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Feb 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Thursday, Feb. 21, at 8 a.m. (PT); last updated at 1 p.m.

CBS, UPN will both run ‘Amazing Race 2’

In the first major stroke of synergy between CBS and UPN, the sister Viacom-owned networks announced they will be taking on shared broadcast windows of CBS’s reality series “The Amazing Race 2” next month. Essentially taking a delayed window, UPN will offer viewers second helpings of “Amazing Race 2” from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) Fridays — two days after CBS has the first broadcast rights from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays.

Under the repurposing plan, “The Amazing Race 2” will gets its first UPN run on Friday, March 15 with back-to-back episodes (8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) after CBS’s premiere of the racing-adventure series in a special 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. Monday, March 11, telecast and its regular time slot airing on Wednesday, March 13. The addition of “AR2” to UPN’s 9 p.m. Friday hour is also intended to draw viewer sampling for the network’s new 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. reality series “Under One Roof” to debut on March 22.

CBS and UPN officials view the multiplexing of “Amazing Race 2” as an opportunity for both networks to grow the show’s audience circulation. While CBS had made significant year-to-year gains in the adults 18 to 49 demographic for “Amazing Race’s” inaugural run last fall, the Eye Network feels there is an unduplicated audience that can be served through UPN’s growing hold of the younger 18 to 34 demo set.

In fact, for the season to date, UPN has made impressive 27 percent and 17 percent gains in females (1.9 rating/5 share) and male 18 to 34 demos (2.1/7) compared to same span last season, according to Nielsen Media Research.

CBS officials did not immediately know if the network’s ad sales department will try to sell “Amazing Race 2” on a “cumed” basis, where the ratings from both CBS and UPN telecasts can be marketed to advertisers based on larger numbers in several key demographics. A spokesman for CBS did not have firsthand knowledge of on-air promotional plans being mulled, although it can be expected that CBS and UPN will cross-promote each other’s airings to further drive viewership.

“Under One Roof” features a group of five families who are whisked off to secluded Fijian island to compete for a luxurious beachfront home. Host Rob Nelson (“Full Nelson”) moderates the contests, reports on the families and leads the campfire discussions. John de Mol and Bruce Toms are executive producers for Endemol USA.

“The Amazing Race 2,” which comes from noted film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer (CBS’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”), features 11 new couples racing around the world for a $1 million prize.

Ebert to undergo cancer surgery: Roger Ebert, co-host of Buena Vista Television’s “Ebert & Roeper,” will be operated on Friday for removal of a cancerous growth on his thyroid gland, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Sun-Times film critic, who is 59, had a similar operation in 1987.

“I am told this type of tumor is slow-growing and not aggressive and that my prognosis is excellent for a quick and complete recovery, Mr. Ebert was quoted as saying in a statement. He added that Buena Vista had taped several “Ebert & Roeper” programs in advance to cover for his absence.

Robert Redford teams up on telefilm with PBS, Carlton Television: Robert Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises is teaming up with PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the United Kingdom’s Carlton Television to bring Tony Hillerman’s best-selling novel “Skinwalkers” to the small screen. The telefilm is slated to air on PBS in fall 2002.

“Skinwalkers” is one of 13 Hillerman-authored mysteries featuring Native American detectives Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn of the Navajo Tribal Police. Mr. Redford is serving as executive producer of the two-hour telefilm, which begins shooting in locations around Phoenix starting Feb. 25. Rebecca Eaton and longtime Redford associate Michael Nozik (“Quiz Show”) are also executive producers.

“Skinwalkers” is the first project to emerge from the PBS-Carlton International co-production partnership announced by PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell last year. It also will be the first “Mystery!” title in the series’ 22 years that is written by an American writer (Mr. Hillerman) and set in the United States. James Redford (“Ring of Fire”), the son of Robert Redford, has written the TV adaptation. Chris Eyre (“Smoke Signals”) is directing. Adam Beach (“Smoke Signals”) and Wes Studi (“Dances With Wolves”) star.

Funding for “Skinwalkers” is provided by PBS, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Carlton International, the last of which has rights to distribute the movie globally. The individual producer is Craig McNeil, through Granada Entertainment U.S.A.

Journalists’ group asks news organizations to stop using Native American imagery: The Native American Journalists Association plans to announce a strategy of calling upon national news organizations to stop using sports mascots and nicknames that depict Native Americans. The organization will unveil its plans at its 18th annual convention in San Diego in June. NAJA says Native American-themed names and images are “racist and offensive to Native Americans,” and requests that all American news organizations adopt a zero-tolerance policy. According to the organization, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Oregonian has adopted such policies, and others are beginning to follow suit. The Kansas City Star, for example, last year stopped printing pictures of the Cleveland Indians baseball mascot, Chief Wahoo.

A&E cancels Lumet’s ‘100 Centre Street’: The cancellation gavel has fallen on “100 Centre Street,” A&E Network’s New York courthouse drama from acclaimed film director Sidney Lumet (“Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “The Verdict,” among many others).

“Center,” which stars Alan Arkin, garnered strong critical notices and averaged a 1.8 rating in its first season but failed to gain traction in its second season, when it earned a 1.0.

“After a terrific first year and a strong start this past fall in the second season, the series didn’t gain momentum with viewers,” a network spokesman said. “A&E remains firmly committed to drama series, with the second season of ‘Nero Wolfe’ premiering in April and additional series possibilities that we are exploring.” The series will end its 18-episode second season on March 5.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications