Hollywood Notes

Oct 8, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Twentieth, Studios USA pull out of NATPE
News Corp.’s Twentieth Television and Barry Diller’s Studios USA syndication divisions are among the latest on a list of a half-dozen major distributors to pull out on booth space at the upcoming 2002 National Association of Television Program Executives conference set for Jan. 21 to 24 in Las Vegas. Warner Bros., Paramount, King World Productions, Buena Vista Television, Carsey-Werner Distribution Co. and Universal Television Group already opted out of the convention floor.
The list of defections leaves only Columbia TriStar Television Distribution, NBC Enterprises, Tribune Entertainment and Fremantle Television as the last remaining major syndicators that have yet to bolt the NATPE convention ranks. However, competing syndication sources said two or more of the remaining distributors could still jump ship, given the worsening advertising economy and growing fears domestic and international executives have about traveling to Vegas.
“This is turning out to be a mall with very few if any anchor stores to hold the convention down,” said one major syndication executive, who requested anonymity. “Even way before the Sept. 11 [terrorist] attacks, NATPE had [been] told by syndicators for years that they could not afford to keep paying the freight for the convention.”
Calls to NATPE President Bruce Johansen were not returned late last Friday, but the programming association in the past has said that international and new media exhibition and registration has made up for the syndication and TV station defections. Many of the defecting syndicators, however, will have their program sales staff courting NATPE attendees at the Venetian Hotel and other off-site Vegas locations.
New Kids’ WB lineup scores big
Kids’ WB opened its Saturday morning lineup Sept. 29 with a strong showing, winning most of the key children’s demos, including the core boys 6 to 11 demographic. The kids network drew a 5.8 rating/28 share in boys 6 to 11, moving up 23 percent over its prior four-week average (4.7/21), according to Nielsen Media Research national data. Kids’ WB was led by the season opener of “Pokemon: The Johto Journeys” (8.8/37) and the series premiere of the animated spinoff, “The Mummy” (7.4/31), improving their 10 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. (ET) time slots by 44 percent and 37 percent, respectively, over month-ago averages. Kids’ WB led all broadcast and cable network Saturday morning competition among the boys 6 to 11 demo, followed by Nickelodeon (3.9/19), Fox Kids Network (2.7/13), ABC (1.3/6) and Cartoon Network (1.3/6).
Artisan merges with Landscape
Artisan Entertainment, long known as a leading independent film studio, is branching into television through a merger with Landscape Entertainment. The merger agreement calls for Landscape, owned by Canadian broadcaster CTV (a division of Bell Globemedia), to fold its Los Angeles-based television production unit under the Artisan banner. As part of the deal, Robert Cooper, previously chairman and CEO of Landscape, will join CTV and other investors in taking a 20 percent interest in Artisan, though he and other officials declined to divulge the dollar value of that stake. Additional proceeds from the cash on Landscape’s balance sheets previously committed for investment in Landscape will now be used to “retire” Artisan’s ongoing debts and toward “current growth initiatives,” the companies said in a joint statement. Mr. Cooper will take on the role of vice chairman and CEO of Artisan Entertainment, along with fellow Landscape executive David Ginsberg, who will become chief operating officer of Artisan Pictures and executive VP of Artisan Entertainment. Amir Malin will remain in his current capacity as CEO of Artisan Entertainment, while Ken Schapiro stays on as Artisan Entertainment’s chief operating officer.
`Later’ executive producers named
David Friedman, Lisa Leingang, and Guy Oseary have been named executive producers of NBC’s new 1:35 a.m. (ET) late-night talk show, “Later,” hosted by Carson Daly. The show is set to debut in January 2002.#