Briefly Noted

Jun 10, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Upton, Tauzin ask for repeal of cross-ownership
Two influential House lawmakers urged the Federal Communications Commission last week to repeal the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule, which prohibits the common ownership of a daily newspaper and a broadcast station in the same market. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House telecommunications subcommittee, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., said the growth of media since 1975, when the rule was adopted, makes it obsolete. “We believe this explosion of media sources should eliminate any concern regarding a lack of diversity of views in the marketplace and competition, which have been [among] the principal justifications for the rule,” they wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell. The letter comes less than two weeks after Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., and two other Senate Democrats raised very different concerns in a letter to Powell. The Democrats said they’re worried about media concentration and lack of program diversity and asked the agency to prepare a report on the issue.
`Push, Nevada’ attracting advertiser interest
Three big advertising/product placement deals for ABC’s fall series “Push, Nevada” are imminent, with one of them expected to be the deal for OMD USA’s client Pepsi Cola. That deal is worth just under $10 million, according to an insider. Already in “Push” is an auto company, which, in addition to spots, will be getting visibility in the show’s tie-in games for viewers at home and online. Those games are proving to be catnip for some advertisers, looking for new ways to get customers in their stores, in front of their products or on their Web sites. “Push” is from LivePlanet, the product-integration-minded production company founded by actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, among others.
ABC Family goes for `Last Resort’
ABC Family has picked up “The Last Resort,” Buena Vista’s new half-hour “relationship reality” miniseries. ABC Family will telecast “Resort” over five consecutive weeknights in August. “Resort” tracks four couples, all “at a crossroads,” who have been sent to a tropical resort. The series was produced by Fisher Entertainment in association with Wheeler/Sussman Productions, and executive produced by Sharon Sussman, Burt Wheeler, Alan Winters and Mark Stendal. It was shot on location in Hawaii at the Kona Village Resort.
Family forum to fund three new series
The Family Friendly Programming Forum, a consortium of more than 40 major advertisers, has given its seal of approval to funding three new series-two comedies and a drama-destined for broadcast networks’ fall 2002 schedules. The Forum, which was founded three years ago and put its initial dollars behind the script development of The WB’s acclaimed “Gilmore Girls” drama, has its Script Development Initiative funding behind The WB’s “Family Affair” (8 p.m. ET Thursday) and ABC’s “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” (8 p.m. Tuesday) sitcoms. Initial pilot script funding also is going to NBC’s hour-long drama “American Dreams” (8 p.m. Sunday).
CNBC unveils prime-time lineup
“The News With Brian Williams” will become a CNBC-only newscast at 7 p.m. July 15. On the same night, CNBC will unveil a new prime-time lineup that will move around CNBC regulars without canceling any shows. “The News” will continue to repeat on CNBC at 10 o’clock weeknights. The new lineup will position “Kudlow & Cramer” from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and will split the hour on Friday between “Kudlow & Cramer” and “Louis Rukeyser’s Wall Street.” Rotating through the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. hour will be “Market Week With Maria Bartiromo” on Monday, “Capital Report With Alan Murray and Tyler Mathisen” on Tuesday through Thursday and “WSJ Editorial Board With Stuart Varney” on Friday. There was no word about what would take Mr. Williams’ place at 7 p.m. on MSNBC, where a prime-time rearrangement is scheduled to coincide with the mid-July debut of the new Phil Donahue show.
Short takes
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has hired David Krone as its new executive VP, effective July 1, replacing Peggy Binzel. Mr. Krone, currently executive VP for the YES Network in New York, was NCTA’s executive VP from October 1999 through January 2000. … Comedy Central passed the 80 million-subscriber milestone by adding more than 500,000 subscribers in May and more than 8 million in the past year. Nielsen now pegs the network’s universe at 80,100,000. The network projects 82 million subscribers by the end of 2002. … Oxygen Media will telecast weekly Women’s National Basketball Association games as part of a two-year agreement with the WNBA that will bring a minimum of 11 WNBA games to the cable channel in 2002. … Showtime has renewed “Queer as Folk,” its controversial look at the lives of a group of gay men and lesbians, for two more years and 32 episodes.