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Nov 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

FCC to investigate complaints about ‘Victoria’s Secret’

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps asked the FCC staff Monday to investigate the hundreds of complaints the agency has received about ABC’s prime-time broadcast of “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” last Thursday. He said virtually all the complaints alleged that some of the material was indecent. “Citizens filing complaints with their government are entitled to have their complaints taken seriously,” Mr. Copps said. One agency source said the complaints appeared to be part of an organized effort because “They were basically all the same.” But another agency source insisted that the complaints were different. A spokesman for FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the complaints are “under our normal review procedures.”

Martin leaving CS First Boston for Vivendi Universal: Prominent Credit Suisse First Boston entertainment analyst Laura Martin is jumping ship to become executive VP of investor relations and financial strategy for Vivendi Universal. A 20-year analyst, Ms. Martin will assist Vivendi Universal Chairman and CEO Jean-Marie Messier to forge the strategic alliances and acquisitions that will provide broader U.S. distribution for its products. Reporting to Mr. Messier, Ms. Martin succeeds Ariane de Lamaze, who left the company to pursue other opportunities.

In what may be the first in a series of closer ties with Barry Diller’s USA Networks, Vivendi Universal said it is forming a U.S.-based Vivendi Universal Net USA Group that will consolidate the company’s music, games and educational Web sites under a single management structure based in Los Angeles. Mr. Diller and Mr. Messier have been discussing ways to tighten the ties between their companies. Mr. Diller, whose USA Networks is largely dependent on transactional revenues, has expressed interest in Vivendi Universal’s online businesses. Vivendi is a 40 percent owner of USA Networks.

Goldberg to oversee Univision affiliate relations: Richard Goldberg has been named executive vice president of affiliate relations for Univision Communications. His primary responsibility will be managing affiliate relations within the cable and satellite industries for Univision, Telefutura and Galavision.

Previously, Mr. Goldberg was founder and president of Blue Star Media, a media consulting company. Before that, he held various positions at DirecTV, including his most recent post of vice president, new ventures and content strategies.

AOL TW wild about ‘Harry’: Salomon Smith Barney analysts Jill Krutick and Lanny Baker estimate the “Harry Potter” movie that opened Friday will generate between $450 million and $700 million in operating income for AOL Time Warner, or an additional 10 cents to 15 cents a share, over the next several years from the theatrical release, video, consumer products and television syndication. About $100 million of that operating income could be realized this current quarter.

Football boosts Fox victory: Fox coasted to a typical Sunday win in the key adults 18 to 49 demographic, but it may have had to do more with an National Football League overrun boosting the night than with any scripted programming. In particular, “The X-Files” exhibited troubling week-to-week erosion with its second new episode of the season.

While Fox won every half-hour of its 7 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) prime-time rotation in adults 18 to 49, the 10 p.m. run of “The X-Files'” scored a 4.6 rating/10 share in the key demo, according to comparable Nielsen Media Research fast national data — a 21 percent drop week to week (from a 5.8/13 debut) — sinking into a tie with ABC’s “Alias” (4.6/10). “X-Files'” 3.8/10 in Fox’s core adults 18 to 34 demo saw a 32 percent decline for a second-place finish to the freshman ABC drama (4.1/10).

Overall, “X-Files” was down 17 percent week to week in both households (5.8/9) and total viewers (9.4 million). Another troubling sign was “X-Files'” 26 percent drop in adults 18 to 49 from top-ranked lead-in comedies “The Simpsons” (7.1/17) and “Malcolm in the Middle” (6.5/15), which averaged a 6.8/14 for the preceding hour. “The Simpsons” was up 6 percent week to week while “Malcolm” experienced a 7 percent drop.

Meanwhile, a carryover of Fox’s NFL national (Chicago Bears vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and regional telecasts into the 7 p.m. hour registered a healthy 36 percent week-to-week gain in adults 18 to 49 in beating the first hour of ABC’s “Facts of Life Reunion” telefilm by a 57 percent margin (7.6/20 vs. 4.2/11). The reunion made-for turned in a second-ranked 4.5/11 in adults 18 to 49 for the full 7 p.m.-to-9 p.m. telecast, which marked a 21 percent decline from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Saving Private Ryan” covering that time slot last week.

Nevertheless, with ABC’s “Alias” performing slightly ahead of its adults 18 to 49 average this season, “The Practice” closed the evening at 10 p.m. by improving 39 percent on its lead-in at a winning 6.4/16 average in the frame. “The Practice” also set highs for the night in households (11.1/18) and total viewers (12.6 million).

NBC had a mixed evening in adults 18 to 49, with “Dateline NBC” (2.2/7) and “Weakest Link” (3.6/9) down 29 percent and 8 percent week to week, respectively, in the key demo from 7 to 9 p.m. But NBC’s freshman dramas “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.5/10) and “UC: Undercover” (3.4/9) were up 7 percent and 13 percent week to week in adults 18 to 49.

CBS found it tough sledding for the evening, with a 10 percent week-to-week drop for “60 Minutes” (3.2/9), a 4 percent dip for “The Education of Max Bickford” (2.2/5) and a precipitous 50 percent decline for the 9 p.m.-to-11 p.m. run of the “Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents ‘In Love and War'” telefilm (2.6/6). “Love and War,” which also registered a 29 percent drop in households (8.4/13) and 32 percent skid in total viewers (11.8 million), faced a tough comparison with last week’s broad ratings success of the “I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special.”

Panel to examine Hollywood and war: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Activities Committee is presenting a major panel session, “Hollywood Goes to War? — Politics, Showbiz and the War on Terrorism,” a wide-ranging discussion of the entertainment industry’s role in America’s current war on terrorism. An outgrowth of two recent meetings between the White House and Hollywood leaders, the panel session will take place Wednesday, Dec. 5 (starting at 7:30 p.m. PT), at The Leonard H. Goldenson Theater at ATAS headquarters in North Hollywood, Calif.

The panel session, which will be moderated by ATAS Chairman Bryce Zabel, will be headlined by Jeff Zucker, president of NBC Entertainment; Aaron Sorkin, creator and executive producer of NBC’s hit drama “The West Wing”; and Mark McKinnon, a senior adviser to the White House and the Bush administration. Other panelists include Paris Barclay, a director, author and composer; Mort Rosenblum, a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press; Alice West, co-executive producer of Fox’s “Ally McBeal” drama; actress-producer Sheryl Lee Ralph; and Craig Haffner, president and CEO of Greystone Communications. Conrad G. Bachmann and Bryan Byrd, co-chairmen of the ATAS Activities Committee, are producing.

Showtime announces pickups, renewals, cancellations: As expected, Showtime, Viacom’s premium cable network, has renewed “Soul Food” and “Resurrection Blvd.,” two critically praised original dramas, and picked up “Street Time,” a gritty drama set in the world of parole officers and ex-convicts.

The “Soul” and “Resurrection” renewals are for 40 episodes and 15 episodes, respectively, while “Street Time,” starring Rob Morrow (‘Northern Exposure”) as a former drug smuggler on parole after serving five years in prison, has a 20-episode first-season order.

Cancellation notices also went out to “Going to California” and “Leap Years,” two first-year series that didn’t make the renewal cut.

“Street Time” is from Columbia TriStar Domestic Television. “Soul Food” is an Edmonds Entertainment and State Street Pictures production in association with Paramount Network Television. “Resu
rrection Blvd.” is produced by Viacom Productions.

Television Bureau of Advertising to move conference to NYC: The Television Bureau of Advertising is moving its annual marketing conference from Las Vegas to New York City. The TVB is expected to announce the move at a press conference Monday that will be attended by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

The past 10 TVB conferences have been held in conjunction with the annual National Association of Broadcasters convention. The 2002 conference will be held instead in conjunction with the New York Auto Show. The move is a testament to the importance of the automotive category to local TV advertising revenues. It is also both a signal of post-Sept. 11 support for New York City and a way to maximize attendance at the conference by New York-based advertising agency executives who may not want to travel if current circumstances persist.

“New York City is the center of America’s advertising and media communities,” said TVB President Chris Rohrs. “The chance to partner with the New York Auto Show made our decision irresistible. … There is no more important category to television stations than automotive.” The TVB estimates that about 500 broadcasting executives will attend the conference, which will be held March 26 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

(c) Copyright 2001 by Crain Communications