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Cable Notes

May 7, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Cronin new Game Show head

Rich Cronin has been named president and CEO of Game Show Network, the niche cable network devoted exclusively to game shows and interactive game play. Mr. Cronin, formerly the founding president of TV Land and the head of both Fox Family Channel and Fox Kids Network, replaces Michael Fleming, who was Game Show Network’s founding president.

Mr. Cronin will have access to a library of about 25,000 episodes from more than 100 game shows for his initial stunting and promotional efforts, which he said will be similar to the stunts and promos he mounted at TV Land and Fox Family.

But his primary mandate is to develop “leading-edge interactive” games that will attract the new generation that has grown up playing interactive games on the Net andin-home platforms.

Hammer’s Sci-Fi fantasies

Game Show Network’s new president isn’t the only new programming chief with acquisition dreams. Bonnie Hammer, newly named president of USA’s Sci-Fi Channel, has a wish list too.

On it are “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein; “Ender’s Game,” about a boy raised to do battle in an interplanetary war and is the favorite space-opera of video-gamers everywhere; and “Foundation,” Isaac Asimov’s multivolume fictional history of the rise and fall of galactic empires. Ms. Hammer said if she could get the rights to make them, the first two would be telefilms and the third would be a miniseries.

`Carmen’ turns into `Car Man’

Meanwhile, in another part of the USA corporate cable galaxy: Bizet’s classic opera “Carmen” will be getting an all-American makeover on Trio, USA’s popular arts network. “The Car Man,” a London West End musical, is now filming in Britain for its fall 2001 American debut. “Car Man” turns the 19th century period piece into opera noir with dance, set in a diner and a garage in a small town in the Midwest of the 1960s.

Lifetime again tops ratings

If April ratings bring flowering May upfront ad buys, then it may be almost time to break out the champagne again at Lifetime, which added a 1.9 first-place prime-time-ratings finish in cable homes to its recent first-quarter first-place laurels.

Tied for second in April: USA Network and the Cartoon Network, both with a 1.7. On a year-to-year basis, Lifetime was up 6 percent over April 2000, Cartoon was even and USA was off from its 2.3 rating one year ago.

More stanzas for `Isaak’ with renewal

Showtime’s “The Chris Isaak Show” has been renewed for 17 new episodes. The comedy series with music stars charismatic rocker Chris Isaak, who plays a rock star in a blending of fiction and reality that has evoked critical comparisons to “The Garry Shandling Show.” The series, from Viacom Productions, is written and executive-produced by husband-and-wife team Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider.

`Ship’ launched by History Channel

The reality craze has finally put out to sea with “The Ship,” an upcoming reality special from the History Channel and BBC that will put volunteers aboard a replica of an 18th century sailing vessel to spend six weeks on the South China Sea. Would-be sailors are asked to send a statement of 500 words or less about themselves and their reasons for wanting to sign on, to: The Ship, c/o History Channel Viewer Relations, 235 E. 45th St., New York, NY 10017. The show will film this fall for an expected 2002 debut.

CTAM opens Northwest chapter

The Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing (CTAM) has headed into new territory with the launch of a Silicon Valley/Pacific Northwest chapter, intended to forge a link between cable’s broadband industry and the West Coast’s technology and content providers.