Powell down on electronics makers
Beating on his bully pulpit, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell today publicly slapped consumer electronics manufacturers for failing to embrace his voluntary plan to spur the rollout of digital television. In April Mr. Powell asked all the industries with a major stake in the DTV transition to voluntarily share the rollout pain. He specifically asked consumer electronics manufacturers to begin including digital tuners in many new TV sets. In a press release today, Mr. Powell said virtually all the other industries involved-including cable operators, broadcasters and direct broadcast satellite operations-had either fully endorsed his initiative or otherwise committed to advancing the transition. “The missing piece of the DTV puzzle is the consumer electronics industry,” Mr. Powell said in his press release. “I hope they will join their industry colleagues and come forward with real and tangible commitments to advance the transition,” Mr. Powell added. At deadline representatives of the Consumer Electronics Association had not returned telephone calls.
NBC sets ‘Love Shack’: NBC is going to launch its fourth reality series, “Love Shack,” with a special preview at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) Monday, Aug. 26, coming out of its top-ranked summer hit “Dog Eat Dog.” A second installment of the limited six-episode order for “Love Shack” will then move into its regular 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. Tuesday time slot Aug. 27.
“Love Shack,” previously known under the working title of “Single Guys,” will center on a single man and woman who will move into a Southern California mansion on a quest to find true love. The two singles will be introduced to two members of the opposite sex and will live with them and date them for four days. After that the principal housemates will decide who will stay and who will leave the “love shack.” Another potential love match then will move in. In the sixth and final episode, one couple will win a year lease on their very own love nest.
Casting for contestants is currently under way in San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Santa Barbara. Howard Schultz executive produces for Lighthearted Entertainment and NBC Studios.
‘Big Brother’ topples ‘Idol’: CBS’s relaunch of the third edition of “Big Brother” became the first series to beat Fox’s hit summer reality series “American Idol” in total viewers and households on Wednesday night in the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. time slot.
“Big Brother” posted top-ranked scores among households (6.0 rating/11 share), total viewers (9.0 million) and adults 25 to 54 (4.2/11), according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data. In the early returns, “American Idol” edged out “BB3” among adults 18 to 49 (4.0/12 vs. 3.9/12), but CBS researchers said final national data released Thursday afternoon had the two shows tied with 4.1/12 averages.
It was a tight race for the Big 4 broadcast networks for the night in adults 18 to 49. Fox managed a tie with NBC’s repeat lineup at 3.0 rating averages while CBS came in a close third (2.9/9). ABC-whose original run of reality series “State v.” scored modest adults 18 to 49 results (2.8/8)-came in fourth for the night (2.6/8) in the key demo.
‘Ex-treme Dating’ cleared in eight markets: Twentieth Television has made the first clearances for its upcoming dating strip “Ex-treme Dating” with eight metered markets on board for a summer run beginning July 29: New York (WWOR-TV) and Los Angeles (KCOP-TV) as well as stations in Washington, Houston, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Baltimore. The series will follow couples on their dream date with a perfectly profiled match. However, there’s is one string attached: Throughout the date, the participants’ exes will be able provide intimate details to each “datee” as they watch the date progress.
Telepictures Productions elevates Estey McLoughlin: Hilary Estey McLoughlin has been promoted to executive VP and general manager of Telepictures Productions, with day-to-day operations. Before her promotion, Estey McLoughlin served as senior VP, programming and development, a post she was promoted to in February 1999. Before that, she was VP of Programming, following 18 months as an executive producer of “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.”
Fischer promoted at “Meet the Press”: Betsy Fischer, who first worked for NBC’s “Meet the Press” as a college intern a decade ago, has been named executive producer of the powerful Sunday newsmaker show hosted by Tim Russert. Ms. Fischer has been senior producer of “Meet” and NBC News’ political and polling unit since 1998.
Mr. Russert described her career path as a “meteoric rise” from intern to researcher in 1992 to senior producer, a role that made her Mr. Russert’s producer throughout the long 2000 election season.
“I am delighted we can promote from within,” said NBC News President Neal Shapiro.
Nancy Nathan, who has been at the helm of “Meet” for five years, will be executive producer of “The Chris Matthews Show” that is being produced by NBC News for syndication by NBC Enterprises this fall. “We’re coming, and the weekends are not going to be the same or as quiet as they were,” said Mr. Matthews, who continues as a centerpiece of MSNBC’s prime-time lineup.
Ms. Nathan, who will continue as director of NBC News’ polling unit, joined NBC News in Washington in the mid-’80s after having been a producer for “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” an attorney for the Federal Election Commission and an attorney and editor for the U.S. Catholic Conference.
The changes take effect July 22.
White House nominates Adelstein for FCC seat: The White House yesterday sent to the Senate the nomination of Jonathan Adelstein for a Democratic Federal Communications Commission seat, clearing the way for possible confirmation. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., vowed to block Mr. Adelstein’s nomination in March, after Senate Democrats refused to confirm the appointment of one of Sen. Lott’s longtime friends-U.S. District Court Judge Charles Pickering-to the federal appeals court. A spokesman for Sen. Lott has not returned telephone calls.