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Apr 29, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Dan Rather re-ups with CBS through ’06

Dan Rather will remain at CBS through at least 2006 under a contract extension that is about to be signed. The development was first reported by the New York Daily News. Mr. Rather’s contract is not up until next year, but a source familiar with his habits said Mr. Rather prefers to wrap up his contracts early.

As with the current $7 million a year contract, the new one makes no guarantee about how much longer Mr. Rather, 69, might remain the anchor of “CBS Evening News,” of which he is also managing editor. Someone familiar with the feelings on both sides said neither management nor the peripatetic Mr. Rather, who also reports for “60 Minutes II” and who reports for and anchors “48 Hours,” is pushing for an arbitrary timetable determining when he steps back from the “Evening News” desk he’s occupied since 1981.

CBS victorious on first Sunday night of May sweeps: CBS scored broad household, total viewer and adults 18 to 49 demo wins on the first Sunday of the May sweeps, with Part 1 of its 9 p.m.-to-11 p.m. (ET) miniseries “Living With the Dead” scaring up the most youthful and older adults demos on the evening for the Eye Network.

The first installment of the two-part miniseries, starring Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, scored impressive wins in the adults 18 to 49 (5.7 rating/13 share) and adults 25 to 54 demos (6.7/14) over ABC’s airing of “The Sixth Sense” and NBC’s special two-hour “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” series, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data.

CBS researchers said the bow of “Living With the Dead” was the highest rated movie on a Sunday evening since last November’s airing of “Surviving Gilligan’s Island.”

Additionally, “Dead,” which is based on James Van Praagh’s autobiographical novel about his purported ability to contact the deceased, gave CBS wins in households (10.3/16) and total viewers (15.9 million) over the two-hour span.

During the same frame, NBC’s “Law & Order: CI” tied with ABC’s last two hours of “Sixth Sense” for competitive second-place positions in adults 18 to 49 (both at 4.9/12 averages) while “L&O” had the advantage in households (9.2/14 vs. 7.1/11) and total viewers (14.3 million vs. 11.2 million). The two-hour Part 2 of “Living with the Dead” comes to life at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

For its full 8 p.m.-to-11 p.m. run, “The Sixth Sense’s” 4.3/10 score edged out NBC’s 4.2/10 in adults 18 to 49, which included “Weakest Link’s” fourth-ranked 2.9/8 average for the 8 p.m. hour.

Typical to form, Fox’s opening 7 p.m.-to-9 p.m. sitcom block — a repeat of “The Simpsons (3.4/11) and originals of “King of the Hill” (4.0/12), “The Simpsons” (6.1/17) and “Malcolm in the Middle” (5.9/15) — won each half-hour frame in adults 18 to 49. However, the series-ending run of “The X-Files” continued to lose some steam during the 9 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49 (4.4/10), dropping 25 percent of its previous hour’s lead-in.

For the night, CBS came in a near-dead heat with Fox in adults 18 to 49 (4.7/12 vs. 4.7/13), but the Eye Network also ran away with households (10.5/17) and total viewers (15.9 million). NBC came in second in households (7.3/12), total viewers (10.9 million) and adults 18 to 49 (4.0/10). Meanwhile, Fox edged out ABC in households (5.9/10 vs. 5.7/9), total viewers (10.4 million vs. 8.8 million) and in adults 18 to 49 (4.7/13 vs. 3.7/10).

CAA, Kmart team on marketing programs: Creative Artists Agency, one of the leading Hollywood talent agencies, has signed a deal with retail giant Kmart Corp. to provide entertainment-related marketing strategies and brand-building programs to the 103-year-old retailer. Kmart joins Coca-Cola, Motorola and Boeing, among other major marketers, who look to CAA for entertainment-related marketing strategies and programs.

CAA said Kmart will look to the talent agency to “identify and capitalize on entertainment-based initiatives in film, television, music and video games as they relate to Kmart’s existing marketing efforts and exclusive core brands.”

Kmart recently launched a comprehensive, new brand positioning campaign including commercials directed by Academy Award nominee Spike Lee. The commercials, featuring the tagline “Kmart. The Stuff of Life,” focus on how Kmart’s brands, convenience and value, “meet the needs and wants of American families every day of their lives.”

HBO renews ‘Six Feet Under’: “Six Feet Under,” HBO’s unlikely dramatic hit about a family of Los Angeles undertakers, has been renewed for a third 13-episode season. The critically acclaimed series was created by Alan Ball (“American Beauty”) and is produced in association with the Greenblatt Janollari Studios. The executive producers are Alan Ball, Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari and Alan Poul.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications