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Nov 18, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Monday, Nov. 18

‘Grounded’ jumping from Fox to WB

“Grounded For Life” is switching networks. The sitcom, currently airing on Fox, will move to The WB early next year. The WB has picked up six new episodes of the family comedy, starring Donal Logue and Megyn Price, and has gained rights to repeats.

Fox will air new episodes of the series, which has been frequently pre-empted from its Tuesday 8:30 p.m. time slot, in December and January. The earliest The WB can air the series would be right after February sweeps. While The WB has yet to schedule the series, it seems to be a good fit with the network’s family-oriented Friday night comedy block.

Fox had ordered 13 episodes of “Grounded for Life” from producer Carsey-Werner-Mandabach for this season, with the option to pick up the back nine. When Fox decided not to pick up the back nine, the studio received permission from the network to shop the series around, which led to the deal with The WB, according to several sources.

Fox officials won’t comment on what will take “Grounded’s” place on the schedule, but there has been much speculation that Fox will slate the second season of “American Idol” on Mondays at 9 p.m., making the Tuesday 8:30 p.m. time slot a logical place for the half-hour “American Idol” results show.Also at The WB, it looks as though Wednesday 9 p.m. drama “Birds of Prey” will get its cancellation notice in the next day or two, but network officials would not confirm.

Ling leaves ‘The View’ to join National Geographic: Lisa Ling, co-host of ABC daytime’s “The View,” is leaving the successful talker to become the next host of “National Geographic Explorer,” the flagship television series of National Geographic that airs weekly on MSNBC. The on-air host change will occur in the first quarter of 2003. Ling’s last day on “The View” will be Dec. 5. Ling has been a featured co-host on “The View” since May 3, 1999.Celebrity guest hosts will fill in on the “The View” until a new co-host is named.

Touchet leaves ABC News for ‘Today’: Tom Touchet has been named executive producer of NBC News’ “Today” show. His appointment is effective immediately and he will oversee all aspects of the morning news program. Touchet was with ABC News for seven years and held several positions within the news division. Most recently he served as senior producer for ABC News development. He also spent 51/2 years at “Good Morning America,” where he led the show’s 9/11 special events coverage.

Jennings reups with ABC: Peter Jennings has finally crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s on a new contract that will keep him anchoring “ABC World News Tonight” for three more years. It also provides for him to start an independent production company with a five-year commitment from ABC to purchase a minimum of four hours of prime-time programming per year.

Corporations push for open Internet access: The Walt Disney Co., Microsoft and other major corporations with a stake in the Internet today announced the formation of a formidable coalition to fight to ensure that cable operators and phone companies can’t restrict the Web access of their customers.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the companies, under the banner of Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators, said the government “must ensure that transmission network operators do not encumber relationships between their customers and destinations on the network.”

In a statement, Dan Brenner, National Cable & Telecommunications Association senior VP for law and regulatory policy, said, “The Microsoft-led coalition is a group in search of a problem. Ten million cable modem users today enjoy access to any content of their choice on the Internet. Those who advocate regulation of broadband Internet services have failed to provide any evidence of consumer problems accessing Internet sites.”

Among the other members of the coalition are RadioShack Corp., Yahoo!, eBay, Amazon.com, Apple Computer, the Consumer Electronics Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Media Access Project and the Alliance for Community Media.

Hallmark gives ‘Adoption’ another season: The Hallmark Channel’s “Adoption,” its first original series, has been renewed for a second season of 26 half-hours. “Adoption” was telecast as a one-hour series in its first season.The series, which follows families involved in the adoption process, is executive produced by Robert Halmi Jr. and Jeff Lion Weinstock.

WB plans reality surfing series: The WB Television Network will kick off summer 2003 with “North Shore” (working title), a reality series that will follow seven professional surfers who live together in a beach house in Hawaii while battling each other in a surfing competition. The series, which will consist of six one-hour episodes, is produced by Basic Elements.

Osbournes interview to be re-aired: Barbara Walters’ highly rated interview with the Osbourne family will be rebroadcast on Thursday, Nov. 21 (9 p.m. to 10 p.m., ET) on ABC during a one-hour special edition of “20/20.” Biography to roll out three new series: The Biography Channel, one of the A&E Networks, is taking celebrity-driven programming to another level with “The Star Treatment,” a new series that profiles the people who cater to the stars, from hairstylists to psychics.

“Treatment” is one of three new series debuting next month under the channel’s new “Star Central Fridays” umbrella. The others are “Star Closeup,” which profiles celebrities, and “Kings & Queens,” which profiles England’s monarchs.

Net and spot ads up, cable and syndie down: Network television ad spending was up nearly 7.1 percent for the first three quarters of the year, to $14.37 billion, compared with the same period last year, when the medium took in $13.42 billion, according CMR/TNS Media Intelligence. CMR/TNS also found that spot TV was up nearly 14.7 percent for the period, to $12 billion, compared with $10.5 billion for the period last year.

By contrast, cable TV was down 0.97 percent, to $7.68 billion from $7.75 billion for the first three quarters of 2001, and national syndication was down almost 11.8 percent with $2.12 billion from $2.4 billion last year, according to CMR/TNS.

Advertising spending for all media rose 2.2 percent for the first three quarters of 2002, to $84.4 billion, compared with $82.6 billion for the same time period in 2001, according to CMR/TNS.

The factors fueling the overall ad-spending rise were the election-year buys, the strong upfront and the rebound from post-Sept. 11 TV ad cuts, when more than $300 million in spending was lost in the television marketplace, according to CMR/TNS.

Local ad gains are paced by spot television, which is followed by local radio, up 9.5 percent, and local newspapers, up 7.6 percent, according to CMR/TNS. Nationally, Hispanic-language television is the most improved medium, up 25.5 percent from last year.#