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Sep 23, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Monday, Sept. 23

NBC, HBO dominate Emmys

NBC and HBO each brought home 24 Emmy statuettes at the 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards last night. NBC’s”Friends” got its first win as outstanding comedy series, while NBC’s “The West Wing” took home the best drama series Emmy for the third year in a row.

HBO’s “Six Feet Under” garnered the most Emmys overall for a series with six, edging out “West Wing,” which won five. “Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball won for outstanding director.

Quite a few actors and shows had breakthrough Emmys for the just-concluded 2001-02 season. Among the “Friends” castmates, who were previously nominated in the supporting actor/actress category, Jennifer Aniston won a first-time Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy. Michael Chiklis put FX’s “The Shield” on the Emmy map as outstanding lead actor in a drama.

“Everybody Loves Raymond” cleaned up in the comedy acting categories, with star Ray Romano winning his first lead actor Emmy in his fourth try. “Raymond” castmates Brad Garrett and Doris Roberts grabbed Emmy statuettes in the supporting actor and supporting actress categories.

It was also a breakout Emmy year for Stockard Channing, who nabbed the supporting actress Emmy as first lady Abigail Bartlet on “West Wing” and picked up an Emmy for lead actress in the NBC telefilm “The Matthew Shepard Story.”

In long-form movies and miniseries, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks’ HBO World War II miniseries “Band of Brothers” racked up six Emmys, including outstanding mini. HBO’s other World War II telefilm, “The Gathering Storm,” nabbed three Emmys, including outstanding made-for-TV movie and lead actor for Albert Finney, who starred as iron-willed British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

Emmys’ ratings rise: Last night’s Emmy awards broadcast on NBC was up 29 percent in adults 18 to 49 viewers from last year, driving NBC to an easy win for the night. Among adults 18 to 49, “The 54th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” scored an 8 rating and 19 share, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET), the telecast pulled in 19.8 million total viewers, up 15 percent from last year. NBC Research estimates 40 million to 45 million viewers tuned in for some or all of the awards ceremony.

Paxson must stay with NBC: Paxson Communications can not break off its relationship with stakeholder NBC just because NBC made Telemundo a full-fledged member of the Peacock family, an arbitrator has ruled.

After NBC acquired Telemundo and its television stations group, Paxson initiated the arbitration, seeking an out and claiming the reach of Telemundo’s station group would impede NBC’s ability to acquire control of Paxson, which owns the largest broadcast TV station group in the country.

The binding ruling today means Paxson has to stay put until at least September 2004.

NBC could wait as long as 2009 to make up its mind about how much further to take the relationship. Coincidentally, a 60-day window in which NBC can opt to make or invite a move opened on Sept. 15, but the network is expected to sit tight.

“We are gratified by the judge’s decision,” NBC said in a statement. “Our options to acquire control of Paxson last until 2009. In the meantime, it’s business as usual. We remain hopeful that the FCC ownership restrictions — which have been an obstacle to NBC’s ability to acquire control of Paxson — will be eased in the near future.”

Chairman Bud Paxson, who expressed disappointment in his statement, said, “We have engaged the banking firm of Bear Stearns to review our company and advise Paxson in developing the best course of action to realize the company’s inherent value for our shareholders.”

Paxson President and CEO Jeff Sagansky issued a statement that said, “Notwithstanding the outcome of this arbitration, we are reviewing [the] ruling and its impact on our relationship with NBC going forward. It is in the best interests of Paxson and NBC to review and grow the relationship of our two companies.

“Upon completion of our liquidity plan and with no maturing securities until 2006,” Mr. Sagansky said, “we will be in a position of strength with potential buyers or strategic partners should the company determine it is in all the parties’ best interests to take NBC out of their investment in 2004, when the company is permitted under the investment agreements.

Rigas issues statement in his defense: In a prepared statement, former Adelphia Communications founding chairman and chief executive John Rigas said the co-borrowing agreements cited in an indictment of him and his sons early Monday “were legal and entirely proper.” On the letterhead of his attorney, Mr. Rigas’ written statement noted that the transactions in question involved some of the largest U.S. banks, were negotiated by Adelphia’s outside counsel, were approved and ratified by Adelphia’s outside board of directors, were audited by its independent accountants and were disclosed in Adelphia’s public filings. Mr. Rigas, 77, Timothy Rigas, 46, former chief financial officer, and Michael Rigas, 48, a former executive VP of operations, were indicted on fraud charges in Manhattan federal court. The matter now moves to trial.

Arbitron PPM to be deployed in Canada: Arbitron’s Portable People Meter has gotten a “oui” from BBM Canada, which selected the pager-sized electronic audience measurement system to measure television audiences, including French-language stations in Montreal and Quebec, beginning in the fourth quarter of 2003.

In early 2003, BBM is scheduled to begin deploying the PPM to approximately 875 people in Montreal and approximately 450 in Quebec, creating television audience measurement panels. Both panels are scheduled to begin reporting television ratings in the fourth quarter of 2003.

BBM Canada is a non-profit industry organization that provides ratings information for both radio and television north of the border.

ESPN Deportes to launch in 2003: ESPN plans to launch ESPN Deportes, a 24/7 Spanish-language sports network, in the third quarter of 2003.

It’s one of the latest signs that Spanish-language programming is the newest frontier for big North American networks and their advertisers. Another sign today from the world of TV sports of the Hispanic-American viewer’s growing clout: new Spanish-language second-audio-programming feeds for TNT’s NBA programming and TBS Superstation’s NCAA programming.

ESPN Deportes will offer Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and European soccer, as well as various Latin American sports leagues and Spanish-language news and information shows.

Currently, ESPN offers the Sunday night an ESPN Deportes programming block with Spanish-language commentary and graphic. That block is available to 13 million subscribers and has presented full seasons of ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball” and “Sunday Night NFL” telecasts.

The new network will report to Russell Wolff, senior VP and managing director, ESPN International.

Muchmusic USA picks up advertisers: Muchmusic USA, Rainbow Media’s all-music network, has added Reebok, Activision and Lorillard Tobacco Company’s Youth Smoking Prevention Program to its roster of national advertisers.

Reebok is targeting hip-hoppers with ad buys on “Rap City” and “Celebrity Tastemaker.” Activision’s newest releases are being advertised on “Tastemaker” and the network’s “Super Chunky Beat” special. And Lorillard’s anti-smoking campaign is being promo’d on the commercial-free “TooMuchMusic.”

Brittain, Smith promoted at NBC: Alan Brittain has been named senior VP, national sales organization, for the NBC Television Stations division and Gina Smith has been named senior VP, national sales organization, for the Telemundo stations. The announcements were made by Jay Ireland, president of the NBC Television Stations Division.

Mr. Brittain and Ms. Smith will work together to create cross-platform sales opportunities throughout the NBC and Telemundo station sales organization, and they will report to the executive VP, sales, for the NBC Television Stations division, to be named shortly.

sly, Mr. Brittain was sales manager of NBC’s national sales organization in Philadelphia, and Ms. Smith was sales leader for the stations’ Telemundo Integration group.

Garcia tapped for HBO programming post: Mike Garcia has been named director of original programming at HBO and will be responsible for the development and production of the pay-cable network’s dramatic series. Mr. Garcia will report to Miranda Heller, VP of original programming.

WE adds animated series: The WE: Women’s Entertainment cable network is making its first commitment to animation with “Committed,” a half-hour animated series from Nelvana. The series joins the network’s Sunday line-up in October.