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Jul 31, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Wednesday, July 31

ABC News all the time

Viewers who want to catch ABC News programs after they’ve aired now have two ways to do it. ABC News on Demand, a service being launched today by ABCNews.com, will make all or part of ABC News programs available the day after broadcast for a monthly charge of $4.95. “World News Tonight,” “Nightline” and “Nightline UpClose” are available in their entirety and are archived for 30 days. Also available on demand will be selected news segments and celebrity interviews and music performances from “Good Morning America,” so-called “producer’s cuts” from ABC News magazine shows and excerpts from news specials, along with some radio broadcasts and “Best of ‘Nightline'” segments.

As for the “World News Now” cult that watches its favorite overnight news show from different perspectives live via the Web, they’ll now have to fork over that $4.95 a month. The live webcast no longer will be free and ABC’s quirky newscast won’t be archived. Meanwhile, ABC News material will continue to be available as part of the $9.95-a-month “RealOne SuperPass” package that bundles content from a variety of sources.

AOL Time Warner probe could extend beyond online division: Some industry analysts are concerned that the Department of Justice probe AOL Time Warner confirmed in a statement today could expand past its America Online division and its revenue accounting. Like a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry AOL Time Warner acknowledged last week, the Justice probe was prompted by questions about aggressive accounting practices at the AOL unit raised by The Washington Post. Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen, in a note to clients today, said, “We are not 100 percent sure the investigation is contained purely at the AOL division.” AOL Time Warner stock was down more than 7 percent to about $11.50 a share at midday today and is down more than 60 percent for the year.

P&G gives Hollywood a Tremor: Creative Artists Agency has announced that it is now representing Tremor, a new teen marketing initiative from packaged-goods giant Procter & Gamble. Through its new relationship with P&G, CAA will work with other outside entertainment companies and consumer brand marketers to integrate Tremor into marketing initiatives aimed at a youth-oriented market.

Procter & Gamble joins Coca-Cola, Motorola, Boeing and the Indy Racing League as marketers looking to CAA for entertainment-related marketing strategies and programs. The impetus behind Tremor, CAA said in a statement, is to offer a “powerful tool for CAA’s corporate and individual clients seeking to test or promote an idea, service or product within the teen market.”

The WB kicks ‘Black Sash’ into midseason rotation: The WB has formally placed a midseason series order on “The Black Sash,” which stars Russell Wong (“Romeo Must Die”) as an ex-cop who moonlights as a bounty hunter while operating a dojo in San Francisco. A pilot had already been shot and The WB has ordered six more episodes from series producers Tollin/Robbins Productions and Warner Bros. Television. A network spokesman said The WB is tentatively looking at an early 2003 start date for “The Black Sash.” In prepping the show for continued production, Carlton Cuse, a veteran producer from CBS’s “Nash Bridges” and “Martial Law,” has been tied into “Black Sash” as an executive producer. He is joined by Mike Tollins, Brian Robbins, Dylan Sellers and Joe Davola as executive producers. Robert Kamen is writer and executive producer.The WB also confirmed that the revival of “The Lone Ranger” is still in consideration. The pilot will air as a two-hour movie presentation next season.

The remake of the original cowboy classic, which first aired on TV from 1949 to 1965 with Clayton Moore in the saddle, now stars Chad Michael Murray as the Lone Ranger and Nathaniel Arcand as his sidekick Tonto. The new “Lone Ranger” project comes from former WB Entertainment President Susanne Daniels and her recently formed Primarily Entertainment, which is a co-production partner with the similarly nascent Turner Television, headed up by John Litvack.

MTV, Nick eyeing China: Sumner Redstone, Viacom chairman and CEO, is in Beijing, where he is expected to make a pitch for cable carriage of MTV and Nickelodeon to the Chinese leadership, according to a report by the Reuters wire service. Currently, MTV’s Mandarin-language service has limited visibility in China. One key to the market is the southern province of Guangdong, a thriving area with a huge urban population and a well-developed mercantile infrastructure. Both AOL Time Warner and News Corp. have Asian operations that are now available in Guangdong, and that’s where Viacom wants to be, too. The rapidly growing Chinese cable television market is estimated at about 100 million households.

‘Idol’ reaches top of the summer charts: Chalk up Fox’s “American Idol” as the most popular series of this summer, so far. Last night’s live edition turned in the highest summer ratings in the key adults 18 to 49 demographic of any broadcast network series. “Idol” scored highs for the summer and night in adults 18 to 49 (6.2 rating/18 share), adults 18 to 34 (7.3/22) and total viewers (12.0 million), according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data. During the hour, “American Idol” held a commanding 77 percent margin of victory among adults 18 to 49 over ABC’s capable “Mole 2: The Next Betrayal” (3.5/10).

The strong performance of “Idol” handed Fox — for the first time in the network’s 15-year history — its eighth consecutive weekly Tuesday win of the adults 18 to 49 demo (4.6/16), this time by a commanding 48 percent margin over second-place NBC (3.1/10).

WWE sets up movie banner: World Wrestling Entertainment is going Hollywood, establishing WWE Films, a new Los Angeles-based division that will focus on expanding the wrestling brand with new TV and theatrical-feature projects. Producer Joel Simon, formerly president of Quincy Jones Media Group and Quincy Jones/David Salzman Productions, will head the new division. WWE will self-finance both overhead and project development costs.

Producers Guild sponsoring animation panel: The Producers Guild of America is sponsoring a Hollywood industry seminar titled “Producing Animation in the 21st Century” on Aug. 17 at the Walt Disney Feature Animation Southside Theatre, 2100 Riverside Drive, Burbank, Calif. The panel discussion will be led by Catherine Winder, co-author of “Producing Animation.”

Ms. Winder was an executive at Fox on the movie “Ice Age” and at HBO, where she set up an animation studio and produced the critically acclaimed animated series “Spawn.” Panelists will be such creative executives and producers as Don Hahn (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King”); Lori Forte (“Toy Story,” “Runaway Brain”); John Walker (“The Iron Giant,” “Osmosis Jones”); Richard Raynis (Fox’s “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill” and “Futurama”); Stephen Fossati, co-founder of Chuck Jones Film Productions; Obie Scott Wade, a development consultant for Disney TV Animation; Joel Kuwahara, a producer on Kids’ WB!’s upcoming “Mucho Lucha” series; and Charles Grosvenor, a producer of “The Pink Panther” and “The Smurfs” and producer-director of “The Land Before Time” movie cartoons.

To attend the Aug. 17 seminar and PGA panel, starting at 9:30 a.m. PT, or for further information, call (310) 358-9020, Ext. 101.

WE green-lights game show: WE: Women’s Entertainment has given the production green light to 65 episodes of “Spend It Fast.” The shopping-spree game show, which will be stripped weekdays beginning this fall, is from Telepictures Productions and Atlas Media Productions.#