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Aug 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Osborne wants to pull Fox interview

Revived rocker Ozzy Osbourne ‘s lawyers claim he was interviewed by Greta Van Susteren under false pretenses and have demanded that Fox pull the heavily promoted interview scheduled to air in part on Fox Broadcasting’s “The Pulse” at 10 o’clock tonight and at greater length on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren” Friday. Osbourne also complains that he did not give Fox the right to promote the interview as “exclusive.”

Fox News has kissed off the Osbourne complaint as “without merit.”

A Fox News spokesman said, “We plan on running the interview in its entirety tomorrow night.”

Mr. Osbourne, whose career and profile was resurrected when MTV turned his family’s day-to-day lives into a hit reality series, complains that he agreed to be interviewed for what he would be a collection of celebrity interviews about Elvis Presley on the 25th anniversary of his death, Aug. 16.

A source familiar with the situation said that Mr. Presley is little mentioned in the interview, which was taped Aug. 15. It ran long enough to fill an hour and includes Mr. Osbourne’s emotional comments about wife Sharon’s recently diagnosed colon cancer.

There was speculation Thursday that the Osbourne maneuver was motivated by a commitment made to ABC News’ Barbara Walters for an exclusive sit-down.

“It is our policy not to talk about interviews,” said a spokeswoman for Ms. Walters.

NBC denies cutback in Olympics coverage: NBC Sports is calling published reports that it plans fewer hours of Olympics programming from Athens in 2004 than it allotted to the Sydney Games in 2000 “erroneous.” “We actually have more hours scheduled on NBC and cable, plus the addition of Telemundo,” a spokesman said.

Telemundo alone is expected to get 90 to 100 hours of Olympics programming, which will be above and beyond the coverage slated for NBC, MSNBC and CNBC.

“We’ll distribute the Olympics to a larger and wider audience,” said the NBC Sports spokesman, who noted that meetings to finalize programming schedules are “a long way away.”

Fox acquires Chicago UPN affiliate: Fox Television Stations has completed the $425 million acquisition of UPN affiliate WPWR-TV in Chicago from Chicago-based Newsweb Corp. Fox now has duopolies in the top three markets, nine UPN affiliates, one independent and 25 Fox stations.

As planned, Al DeVaney stepped down as general manager of WPWR, which he ran for 14 years. The duopoly will be managed by Stacey Marks-Bronner, the VP and general manager of Fox’s WFLD-TV.

Nielsen adds census data to market estimates: Nielsen Media Research’s market-by-market estimates for the new season are going out to clients. These are the projections on which local market ratings will be based, and they are the first to fully incorporate 2000 census data.

Although the top 10 markets maintain their relative rankings (New York leading, followed by Los Angeles and Chicago), there are clear and significant population shifts in major DMAs that will affect the TV business in the season to come. Topline conclusions from the estimates and Nielsen’s analysis of the data include the following:

The population of people living in “group quarters” (e.g., correctional institutions, nursing homes and juvenile institutions) has grown substantially and contributed significantly in the calculation of the new universe estimates.

A higher than normal number of geographic areas are showing a decline in total households from the 2002 projections. Of the 3,141 U.S. counties, 756 (or 24 percent) showed a decline when the 2002 and 2003 household projections were compared. Of these 756 counties that declined in total households, 364 counties (or 12 percent of all U.S. counties) declined by 3 percent or more.

At the DMA level, 42 markets (20 percent) of the 210 declined in terms of total households from 2002 to 2003. Of these, 12 markets lost a county in an assignment change to another DMA and experienced a decline in total households. Another two markets both added and lost a county in the assignment change and declined in total households. One DMA added a county in the assignment change but declined in total households.

It appears that all of the remaining 27 markets showing a decline in total households from 2002 to 2003 can be explained by incorporating 2000 census-based persons residing in group quarters and/or household size data into the projection. Nielsen emphasized in a statement that it is “not revising, adjusting or restating its audience data or its universe estimates for the 2001-2002 television season.” Instead, it is providing “clients with analytical information to help all users of the data make better sense of the demographic changes in the 2002-2003 television season by factoring in the newly released census information.”

‘Montel’ upgrades, changes stations: Entering its 12th season in syndication, Paramount Domestic Television’s “The Montel Williams Show” has secured time period upgrades and station changes in three major markets: San Francisco, Atlanta and Columbus, Ohio.

In San Francisco, “Montel” is moving from a 1 p.m.-to-2 p.m. (PT) slotting on UPN affiliate KBHK-TV to a 4 p.m. airing on Fox affiliate KTVU-TV this fall. In Atlanta, “Montel” goes from an 11 a.m. (ET) airing on NBC affiliate WXIA-TV to a 10 a.m. berth on ABC affil WSB-TV. In Columbus, the talk show moves from a 10 a.m. slotting on CBS affiliate WBNS-TV to 4 p.m. early fringe airings on NBC-owned WCMH-TV.

“Montel continues to receive major upgrades as a result of his continued consistent performance and the strong message that his show delivers to viewers,” said Paramount Domestic Television President John Nogawski.

“The Montel Williams Show” is a Mountain Movers Production in association with Paramount Domestic Television.

Terrorism coverage headed for exhibit: The Museum of Television & Radio has acquired an international collection of more than 500 hours of radio and television programming from 32 countries (including all of the major U.S. networks) documenting the terrorist events and aftermath of Sept. 11 for planned New York and Los Angeles gallery exhibits.

Titled “As the World Looked On: International Coverage of the Attacks September 11, 2001,” the all-day screenings will be in place to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the catastrophic attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Complementing those screenings will be a second exhibit: “The Images of Joel Meyerowitz,” an internationally renowned photographer who had unimpeded access to Ground Zero.

Among the overseas networks contributing to the collection are such Middle Eastern broadcasters as Qatar’s Al Jazeera network, a consistent supplier of surreptitiously acquired al Qaeda terrorist videos and propaganda messages; Jordan’s JRTC; Zee TV of India; and Egypt’s ERTU network. Other notable contributors include Cuba’s state-run Television Cubana; Russia’s independent NTV network, China’s CCTV/Sun TV (pending) and Phoenix Satellite Television; and the U.K.’s BBC and International Reuters (pending) networks.

Ford to lead Discovery new media: John Ford, who has held a number of senior positions at the Discovery Communications networks, has been named president of the new media division of Discovery Networks, U.S., and will oversee Discovery HD Theater, the company’s new 24-hour high-definition network, as well as Discovery interactive TV, Discovery.com and Discovery’s video-on-demand services.

Mr. Ford formerly served as president of Discovery’s content group, overseeing all domestic programming and Discovery.com. He also has been president of Discovery Health Channel and discoveryhealth.com, which he launched in 1999.