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Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Monday, Nov. 11

HBO, academy in Emmy telecast talks

It may not be TV but HBO may soon be home to television’s top ceremony.

Sources said Monday that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences is in final negotiations to approve a five-year, $50 million deal with HBO to air the annual awards show beginning with the September 2003 ceremony. In addition, the pay-cable channel would pick up the $5 million to $6 million production tab. And, for the first time, the Emmys would be telecast without commercials, the insiders said.

In order to boost the audience penetration level for the show, sources at the cable channel say that if its gets the Emmys, HBO also would pledge to make the high-profile annual event available to all basic-cable viewers, in effect pressing the free button for the evening of the show, which would reach approximately 85 percent of the country.

However, the deal must meet the approval of the Academy Board of Governors on Wednesday before moving forward. Networks still have a chance to unleash a counterproposal but are unlikely to do so, according to one academy source, having offered just over $3 million in license fees for the telecast.

“The academy remains confident the current negotiations will lead to a substantial improvement in our license fee, allowing us to dream bigger dreams for honoring and encouraging excellence in all aspects of the television industry,” said Academy Chairman and CEO Bryce Zabel in a statement.

An HBO spokesman declined comment, saying, “it’s not appropriate for us to comment on academy business.”

‘Steve Harvey Show’ actor killed: Merlin Santana, 26, an aspiring rapper and actor best known for the many season he spent on “The Steve Harvey Show,” was shot and killed in Los Angeles Friday night.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Mr. Santana was shot by a lone gunman as he sat in the passenger seat of a parked car in South Central Los Angeles. The incident happened around 2:30 Saturday morning. The driver escaped injury, drove off and flagged down police. Paramedics responded but Mr. Santana was pronounced dead at the scene, police spokeswoman Lucy Diaz confirmed.

No arrests have yet been made, but rumors on the street have it that Mr. Santana may have met a young lady at a club earlier and was to meet her at the location where he was shot.

Mr. Santana was a regular on the series “The Steve Harvey Show,” now in syndication. He played Romeo Santana, a role that won him nominations for NAACP Image Awards and ALMA Awards, which honor Hispanic performers. He was recently seen in “Showtime,” which starred Robert De Niro and Eddie Murphy. Mr. Santana has recorded three rap albums that have not been released.

NATAS to honor broadcast veterans: Longevity will be toasted Tuesday, Nov. 12, when the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences inducts 10 people with at least 25 years in broadcasting into the Silver Circle.

The gala will be hosted by chapter President Maury Povich at the MetLife Building’s Sky Club. Among those to be honored will be Tony Brown (“Tony Brown’s Journal”), Elizabeth Orton Davis (a production executive who worked at NBC and WNET-TV, New York, among other places), talk show legend Joe Franklin, longtime WCBS-TV, New York, reporter J.J. Gonzalez, NATAS founder Wiley Hance, Lora Hays (who worked as an editor at Lifetime, PBS, ABC and CBS), “Sesame Street’s” Bob McGrath, “Eyewitness News” format creator Al Primo, New York State Broadcasters Association President and executive director Joseph Reily and Emmy-winning “One Life to Live” star Erika Slezak.

Commerce Department to attend cable convention: Add the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Commercial Service to the list of organizations appearing at the upcoming BroadbandPlus: The New Western Show (formerly the Western Cable Show), the annual cable convention put on by the California Cable & Telecommunications Association.

Commerce’s Commercial Service, the export promotion arm of the department, focuses on assisting small- and medium-size American companies to increase their international business. The service will be offering global business tips to cable’s entrepreneurs.

The convention is scheduled for Dec. 3 to 6 at the Anaheim, Calif., Convention Center.

Schaefer appointed to key NCC post: Advertising sales veteran Greg Schaefer has been named chief operating officer of National Cable Communications, the spot cable rep firm.

Mr. Schaefer joins NCC from CBS in New York, where he was most recently VP and general manager at WCBS. He will report to CEO Tom Olson.#