Hollywood Notes

Nov 19, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Wolf signs deal with Studios USA
Emmy Award-winning producer Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of NBC’s three “Law & Order” series franchises, has renewed a development and production deal with Barry Diller’s Studios USA Television through August 2006. Mr. Wolf, whose 12-year-old “Law & Order” series is the longest-running network drama currently on television, also served as creator and executive producer of the new NBC “dramamentary” series “Trial & Error,” slated for a midseason debut on the Peacock Network.
King World axes `Howard Stern’
As expected, King World Productions has axed its late-night series “The Howard Stern Radio Show,” which had been airing on a number of CBS owned-and-operated stations (EM, Nov. 5). The final episode will air on Saturday. The series managed to pull strong numbers in the key demographics for the CBS station group, where it has earned a 1.7 household rating and 5 share thus far this season with coverage of just under 50 percent of the country. Still, advertisers have continued to shy away from the program, prompting its broadcasters to seek a way out of the show. Instead, King World is considering new series designed to appeal to the same audience through a deal being negotiated with producer Eddie October and one with Mr. Stern (see story, Page 3).
Sassa staying put at NBC
After months of speculation, it looks as if Scott Sassa will continue as president of NBC West Coast. Mr. Sassa, whose name has been mentioned for more than a year in connection with a variety of senior-level positions at other companies-including Yahoo!-is said to be close to sealing a multiyear renewal at NBC. Although an NBC spokesman said no formal deal has been announced yet, sources close to the network said Mr. Sassa is hammering out terms of a renewal that could extend his stay for two to three years. His current contract expires in December.
UPN orders full `Special Unit 2′ season
UPN has extended a nine-episode order to 9 p.m. (ET) Wednesday drama “Special Unit 2,” carrying the sci-fi detective series through a full-season of 22 episodes. The series is produced by Rego Park Film and Television in association with Paramount Network Television. Evan Katz is the creator and executive producer. Coming out of the blockbuster 8 p.m. (ET) lead-in of “Star Trek” sequel “Enterprise,” “SU2” has upped viewership by 50 percent among persons 12 to 34 (1.5 rating/5 share vs. 1.0/3), 70 percent among adults 18 to 34 (1.7/5 vs. 1.0/3) and 36 percent among adults 18 to 49 (1.9/5 vs. 1.4/4) this season compared with last spring. “SU2” has drawn 4.2 million viewers per week this season, an improvement of 31 percent over last year (3.2 million).
CBS gives `Ellen’ full-season order
Despite the series’ early struggles, CBS has picked up nine more episodes of “Ellen,” giving it a full-season order of 22 shows. CBS executives have been encouraged by the Ellen DeGeneres-led sitcom’s move a half-hour later to 8:30 p.m. (ET) Friday, where it notched season-best scores in adults 18 to 49 (2.5 rating/8 share) and households (4.5/8) last week. “Ellen” is produced by CBS Productions.
Short takes
Elizabeth Tumulty has been elevated to VP of affiliate relations and communications for The WB Network. She will report to Ken Werner, The WB’s executive VP of network distribution. She represents 36 WB affiliates, including those in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas and Detroit. … “America.01,” the ABC newsmagazine focused on the mood of the country post-Sept. 11, has been yanked after two outings at 8 p.m. (ET) in ABC’s troubled Friday lineup. Taking its place will be “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” hosted by “Hollywood Squares” host Tom Bergeron.