Breaking News Archives

Nov 6, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Wednesday, Nov. 6

AT&T and Comcast don’t have to release AOL deal details

The Federal Communications Commission today said AT&T and Comcast would not have to release details about an Internet service provider agreement involving AOL Time Warner. The Consumer Federation of America and other watchdog groups wanted the agency to require the companies to release the agreement publicly before ruling on Comcast’s pending acquisition of AT&T Broadband. But the FCC majority today held that the documents, which have been reviewed by FCC staff, are irrelevant to the agency’s merger review.

Fox News Channel beats competition on election night: Fox News Channel was the ratings winner Tuesday night, according to Nielsen Media Research data.

From 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. (ET), Fox averaged 2.191 million viewers, while CNN averaged 1.883 million and MSNBC averaged 745,000. Fox noted that while its viewership was up 17 percent compared with the long presidential election night of 2000, CNN’s and MSNBC’s audiences were down 66 percent and 71 percent, respectively.

MSNBC’s data started at major poll-closing hour 7 p.m. and ended at 2 a.m., hours in which it averaged 807,000 viewers to Fox’s 2.303 million and CNN’s 1.962 million. MSNBC compared Tuesday’s performance to its average for the four previous days.

BET centralizes programming in New York: BET, the Viacom cable network that targets the African American audience, said it will refocus its programming in 2003, increasing its acquisition of syndicated programming and centralizing programming in its New York studios, while continuing production from Burbank, Calif., and Washington.

BET also announced that Curtis Gadson, executive VP for entertainment programming, is leaving the network. The entertainment division will be managed on a transitional basis by Stephen Hill, VP of music programming, Gina Holland, VP for network operations, and Jacque Coleman, VP of sports and specials.

“This is not about layoffs,” a BET spokesman said, clarifying that beyond Mr. Gadson no one was leaving the company. Mr. Gadson and BET are parting amicably, according to a network statement, and he might opt to stay with Viacom.

“The restructuring primarily affects BET’s West Coast operation in Burbank,” BET President and Chief Operating Officer Debra Lee said in the statement. “Research indicates an increasing desire on the part of BET viewers for even more diversity in what we offer. Our new strategy will focus on increased acquisition of syndicated programming to complement the music and entertainment shows already in our lineup.”

Fox’s ’24’ delivers demographics: Last night’s second episode of this season’s “24” helped power Fox to a nightly win in the adults 18 to 49 demographic. “24” scored a 5.9 rating and 13 among adults 18 to 49 in the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. hour, according to Nielsen Media Research fast national data. That just edged out NBC, which had a 5.7 rating/13 share. NBC beat “24” from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with the last half-hour of a special 90-minute “Fear Factor” episode that pulled a 6.3/14 in the demo vs. “24’s” 5.7/13.

However, the 9:30 p.m.-to-10 p.m. half-hour of “24” handily beat NBC’s “Frasier,” with a 6.1/14 vs. “Frasier’s” 5.0/11. As a good sign for the sophomore series, “24” retained 91 percent of last week’s season premiere ratings.

For the night, Fox finished in first place among adults 18 to 49 (5.0/12), followed by NBC (4.6/11), ABC (3.6/9) and CBS (3.2/8). CBS won the night in total viewers and households (12.9 million total viewers and 8.7 rating/13 share), followed by NBC (11.4 million and 7.3/11), Fox (10.5 million and 6.3/9) and ABC (9.7 million and 6.4/10).

King World clears first strip of 2003 season: The first strip of the upcoming 2003 season has been given a firm go. “Living it Up! with Ali & Jack” has been handed the all-important order from distributor King World, having cleared stations in more than 60 percent of the country. The new one-hour daily syndicated daytime entertainment series featuring Ali Wentworth and Jack Ford has been sold to stations in 18 of the top 20 markets. In addition to key CBS O&Os, the series has been cleared on stations from all major broadcast groups, including Hearst-Argyle, Scripps Howard, Post-Newsweek, New York Times Broadcasting, Gannett, Belo and Jefferson Pilot. Station clearances include New York (WCBS), Los Angeles (KCBS) and Chicago (WBBM).

‘ABC sets sweeps date for ‘Extreme Makeover’: ABC has set “Extreme Makeover” to air Thursday, Nov. 21, during November sweeps. The one-hour special, which will air from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., will fill in for the canceled “Push, Nevada.” The special chronicles the stories of three people chosen to be made over with plastic surgery and by hair and makeup artists, stylists and personal trainers.

Welch to host MSNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’: Jack Welch, the former General Electric chairman whose divorce proceedings have helped sour feelings about executive perks, is scheduled to play guest co-host on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday.

It’s his first such appearance (he became a “special contributor” after retiring from GE) since the revelations of how GE continued to help support him in the style to which he had become accustomed as one of Wall Street’s favorite CEOs. In the guest lineup: Raymond Gilmartin, chairman, president and CEO of Merck & Co. Inc.; John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO; Archie Dunham, chairman of ConocoPhillips; Herbert Baum, chairman, president and CEO of Dial Corp.; and John Chambers, president, CEO.

Four MTV programming execs promoted: Four programming executives have been promoted at MTV. Tom Calderone is promoted to executive VP, music and talent programming, MTV & MTV2; Lois Curren takes over as executive VP, series and movie development, MTV; John Miller moves up to executive VP, series and animation, MTV; and Dave Sirulnick will take on additional programming responsibilities in his current role as executive VP, news and production, MTV.

All four will continue to report to Brian Graden, president, entertainment, MTV and VH1.

Rank joins Universal TV Group’s sales team: Dan Rank, one of the managing partners of OMD, USA, is joining the Universal Television Group, where he will be executive VP of Universal’s Chicago ad sales office, also overseeing Universal’s Los Angeles and Detroit sales operations.

Mr. Rank, who will report to Jeff Lucas, Universal’s ad sales president, will deal with USA Network, Sci-Fi Channel, Trio, NWI and any other cable networks that UTG may launch or acquire.