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Aug 19, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen to update estimates

Nielsen Media Research will release updated national universe estimates for the 2001-2002 season on Sept. 1. Those estimates are derived from new U.S. Census Bureau data, compiled in the 2000 census but only released last March, as the season was drawing to a close.

Those estimates are expected to include increases in certain crucial younger demos, according to an insider, and, in certain cases, might prompt the re-opening of make-good negotiations between agencies and networks.

Certain networks could use the updated data to claim they did not under-deliver in the promised younger demos. Nielsen, of course, is only the messenger when it comes to demographic and other data and would not itself be a party to any network-advertiser negotiations or re-negotiations.

Nielsen also will issue universe estimates for the upcoming 2002-2003 season based on the new Census Bureau data. Those estimates are scheduled to be released later this month.

NBC orders ‘A.U.S.A.’:Twentieth Century Fox Television’s “A.U.S.A.” sitcom has been given a 13-episode midseason pickup from NBC. The series, originally developed for a fall 2002 launch and subsequently slated for reshooting, was created by Rich Appel, a former writer-producer on “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill,” and stars Scott Foley, formerly of The WB’s “Felicity,” as a young lawyer joining the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York.

While NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker had previously said he liked what he saw of “A.U.S.A.’s” original pilot in single-camera form, he later said at the Television Critics Association press tour that he wanted to see the pilot reshot in a “broader” multicamera format. Mr. Appel undertook reshooting of the sitcom last month, then delivered a finished cut of the pilot to NBC.

No time period has been set as NBC will likely be looking at holes to plug in its schedule by early next year.

ATAS announces Hall of Famers: The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will induct comedians Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, actress Jean Stapleton, writer-producer-director Bud Yorkin, costume designer Bob Mackie and the late director John Frankenheimer into the ATAS Hall of Fame.

The 15th annual induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, Nov. 6, at a black tie gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. The event is co-sponsored by Turner Network Television (TNT) and produced by Don Weiner and Carla Patterson. Stephen Pouliot will write and Steve Binder is executive producer.

Fox tops among Hispanics: Fox, with a 4.2 rating, was the No. 1 English-language network in prime time among Hispanic households during the past season, followed closely by NBC (4.0) and ABC (3.9), according to data compiled by Initiative Media’s research department. CBS and UPN tied for fourth place with a 3.2 rating, and The WB trailed with a 2.8. Among Spanish-language nets, Univision led with a 20.1 rating, followed by Telemundo (5.5) and the new Univision network Telefutura (2.1).

What makes these figures increasingly important to programmers and advertisers is that the median age of the Hispanic population (28.8) is a decade younger than that of the overall TV population (37.0). While Hispanics currently make up around 10 percent of all TV viewers, they represent 20 percent of the teen and children’s populations, according to IM.

4Kids special previews Saturday lineup: Licensing giant 4Kids Entertainment is going to give kids a chance to discover what’s inside this fall’s Saturday kids lineup, the Fox Box, in a half-hour special to air on Fox Sunday, Sept. 1 (7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., ET). “What’s Inside the Fox Box?” will be hosted by Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega, stars of newly-released “Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams” motion picture.

The special will give a sneak peak at the 8 a.m-noon Saturday lineup of animated and live-action series programming to premiere Sept. 14. The kids programming includes such series as “Kirby: Right Back At Ya!” (based on the Nintendo video game) and “Stargate: Infinity.”

As part of the $101.6 million-plus, four-year licensing deal (with options up to be extended up to six years), 4Kids Entertainment’s time buy of Fox’s weekend morning time slots also extracted promotional concessions from the network, including an annual prime-time preview special to tout each fall’s premiering kids programming block.

Fullam new Infinity president: Former Clear Channel radio executive John Fullam has been named president and COO of Infinity Broadcasting. Mr. Fullam was most recently a Clear Channel senior regional VP overseeing 40 radio stations in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Detroit and Boston. He is known for having turned around New York’s WKTU-FM and WHTZ-FM and for leading a task force whose assignment was the consolidation of radio, outdoor, music and theater. He will report to Infinity Chairman and CEO John Sykes. Mr. Fullam succeeds Dan Mason, who will be a consultant to Infinity.

Doctor replacing Cheatwood at WCBS: Joel Cheatwood’s role within the Viacom Television Stations Group has been reduced. The man who has been executive VP of news for the stations group as well as news director at flagship station WCBS-TV in New York for some two years now will oversee news research and special projects for the group.

Replacing him as head of the news operations at WCBS is Dianne Doctor, who has been named VP and news director of the flagship station.

New WCBS General Manager Lew Leone, who worked with Ms. Doctor at New York’s WNBC-TV, said, “She is a proven news executive who played a key role in leading NewsChannel 4 to the top of the ratings in New York.” Both Ms. Doctor and Mr. Leone worked for new Viacom stations Chief Operating Officer Dennis Swanson at WNBC.

Ms. Doctor was VP and news director at WNBC for nearly two years but was expected to chafe at WNBC’s recent decision to bring back Dan Forman, her former No. 2, as her boss at the NBC flagship station after he spent a couple of years as news director at WABC-TV in New York.

Meanwhile, Mr. Forman, the senior VP of news and station manager at WNBC, will oversee the NBC station’s news efforts until a new news director is named.

NBC’s Wright to receive Golden Mike: Bob Wright, chairman of NBC and vice-chairman of General Electric, has been selected by the board of directors of the Broadcasters’ Foundation as the 2003 recipient of the Golden Mike Award honoring outstanding contributions to radio and television.

Edward F. McLaughlin, chairman of the Broadcasters’ Foundation, cited the 16-year NBC chief as an “innovator and a visionary who embodies the best of the great traditions of NBC and the broadcasting industry.”

Mr. Wright will receive the award at the Broadcasters’ Foundation annual black-tie gala at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2003, at New York’s Plaza Hotel.

Previous Golden Mike recipients include National Association of Broadcasters President Eddie Fritts, Hubbard Broadcasting Chairman/CEO Stanley Hubbard, Clear Channel Communications founder and Chairman Lowry Mays, and 2002 recipients Cathy Hughes and Alfred C. Liggins, III of Radio One.

Danson, Wolf to be honored: The Museum of Television & Radio will honor actor Ted Danson and “Law & Order” creator-producer Dick Wolf at its annual gala in Los Angeles at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel on Sept. 29. The MT&R’s annual galas, which are held at different times in Los Angeles and New York, benefit the museum’s various programs such as education and the preservation of television and radio programs and advertisements.