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Hollywood Notes

Jan 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Hart, Berman promoted at Paramount
Confirming previous speculation (EMonline.com, Jan. 11), Paramount Television Group has undertaken a restructuring of its network TV production and distribution divisions, with longtime executives Garry Hart and Joel Berman being promoted to larger roles within the Viacom-owned studio.
Anticipated since the resignation of former Paramount Television Group Chairman Kerry McCluggage last December, Mr. Hart was named president of Paramount Television Production, and Mr. Berman was named president of Paramount Worldwide Television Distribution
The appointments were made by Jonathan Dolgen, chairman of Viacom Entertainment Group, who is said by insiders to be assuming most of Mr. McCluggage’s broad oversight of the Hollywood studio’s TV operations. Mr. Hart and Mr. Berman will now report directly to Mr. Dolgen.
Mr. Berman, who has served as president of the Paramount Domestic Television syndication unit, adds day-to-day oversight of Paramount International Television and Paramount Pay TV, which will have respective division presidents Gary Marenzi and Jack Waterman reporting to him. Mr. Hart picks up purview of Viacom Productions and Big Ticket Television, while Aaron Spelling Television will remain a unit of Viacom Entertainment Group and under Mr. Dolgen’s oversight.
UPN to premiere two new series
UPN will introduce two new half-hour series on Tuesday, March 5. “As If,” an ensemble dramedy produced by the creative team behind the popular British television series of the same name, will premiere at 9 p.m. (ET). Following at 9:30 p.m. will be “The Random Years,” a comedy about four young adults trying to make a living in New York City. UPN’s young adult sci-fi drama “Roswell” will go on hiatus beginning March 5 and is slated to return with all original episodes in late April through the May sweeps. “As If” is a production of Carnival Films in association with Columbia TriStar Domestic Television. “The Random Years” was created by Mike Lisbe and Nate Reger, who also serve as its supervising producers. The executive producers are Judd Pillot and John Peaslee. The series is a Big Phone production in association with Paramount Network Television.
Fox’s `That ’80s Show’ kicks off with win
The series premiere of new Fox comedy “That `80s Show” dominated its time period on Wednesday, Jan. 23, winning adults 18 to 49 and boosting the network to a win in the key demo for the night. “That `80s Show,” which made its debut in the 8 p.m.-to-8:30 p.m. (ET) time slot, marked Fox’s highest-rated series premiere of the current TV season among adults 18 to 49 with a 6.2 rating/17 share. That score was a 55 percent improvement for the time slot over what a “That `70s Show” repeat scored last week. Fox’s “Bernie Mac,” “Grounded for Life” and “Titus” all posted their highest ratings of the season across key measures, helping Fox to a victory in adults 18 to 49 for the night with a 5.5/14. NBC came in second in adults 18 to 49 for the evening with a 5.0/13, having aired an NBC News special, “Inside the White House,” at 8 p.m. and a repeat of “The West Wing” at 9 p.m. The Peacock’s score in the key demo was 24 percent lower than its take last week, though the network was first among households for the night with a 10.2/16.
`Law & Order’ going to Russia
“Law & Order” creator Dick Wolf said he was in late-stage negotiations with Russian broadcaster RTR to create a Russian version of “Law & Order.” Speaking at the National Association of Television Program Executives conference on Jan. 23, just after accepting the organization’s 2002 Creative Achievement Award, Mr. Wolf said the show will be filmed in Russia with Russian actors and will focus on that country’s legal system.