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Aug 28, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Wednesday, Aug. 28

Jennings says contract is imminent

“ABC World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings got a little less coy about his contract status Wednesday when he told reporters that ” all the i’s aren’t dotted and the t’s aren’t all crossed, but we are there in spirit and I’m really looking forward to what’s ahead.” Just Monday, he’d refused to address the speculation that he’s agreed to stay on at the network for little or no raise in his salary reported to be upward of $10 million a year.

Mr. Jennings was at the screening of “Our Greatest Hopes, Our Worst Fears: The Tragedy of the Munich Games,” an hour-long documentary, produced by Natalie Jowett Antley, that explores still-powerful feelings about the storming of the Israeli athletes’ dorm in the Olympic Village at the 1972 Summer Games by eight Palestinian terrorists.

Mr. Jennings, then a Middle East correspondent, was assigned to produce non-sports features at the Games.

CBS, ABC to broadcast in HD: CBS Television today said it will offer all its 18 prime-time comedies and dramas in high-definition TV format in the 2002-03 season, with sponsorships from Zenith Electronics Corp. and Samsung Electronics America. In a press release, CBS said this would be the fourth year the network has broadcast the majority of its prime-time schedule in HDTV. It also offers its current its prime-time programming in HDTV.

ABC plans to broadcast all its scripted series and theatrical movies for the 2002-2003 season in HD, an expanded commitment made easier by a partnership with Zenith, which is sponsoring the prime-time HDTV this fall. Zenith will get an on-air billboard mention at the beginning of the programs. The Alphabet network broadcast the majority of its lineup in HDTV last season.

Fox’s ‘Idol’ routing all rivals: As Fox’s “American Idol” winds down to next week’s finale, the show continues to dominate the 9 p.m. (ET) Tuesday hour — although it was down slightly from its previous week’s record ratings and total viewer counts.

“American Idol’s” 7.4 rating/20 share average among adults 18 to 49, 8.0/23 in adults 18 to 34 and 14.8 million total viewers ran away with the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. Tuesday time slot, according to Nielsen Media Research preliminary fast national data.

However, “Idol’s” latest numbers were off from the previous week’s ratings by 5 percent in adults 18 to 49 (7.8/21), 9 percent in adults 18 to 34 (9.1/27) and 2 percent in total viewers (15.1 million) in the comparable fast national averages. Household averages held even at identical 8.6/14 scores week to week.

Most notably, though, “Idol’s” adults 18 to 49 score held a 147 percent margin of victory over NBC’s and ABC’s competing programming airing in the 9 p.m. hour. Repeats of “Frasier” and “Just Shoot Me” in the frame posted a 3.0/8 averages in the frame among adults 18 to 49, bouncing back 36 percent from a season-worst 2.2/6 average the previous week.

ABC’s repurposed play of “Monk” (from USA Network) also exhibited its second week of growth, with its 3.0/8 average in adults 18 to 49 marking a 7 percent jump and its second-ranked 8.9 million total viewers also up 5 percent from the previous week. CBS’s “The Guardian” came in fourth in adults 18 to 49 (1.8/5), down 14 percent week to week.

In typical form, Fox’s 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. repeats of “That ’70s Show” (3.5/12) and “Grounded for Life” (3.6/11) won the opening hour of the night. Combined with the now-typical strong showings from “Idol,” Fox registered its best Tuesday night score in total viewers (11.3 million) in more than one year as it beat NBC by a 62 percent margin among adults 18 to 49 (5.5/16 vs. 3.4/10) for the evening.

U.S. TV universe expanded: Nielsen Media Research has revised its estimate of the total number of U.S. television households to 106,700,000 from 105,500,000. The new estimate will be used for the duration of the 2002-03 season and takes effect this week.

The new universe figure marks the end of NMR’s incorporation of data collected from the 2002 census and follows the recent updating of its market-by-market estimates.

‘Johnson County’ ponies up ratings for Hallmark: Hallmark Channel rustled up its second-highest ratings ever for a network original with the four-hour “Johnson County War” Western miniseries debut Aug. 24.

The back-to-back two-parter, starring Burt Reynolds, Tom Berenger, Luke Perry and Rachel Ward, averaged a 1.0 household rating for Part 1 and a 1.3 household rating for Part 2, delivering 1,723,000 unduplicated viewers over the four-hour telecast.

ESPN to air football documentary: “Hey, Rookie,” a one-hour documentary from ESPN Original Entertainment in association with NFL Films, will premiere Tuesday, Sept. 3 on ESPN. The documentary follows six football players as they make their way from college to the pros, tracing the players’ paths from Draft Day to the final days of roster cuts.

Fine Living takes viewers to the beach: In the tradition of TV’s Christmas fireplace Yule log, the newly launched Fine Living cable network is bringing viewers the beach on Labor Day.

The 24-hour Scripps cable network devoted to the upscale life will pre-empt its regularly scheduled programming from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 2 to air footage from Hawaiian beaches, featuring nothing but a lounge chair, an umbrella and various words of wisdom (e.g., “Take your watch off for the whole weekend”).

“Sometimes living like you mean it is about doing nothing at all,” said Ken Solomon, president of the network, in a statement announcing the stunt.