed suit against the studio (also naming CPT Holdings) for wrongful termination on the basis of age discrimination. Ms. O’Loughlin, who headed casting for “Y&R” for four years-and who was discharged from her job at the age of 67-claimed she was replaced by a “much less qualified person” 30 years her junior. She is seeking unspecified damages and also named “Y&R’s” Nancy Wiard and Edward Scott, senior coordinating producer and executive producer, respectively, in the defamation and emotional-distress actions of the suit.

WFXT taps Applegate for women’s show: Since former “Later Today” co-host Jodi Applegate joined Fox-owned WFXT-TV, Boston, in December as anchor and co-executive producer to help develop new programs, she hasn’t been on the air.

But this week the station announced it will launch a half-hour 4:30 p.m. newscast June 4 that Ms. Applegate will anchor. It will be a newscast geared toward women.

According to sources, eventually she will also be slated to do a show based out of the station that will air nationally. That show has yet to be developed.

AOL buys company: America Online announced Friday that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Canada’s InfoInterActive Internet call management services provider for $28.2 million in cash. InfoInterActive launched the world’s first call-waiting service for the Internet-Internet Call Manager-in 1997. ICM provides customers with real-time notification of incoming calls so Internet users can stay online without missing calls or messages.

The transaction is expected to close in July.

(c) Copyright 2001 by Crain Communications