Briefly Noted

Jun 11, 2001  •  Post A Comment

PBS planning to move a `Masterpiece’
Sundays won’t be quite as British next fall on PBS, which is moving “Masterpiece Theatre” out of its home of more than three decades to make room for “American Masters” (airing weekly October through December) and “American Experience” (returning in January).
Starting the first week of October, the two “American” series will air at 9 p.m. (ET) Sunday, while “Masterpiece” will air at 9 p.m. Monday, a time slot in which the showcase for British imports fared “slightly better” in a seven-market “pilot schedule project” last October that was aimed at creating a more “viewer-friendly” schedule, PBS said in its announcement.
The most extensive revamping of the PBS prime-time schedule in 25 years also includes 20 hour-long installments of “Antiques Roadshow U.K.,” airing at 8 p.m. Thursday, while the American “Roadshow” will continue to air at 8 p.m. Monday.
Also moving: “Nova,” which will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday instead of 9 p.m., and “Frontline,” which will switch from Tuesday to 9 p.m. Thursday.
In addition to the British “Roadshow,” the new continuing series include “Life 360,” a co-production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and ABC News’ “Nightline” that will be hosted by “Nightline’s” Michel Martin and will use documentaries, performances and personal narratives to tell each of the 13 weekly “real stories.”
PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell said the changes “exemplify our strategy of keeping the best and reinventing the rest.”
NBC, West Coast affils at odds over Olympics
A poll of NBC affiliates in the Western time zone indicates that 80 percent wish to delay key Winter Olympics programming so it can play to the largest possible audience in prime time rather than carry it live. However, NBC Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol, who will be programming prime time with East Coast viewers in mind, would prefer to carry it live.
Jack Sander, head of NBC’s affiliate advisory board and executive vice president of media operations for Belo, said the results of the affiliate poll were presented to NBC in mid-May, when the advisory board met with network executives, including Mr. Ebersol, who was “very open and candid about the complexities of that decision.”
“I think that issue will be resolved sooner rather than later, but we’ve been saying that for a few weeks,” Mr. Sander said during one of his occasional conference calls with reporters.
A spokesman said NBC Sports is studying the situation closely and will be working with the affiliates on it.
Doyle no longer attached to `Bob Patterson’
Typical of post-upfront tweaking to previously announced 2001-02 prime time network series, there have been changes among the creative ranks on a handful of shows. Word filtered out last week that creative differences, often a fissure that opens on incoming freshman shows, has Tim Doyle leaving his post as one of the executive producers on the Jason Alexander-led “Bob Patterson” motivational sitcom for ABC.
Caroline Finger, a partner in TVtracker.com, an Internet-based database tracking TV series in development, suggested several veteran executive producers are being considered, with “Patterson” executive producers Mr. Alexander and Ira Behr expected to announce a replacement in a couple of weeks. A spokeswoman for 20th Century Fox Television, which co-produces “Patterson” with Touchstone, confirmed Mr. Doyle’s departure, but said rumors about “King of Queens” show runner David Litt joining the show were not true..
In other musical chairs, Paul Feig, a co-creator and executive producer with Judd Apatow, is no longer attached to the upcoming Fox sitcom “Undeclared” (from DreamWorks Television).
Writers ratify minimum basic agreement
Members of the West Coast and East Coast chapters of the Writers Guild of America last week overwhelmingly ratified the 2001 minimum basic agreement originally struck last month with the studio- and network-led (ABC, CBS and NBC) Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Out of a total of 4,128 votes cast, 3,785, or 92 percent, ratified the pact while 343 votes, or 8 percent, were against it. The guild represents more than 11,000 writers, whose work can be seen on broadcast and cable television, the Internet and other media.
Tauzin-Dingell broadband bill facing June 13 vote
The House Judiciary Committee will hold a June 13 vote on the Tauzin-Dingell bill, legislation that deregulates the Baby Bells with the goal of making them more competitive against cable in the broadband market. At a hearing last week before the panel, Chairman James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., said he is undecided about the legislation and about alternative bills that impose more restrictions on the Bells’ ability to build out Internet infrastructure nationwide.