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Briefly Noted

Nov 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

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 is leaving the company. Mr. Gadson and BET are parting amicably, according to a network statement, and he might opt to stay with Viacom.
News Corp. sued over Fox Family sale
A lawsuit filed Oct. 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court by former Fox Family employees Mel Woods and Shuki Levy accuses News Corp. of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and accounting that resulted in the global media giant’s making more than $1 billion at the expense of the plaintiffs. Mr. Woods and Mr. Levy were high-level Fox Family officers and employees who each owned vested options concerning 1 percent of Fox Family as part of their compensation. According to their complaint, in the summer of 2001 Disney began negotiating with News Corp. to purchase Fox Family, but rather than maximizing Fox Family’s value upon its sale to Disney, News Corp. saw Fox Family as a “convenient place to fob off some substantial losses being suffered by News Corp. due to a disastrous broadcasting contract between News Corp. and [Major League Baseball].”
VH1 adds new specials and series to slate
VH1 has announced several new additions to its regular lineup, including the year-end special “VH1 Big in 2002 Awards.” The cable channel, which recently canceled the “Liza and David” reality series, will air a made-for-cable awards show with categories that include Favorite “Very Special” Episode and You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth? in which all the nominees are members of the Osbourne clan.
Other specials and series on the VH1 slate include “Inside/Out,” a documentary series focusing on musicians and other artists at a crossroad, including Warren Zevon, Tommy Lee and Jamie Foxx; “Rock Med,” a documentary series about the emergency medical teams that volunteer for duty at concerts; “Mock Rock,” a series in which unknown cover bands are made over to look like rock stars and then appear in a concert with their idols; “Ambushed,” a hidden-camera series in which unknown musicians answer ads and then audition for world-famous rockers and go on stage for one song. Also on the schedule is the special “50 Greatest Hip-Hop Artists of All Time.”
`Late Show’ to be simulcast on radio
CBS’s “Late Show With David Letterman” will be simulcast on Viacom-owned Infinity radio stations in 15 of the country’s largest cities in a six-month test starting Nov. 11. Only the advertising will be different in the radio version, which will be heard in New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; San Francisco; Philadelphia; Dallas; Washington; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Sacramento, Calif.; Charlotte, N.C.; Phoenix; Tampa, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Fresno, Calif. No money is changing hands in the deal, only a promise that the Infinity stations will increase their promotion of “Late Show.”
E! Gets a DAISY solution
E! Networks has implemented an asset-management solution from BEA Systems that it calls DAISY, for Digital Asset Information System. The solution will allow the entertainment company to archive, manage and access content from more than 250,000 videotapes and digitized media. The system should also speed the production process since it tracks metadata, such as usage rights or length, associated with each piece of media.
Short takes
ABC will go live from 12:05 a.m. to 1:05 a.m., ET, when it adds “Jimmy Kimmel Live” to its lineup in late January. Scheduled to be broadcast from the Disney-owned El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, the show was developed for host Mr. Kimmel (Comedy Central’s “The Man Show”). …Steve Martin will host the 75th anniversary Academy Awards, to be broadcast on ABC on Sunday, March 23. Mr. Martin hosted the Oscars once before, in March 2001. …Time Warner Cable launched video-on-demand services in its Columbus, Ohio, market, serving more than 326,000 basic subscribers and 108,000 digital subscribers. The cable operator also introduced the service to Wilmington, N.C., serving more than 209,000 basic subscribers and 38,000 digital subscribers.