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Dec 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Wednesday, Dec. 11

‘Alias’ gets post-Bowl berth

ABC is giving sophomore drama “Alias” the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot and moving “The Practice” to Mondays. Super Bowl XXXVII airs Jan. 26, with a new episode of “Alias” immediately following. “This is a show that we have always believed deserved a bigger audience, and the Super Bowl will help introduce it to millions of new viewers,” said ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne.

The network also announced that it will move “The Practice” from Sundays to Mondays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) starting Jan. 27. New freshman drama “Dragnet” will occupy “The Practice’s” old home on Sundays at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Dragnet” will premiere Sunday, Feb. 2. ABC’s new Monday lineup also includes “Veritas: The Quest” from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and “Miracles” from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Touchstone promotes department heads: Touchstone Television has promoted the heads of its comedy and drama departments. Julia Franz was upped to senior VP of comedy series, from VP of comedy series. Francie Calfo and Suzanne Patmore were promoted to senior VPs of drama series, from VPs of drama series. Touchstone also announced that Nicole Norwood has joined the studio as director of drama series, from manager of current programming and drama development at The WB.

Universal signs director Fuqua to deal: Universal Television has signed director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) to an exclusive deal to produce and direct new projects for the studio, it was announced today by Sarah Timberman, president, programming, Universal Network Television. Commitments have already been lined up with both CBS and Fox for new drama projects.

“There is an undeniable intensity and forcefulness to Antoine Fuqua’s work that has established him as one of the most exciting and sought after directors working in film today. We’re thrilled that he’s decided to turn his attention to television — as both a producer and a director — and view our partnership as an opportunity to bring Antoine’s unique perspective and style to the medium,” Ms. Timberman said.

“I’m thrilled to be in business with Universal Television,” Mr. Fuqua said. “Creating thought-provoking, high-concept material for television audiences has always been a goal of mine and I look forward to working with the creative team at Universal to achieve that end.”

Mr. Fuqua’s feature “Training Day” garnered Denzel Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Detective Alonzo Harris. Mr.Fuqua is currently in post-production on the film “Tears of the Sun,” starring Bruce Willis, for Revolution Studios. The film is set for a March 2003 release.

’20/20′ co-anchor Miller may leave show: Word is expected by week’s end whether ABC News correspondent and “20/20” co-anchor John Miller will remain a newsman or become a spokesperson for Los Angeles police chief William Bratton. Mr. Miller left local TV reporting in the early ’90s to serve in a similar role when Mr. Bratton headed the New York Police Department. After Mr. Miller got back into the news game, he went to ABC News in 1996. If Mr. Miller does leave, ABC News is expected to go with Ms. Walters as solo anchor of “20/20.”

Universal promotes Beverly: Universal Television has promoted Carl Beverly to senior VP of drama programming, it was announced today by Sarah Timberman, president of programming.

“Carl’s love for what he does has an infectious quality. That passion, combined with fantastic taste, great knowledge, serious integrity and a real ability to make things happen, makes him one of the most exceptionally talented executives around. Beyond that, it couldn’t be more fun to work with him,” Ms. Timberman said.

With this promotion to department head, which was effective in August, Mr. Beverly oversees drama development and current drama programming for the division, including the series “Mister Sterling” (NBC), “American Dreams” (NBC), “The Agency” (CBS) and “The District” (CBS).

Drama projects that already are in the works for 2003-’04 include a series loosely based on the feature “Out of Sight” from Scott Frank and Jersey Films for ABC; a legal drama set in 2053 from Paul Attanasio and Ed Zuckerman for CBS; two projects from Barry Schindel, including a legal drama for NBC and an FBI drama for CBS; the drama “The Law & Mister Lee,” starring Danny Glover as a private investigator in San Francisco for CBS; and two dramas from director Antoine Fuqua.

Mr. Beverly joined Universal (then Studios USA) in October 2001 as VP of drama programming. Previously, he was at Artists Television Group (ATG), where he served as VP of development and current programming from July 1999 to August 2001.

Friend moves up at CNBC: David Friend has been promoted to senior VP of CNBC Business News. Mr. Friend, an Emmy winner who has been an executive producer since he joined the business-news channel in 1997, had been the interim head of business news since the exit of Bruno Cohen as CNBC’s top news executive.

Mr. Friend, who will report to CNBC President and CEO Pamela Thomas-Graham, began his TV career 25 years ago at WPIX-TV in New York. He spent seven years at WABC-TV before joining “Extra” as executive producer. He developed and launched NBC’s “Early Today,” was executive producer of “Wall Street Journal Report” and produced several specials for CNBC.

Liodice named acting president and CEO of the ANA: Robert Liodice has been named acting president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, effective Jan. 3, 2003.

Mr. Liodice, who joined the ANA in 1995 and initially oversaw finance and administration, is currently the ANA’s executive VP. Before joining the ANA Mr. Liodice held senior positions at Kraft General Foods and international broadcaster Grupo Televisa.