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Dec 12, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Thursday, Dec. 12

Chicago’s WBBM cuts staff

Chicago’s CBS affiliate continues to clean house as part of its effort to turn the station around. CBS owned-and-operated station WBBM fired about 10 producers and newsroom staffers Wednesday, including morning news executive producer Karin Movesian, weekend news executive producer Jill Manuel, sports producer Lissa Druss and other assignment desk and newsroom staffers. The station will replace some of those positions with new hires. WBBM has been mired in third place in its late local news and fourth or fifth place across the board in ratings.

In a memo to staffers, Carol Fowler, VP, news, said, “It was a difficult day, but one that we felt was necessary to move forward in rebuilding the station.” Chris Selfridge, who previously served as a dayside executive producer, will now serve as executive producer of the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. news. Assistant news director Todd Woolman will take on added responsibilities as interim dayside executive producer overseeing the 11 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. newscasts. Julie Eich remains as executive producer of the 10 p.m. newscast.

CBS firms midseason schedule: CBS has made numerous midseason scheduling moves. Talent show “Star Search” will debut on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. (ET) to 9 p.m., with a second run each week on Thursdays at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., beginning Jan. 9. The series will run for four weeks, with its finale Thursday, Feb. 6.

New drama “Queens Supreme” will take over the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. Friday slot previously occupied by “Robbery Homicide Division,” which will go on hiatus, starting Jan. 10.

Medical drama “Presidio Med” will return to the network’s schedule Wednesday, Jan. 15, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Presidio Med” will also air original episodes on Friday, Jan. 17, and Friday, Jan. 24, at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in addition to its regularly scheduled Wednesday airings.

CBS also announced that it will air three “The Price is Right” specials in prime time during February sweeps. “The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular” will air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 5, Feb. 12 and Feb. 19. During the weeks “Star Search” and “Price is Right” air, “60 Minutes II” will be bumped to the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot.HDNet reaches output agreement with Paramount: HDNet announced today that it has reached an output agreement with Paramount Domestic Television, giving HDNet the high-definition television (HDTV) broadcast rights to certain series.

Under the agreement, HDNet gains high-definition satellite and cable telecast rights for a number of Paramount television series originally shot in high-definition. HDNet will begin broadcasting several of the shows in early 2003. The initial series are “That’s Life,” “Big Apple,” “Some of My Best Friends,” “Love and Money, ” “Wolf Lake” and “First Monday.” The deal also includes conversion of “Hogan’s Heroes” for HDTV broadcast.

“We are very excited to be working with Paramount,” said Mark Cuban, co-founder and president of HDNet. “They have certainly helped raise the bar for HD programming, and we look forward to working with them for many years.”

NBC affiliate airs HBO in video feed snafu: Salt Lake City area viewers were treated to an unexpected sneak peak of HBO during their morning news Wednesday. The “free preview” occurred on NBC affiliate KSL, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and included a snippet from HBO’s comedy program “Mr. Show with Bob and David.”

At about 6:30 a.m. during morning news show “Eyewitness News Today” some viewers saw silent video from the HBO show for about 14 minutes though they could still hear KSL anchor Terry Wood.

The station received about 50 e-mails and phone calls from viewers, said news director Brink Chipman. Local cable company AT&T Broadband looked into the situation and discovered that the snafu originated on its end. A video feed was switched incorrectly, causing HBO programming to be seen on Channel 5, KSL’s channel, instead of HBO’s regular Channel 6, said AT&T Broadband spokeswoman Barb Shelley.

The system is in the middle of a $140 million upgrade and construction is ongoing at the headend, Ms. Shelley explained. “We feel terrible and have reviewed our procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” she said. She laughed and added, “Who knows? Maybe some people will sign up for HBO as a result.”

KSL seemed good-natured about the situation. The 14 minutes of the comedy show did not feature any nudity or “weird stuff,” Mr. Chipman said. Still, some viewers with closed captioning reported that the text contained some adult wording, including a phone number for “1-800-Gyrlz,” he said. The station planned to offer an explanation to viewers during its morning show on Friday.

GLAAD awards TV nominees announced: Television nominees for the 14th annual Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation media awards have been announced and include HBO’s “Real Sports” interview with openly gay former NFL player Esera Tuaolo and Court TV’s gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Kantaras vs. Kantaras transgender custody case.

The GLAAD awards, which recognize TV, film, print and online media for fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, will be handed out at three ceremonies, which take place in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. A full list of TV nominees follows:

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIESSex and the City (HBO)Will & Grace (NBC)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIESOnce and Again (ABC)Queer as Folk (Showtime)The Shield (FX)Six Feet Under (HBO)The Wire (HBO)

OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL EPISODE (in a series without a regular gay character)”Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Honey?” George Lopez (ABC)”My Own Private Rodeo” King of the Hill (Fox)”Pararse” Resurrection Blvd. (Showtime)”Relax!” Grounded for Life (Fox)”Scared Straight” Crossing Jordan (NBC)

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION MOVIEThe Badge (Starz!)Bobbie’s Girl (Showtime)The Laramie Project (HBO)The Matthew Shepard Story (NBC)

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARYGay Weddings (Bravo)Middle School Confessions (HBO)Southern Comfort (HBO)Trembling Before G-d (New Yorker Films)True Life: I’m Coming Out (MTV)

OUTSTANDING DAILY DRAMAAll My Children (ABC)Daniela (Telemundo)Undressed (MTV)

OUTSTANDING TELEVISION JOURNALISM”Coming Out” Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel (HBO)”Kantaras v. Kantaras” Court TV (CourtTV)”A Matter of Choice?” Nightline (ABC)”Nick News Special Edition: My Family is Different” Nick News With Linda Ellerbee (Nickelodeon)”Rosie’s Story: For the Sake of the Children” PrimeTime Thursday (ABC)

OUTSTANDING TALK SHOW”Adopted by Gay Parents” The Rosie O’Donnell Show (syndicated)”Dolly Parton” So Graham Norton (BBC America)”Gays in Sports” Donahue (MSNBC)

Lifetime orders more ‘Strong Medicine’: Lifetime Television has renewed its “Strong Medicine” original drama for a fourth 22-episode season.

The one-hour Sunday night series, which focuses on female physicians and cutting-edge women’s health issues, was created and is executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg and Tammy Ader.

‘Today’ still first in ratings: The week of Dec. 2 to 8 goes into the books as the seventh straight year in which NBC’s “Today” has ranked first in the household ratings and total viewership in the morning-show race. “Today” averaged 6.6 million viewers, its highest count since the week of May 13 and the last installment of “Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?”

ABC’s “Good Morning America” averaged 4.9 million viewers, followed by “The Early Show” on CBS (2.8 million).

Beltway sniper trial will be closed: There will be no cameras or microphones in the Virginia courtroom in which accused Beltway sniper John Muhammad is to be tried. In vetoing a petition from the Radio-Television News Director’s Association and numerous other news and professional organizations, Judge LeRoy Francis Millette Jr. said the need for a fair trial is paramount and witnesses, jurors and lawyers might be intimidated by cameras. “We are very disappointed by the judge’s decision,” said RTNDA President Barbara Cochran.

CTAM extends relationship with MK: The Cable & Telecommunicati
ons Association for Marketing has extended its agency-of-record relationship with New York-based MK Advertising Partners for a fourth year, through 2003, following a review that included three other agencies.

MK’s other clients include Showtime, Mag Rack, TNN, Lifetime, NBC Cable Networks and ABC Daytime.

Lifetime axes ‘For the People’: Lifetime Television has canceled “For the People,” the freshman drama starring Lea Thompson (“Caroline in the City,” “Back to the Future”) as a liberal Los Angeles deputy district attorney.

Four more episodes are left in the network’s 13 episode order. On Feb. 16, the series will have its last outing, then it’s case closed.

‘The Early Show’ hires Cagle as contributor: “The Early Show,” which already has four co-anchors, is adding another personality to the mix. Time Inc. magazine veteran Jess Cagle, currently a senior editor at People, has been named an entertainment contributor.