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Aug 21, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Gurin, Carlton, Action Time form pact

The Gurin Company, co-producer of NBC’s “Weakest Link,” has entered into a joint creative venture with U.K-based production companies Carlton Television and Action Time to develop and produce reality and game show TV series.

The joint venture follows a May 2002 deal among the companies to develop the dating series “It’s A Love Thing” and the “extreme” reality/game show “Ransacked.” As part of the new non-exclusive joint development venture, Gurin and Carlton will be developing formats for both the U.S. and U.K. markets, utilizing both of their TV slates.

“Our association with Action Time has worked extremely well, as we have both benefited from the depth of our creative backgrounds, and we are excited about expanding our relationship with the Carlton family, a premier player in the worldwide television marketplace,” Gurin Company President Phil Gurin said in a prepared statement.

Rae forms production company: Ian Rae, most recently executive VP of Fox News Channel and a longtime key news executive at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., has formed a new production banner, Ian Rae Communications.

Mr. Rae’s New York-based company, billed as a “TV incubator/consultancy,” counts Fox News Channel as its first client and has a first-look deal to develop new TV properties. Additionally, the veteran Australian-born journalist is offering his company’s services to advise political and corporate clients on how to deal with the news media.

Mr. Rae is best known for co-creating (along with Peter Brennan) one of TV’s first tabloid news programs, “A Current Affair,” a first-run syndication hit for Fox from 1986-96. He began his career as a “cadet” reporter for the Sydney Sun in his native Australia at age 16.

WB will air some fall shows in HD: The WB is getting into high-definition broadcasting for the first time. Five hours of The WB’s 2002-03 lineup will be broadcast in high-definition digital format. The designated shows are: “Family Affair” (debuts Sept. 12), “Everwood” (Sept. 16), “Reba” (Sept. 20) and “Smallville” (Sept. 24). “Everwood,” the much anticipated family drama starring Treat Williams and sophomore hit “Smallville” will repeat Sundays in HDTV.

The high definition broadcasts will be available in more than 30 markets, which represents nearly half of the country.

“The cinematic scope of our programs lends itself to this vibrant format,” WB Television Network President Jed Petrick said. “We look forward to expanding high-definition delivery in the future.”

Stahl working double-time: CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl will do double duty this season. She’s been named the anchor of “48 Hours Investigates,” an assignment in addition to her reporting full-time for “60 Minutes.” Ms. Stahl succeeds “Evening News” anchor and “60 Minutes II” correspondent Dan Rather as the iconic presence on “48 Hours,” which is going into its 16th season with a new on-air look and a focus on “high-impact” stories ranging from unsolved crimes to intricate scams.

Huston cast in ‘Dragnet’ remake: Danny Huston, the 40-year-old son of late directing legend John Huston, has been signed as the star of Dick Wolf’s revived version of the classic crime serial “Dragnet,” scheduled to premiere in January 2003 in ABC’s 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. Monday time slot.

Universal Network Television’s announcement said Mr. Huston will play one of two “lead” roles. A studio spokesman declined to say whether that means the two lead characters from the original series, Los Angeles detectives Joe Friday and Bill Gannon, will return for the new series.

“Dragnet” is a production of Wolf Films in association with Universal Network Television. Mr. Wolf, Peter Jankowski and Walon Green are executive producers. Robert Nathan, Kevin Hooks and Arthur Forney serve as co-executive producers.

‘Idol’ continues to climb: It’s officially fair for Fox to brag that its “American Idol” talent search is the biggest breakout ratings hit of the summer.

Beating its own previous summer 2002 records, “Idol’s” 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. telecast last night hit new highs in adults 18 to 49 (7.8 rating/21 share), adults 18 to 34 (9.1/27) and total viewers (15.1 million), according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research fast national data. Since its debut on June 11, “American Idol’s” latest Tuesday numbers represent overall growth tracks of 63 percent among adults 18 to 49 (4.8/14 vs. 7.8/21), 47 percent in adults 18 to 34 (6.2/19 vs. 9.1/27) and 54 percent in total viewers (9.8 million vs. 15.1 million).

“Idol’s” latest outing represented Fox’s largest adults 18 to 49 ratings in more than a year and a half, and its largest count in total viewers in almost one year — outside of the Super Bowl XXXVI telecast and the postgame special airing of “Malcolm in the Middle” last February. The limited-run reality series, which is counting down to its grand finale on Sept. 4, drew an 8.6/14 average household rating last night, a 16 percent increase over its previous telecast Aug. 13 (7.4/12).

As expected “Idol” held a 179 percent margin of victory among adults 18 to 49 over ABC’s second week’s repurposed airing of “Monk,” which turned in a second-ranked 2.8/8 average in key demo during the 9 p.m. hour. The demo score represented an encouraging 8 percent growth over its previous premiere outing on ABC (2.6/7). Furthermore, “Monk’s” 8.5 million total viewer average registered a healthy 20 percent week to week increase (from 7.1 million) while its 5.7/9 household score was also up 16 percent (from a 4.6/8).

Cable networks to simulcast Sept. 11 spot: A 30-second public service announcement saluting the heroes and victims of last year’s terrorist attacks will be roadblocked as a tribute by more than a dozen cable networks Sept. 11 at 8 p.m.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association will provide copies of the PSA to cable multiple system operators for use in advertising avails in the days following the simulcast.

For more information about the tribute, NCTA members can contact the NCTA at 202-775-3680.

Kids’ WB! announces new lineup: Kids’ WB!, the highest-rated children’s TV programmer in the boys 6 to 11 demographic, has formally unveiled its new Saturday morning and weekday schedules for the 2002-03 season.

The Saturday morning lineup kicks off Sept. 14. The weekday programming launches Sept. 16. Here’s a breakdown of Kids’ WB!’s Saturday and weekday lineups:

SATURDAY

8 a.m. — “Yu-Gi-Oh!

8:30 a.m. — “What’s New Scooby-Doo?”*

9 a.m. — “Jackie Chan Adventures”

9:30 a.m. — “Ozzy & Drix”*

10 a.m. — “Pokemon: Master Quest”

10:30 a.m. — “°Mucha Lucha!”* (premiered Aug. 17)

11 a.m. — “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

11:30 a.m. — “X-Men: Evolution”

MONDAY-FRIDAY

3 p.m. — “Scooby-Doo” (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday)*/”Rescue Heroes: Global Response Team” (Wednesday)

3:30 p.m. — “Jackie Chan Adventures”

4 p.m. — “Pokemon”

4:30 p.m. — “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

*Denotes new series

NBC slates preview show: NBC will air “The NBC Fall Preview Show,” a special looking at the network’s new and returning series, on Saturday, Sept. 7 (8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., ET). The half-hour program will be hosted by Jill Hennessy, star of NBC’s “Crossing Jordan” drama.

Produced by the network’s in-house NBC Agency promotions department and Apogee Productions, the special will accent changes in many of the Peacock Network’s returning series and will include flashbacks to last season’s finale cliffhangers and time-period shifts. The program will also be available for broadcast at various alternative dates and times on most of NBC’s 227 affiliate stations.