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Apr 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

WNDS takes People Meter service in Boston market

Nielsen Media Research has signed a new client in the Boston market, which will be the first market in the country to use local People Meters. Independent station WNDS-TV in Derry, N.H., owned by CTV of Derry will be the first broadcast station to sign up. The major stations in Boston are protesting the launch of People Meters, claiming they lower household ratings and demos.

J&J, TNT to cooperate on original telefilms: Johnson & Johnson and Turner Network Television have reached a multiyear deal for the development and production of original television films, which will be telecast under the “Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentations” banner.

The J&J movie franchise on TNT is the first announced programming deal from Interpublic’s Magna Global Entertainment, previously known as Universal McCann Entertainment Group.

The deal, which is expected to run for a minimum of three years, is renewable yearly, a Turner spokesman confirmed. It is also expected to result in at least two “Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentations” per year, although 2002, its first year, may see only one J&J-bannered project.

The first project to result from the collaboration will be “Door to Door,” starring William H. Macy and Helen Mirren, which will premiere in July. “Door” is the fact-based story of a door-to-door salesman born with cerebral palsy. Also in the cast are Kyra Sedgwick (“Something to Talk About”) and Kathy Baker (“The Cider House Rules”). Mr. Macy co-wrote the script with Steven Schachter, who also directs.

One goal of the collaboration, according to the deal’s participants, is to expand family-friendly programming in prime-time television. J&J is a founding member of the Family Friendly Programming Forum of advertisers.

Friedman to host Discovery documentary series: Thomas Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, will host a quarterly series of documentaries on the Discovery Channel beginning in 2003.

The Discovery Channel will co-produce the specials, which will focus on world events, with New York Times Television, the documentary production unit of The New York Times Co.

Earlier this month, The New York Times Co. and Discovery Communications announced a joint venture to co-own and develop Discovery Civilization Channel. At that time, the two companies also announced a programming output agreement under which Discovery will purchase programming from New York Times Television over the next five years.

Jacksonville’s WTEV to become CBS affil: On July 15, Clear Channel-owned WTEV-TV will become the CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, and Post-Newsweek-owned WJXT-TV, which had been the CBS affiliate in the North Florida market that is the 53rd largest in the country, will become an independent station.

The affiliation agreement with Clear Channel was described as long-term. Clear Channel-owned Fox affiliate WAWS-TV will switch the UPN programming that has been carried on WTEV to WAWS, which will become a secondary UPN affiliate. Clear Channel will be able to promote the switch on the seven Jacksonville radio stations it owns and the four with which it has joint sales agreements, in addition to its outdoor assets.

“We’re not going to miss a beat in Jacksonville,” said a statement from Les Moonves, president of CBS, which had been at a two-year impasse with WJXT, an affiliate of more than 50 years that was among the network’s most powerful in the country, over compensation and related issues.

Clear Channel Television President Bill Moll said the plan is to build on “exciting synergistic opportunities created by this new partnership.”

Post-Newsweek announced April 3 that it would virtually double news production at WJXT, the dominant station in the market, in addition to adding programming from other sources.

While CBS/UPN and Clear Channel were working out the details of the Jacksonville switch, the two entities also signed “long-term” affiliation agreements that will keep seven other Clear Channel-owned or -operated stations as primary UPN affiliate.

Extending their UPN relationship are: WLMT-TV, Memphis, Tenn.; KASN-TV, Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; KTFO-TV, Tulsa, Okla.; WJTC-TV, Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla., and WMTU-TV in Jackson, Tenn.; all owned by Clear Channel. The new deal also includes SJL-owned WLYH-TV Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa.; and Mercury Broadcasting-owned KSCC-TV Wichita-Hutchinson, Kan.; which are operated by Clear Channel under local marketing agreements.

O’Donnell to host ‘Survivor’ reunion special: Rosie O’Donnell, who is giving up her daytime syndicated talk show next month, will host CBS’s “Survivor: Marquesas” reunion special to be broadcast live from New York’s Central Park at 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday, May 19. CBS has also confirmed that the sole survivor will be revealed live during the two-hour finale of the fourth “Survivor” series at 8 o’clock that night.

Ms. O’Donnell, who has interviewed each week’s “Survivor: Marquesas” castoff on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” (distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution) will be making her own adieu on May 22. As reported in Electronic Media (April 22), Ms. O’Donnell has been rumored to be a candidate to take over the center square next season on “Hollywood Squares,” which is syndicated by Viacom-owned King World Productions.

Prior to the reunion special, “Survivor: Marquesas” will conclude with the live announcement of the sole survivor at Donald Trump’s Wollman Rink in Manhattan’s Central Park. With the votes having been sealed since the 39th day of the show’s production, the winner will be revealed as a continuation of the final tribal council that took place on the island of Nuku Hiva, a distant neighbor of Tahiti in the South Pacific.In its fourth edition, “Survivor: Marquesas” appears to have some of the reality series’ past mass audience allure, although the second and third incarnations showed some signs of expected erosion. Compared to last fall’s run of “Survivor: Africa,” “Marquesas” is up 8 percent in adults 18 to 49 (8.6/23 vs. 8.0/20), 8 percent in viewers (21.4 million vs. 19.8 million), 5 percent in households (12.0 rating/19 share vs. 11.4/18), and 10 percent in adults 25 to 54 (9.7/24 vs. 8.8/20).

Toobin joins CNN: Jeffrey Toobin has become CNN’s legal analyst. Mr. Toobin, the former assistant U.S. attorney turned author who had been a contributor at ABC News for more than five years, will be based in CNN’s New York bureau. He starts Monday, just in time to comment on the murder case Los Angeles police are building against actor Robert Blake.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications