Hollywood Notes

Jun 25, 2001  •  Post A Comment

`Weakest Link’ headed to 3 CBS O&Os
Three CBS-owned TV stations have acquired the syndicated edition of NBC’s hit “Weakest Link” game show, which is set to be produced and distributed in January 2002 by NBC Enterprises Domestic Syndication. WCBS-TV in New York, WPIX-TV in San Francisco and WJZ-TV in Baltimore have picked up “Link” for its Monday-to-Friday strip debut beginning around Jan. 2, a CBS spokesman confirmed. Station rep sources said CBS initialed single-year pacts, with options to renew for an unspecified number of additional seasons.
As previously reported, the CBS O&O group is still seriously considering the additional syndie pickup of ABC’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” from Buena Vista Television to pair with “Link” as a game show block in some key markets. Syndication hosts have yet to be named for either “Link” or “Millionaire.”
Studios USA signs Baer to drama deal
Studios USA Programming has signed a multiyear network drama development deal with writer/producer Neal Baer, who is currently executive producer and head writer for Wolf Films/Studios USA’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” airing on NBC. Mr. Baer will continue to serve as executive producer on “L&O: SVU” and will develop other projects for the Barry Diller-owned studio. Mr. Baer is a two-time Emmy Award nominee as a writer on NBC’s “ER.” He joined “ER” as a staff writer in 1994 while he was still in Harvard Medical School.
Buckland to develop for NBC Studios
NBC Studios has signed an exclusive development deal with Marc Buckland, who has produced and directed such series as “Ed,” “Brutally Normal” and “Murder One.” In a deal sealed by Ted Harbert, president of NBC Studios, Mr. Buckland is signed on for two years to direct, produce and develop pilots beginning July 1. Mr. Buckland’s other directing credits include NBC’s “The West Wing” and multiple episodes of ABC’s “NYPD Blue” and “Sports Night.” Mr. Buckland is represented by the Broder, Kurland, Webb, Uffner Agency.
NBC Enterprises gets `Access’ rights
As expected, NBC Enterprises Domestic Syndication has acquired the distribution rights to the syndicated newsmagazine “Access Hollywood” from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. Under terms of the deal, Warner Bros. will continue to sell national barter advertising for the strip, produced by NBC Studios, and will continue to hold a stake in the show’s revenue. In addition, Warner Bros. has tapped renewals through the 2004-05 season on the NBC owned-and-operated stations for the magazine “Extra,” a key incentive for getting Warner Bros. to release “Access Hollywood” to NBC.
`Jack’ scores, `Beast’ fades for ABC
The premiere of the Paul Reubens-led summer replacement “You Don’t Know Jack” on ABC didn’t lay waste to its repeat competition June 20, but it did post some relatively healthy percentage increases in households and certain key demos. “Jack,” based on the popular computer game, quizzed its way to a win in adults 18 to 49 (3.3 rating/12 share) in ABC’s leadoff 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) slot, according to Nielsen Media Research fast national data. “Jack” improved ABC’s time slot by 10 percent in adults 18 to 49 compared with repeats of “The Drew Carey Show” and “Whose Line Is it Anyway?,” which averaged a 3.0/10 in the hour the previous Wednesday.
However, ABC was less fortunate with its 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. replacement drama “The Beast,” which dropped 29 percent in adults 18 to 49 (1.9/9) in its second weekly outing. The behind-the-scenes newsroom drama dropped 24 percent and 29 percent in households (3.4/6) and total viewers (4.5 million), respectively, finishing third in those categories behind repeat programming on NBC and CBS.