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Dec 13, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Friday, Dec. 13

Lott may appear on BET

Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott, the incoming Majority Leader, who has been under fire for remarks that many have interpreted as racist and pro-segregation, said at a Friday evening news conference that he has held conversations with Black Entertainment Television about appearing on the cable network, which targets an African-American audience, for one hour early next week to discuss his racial views and his hopes for Americans of all races. After the press conference, CNN reported that the BET appearance would include questions from the African-American audience.

At last week’s 100th birthday celebration for retiring South Carolina Republican Senator Strom Thurmond, who ran for president in 1948 as a pro-segregationist candidate, Sen. Lott said that the country would have been better off if Sen. Thurmond had won the election.

At the press conference, Sen. Lott repeatedly apologized for his remarks, which he said had been insensitive, wrong and impromptu. He declared that he rejected racism and segregation, and he repudiated Sen. Thurmond’s earlier pro-segregation views. He also said he would not resign his Senate post.

MRC accredits Nielsen’s People Meter service in Boston: The Media Rating Council has accredited Nielsen Media Research’s local People Meter service in Boston, the sixth-largest U.S. market, where the major network-owned or affiliated stations have stopped subscribing to Nielsen because they say the 7-month-old service underreports viewership.

In a letter today to Nielsen Media Research clients, Jack Oken, general manager of local services, said the accreditation “is the result of many months of work” on sample performance. He said response rate has improved from 29.6 percent prior to the launch last spring to 34.1 percent for the week ending Dec. 1. Mr. Oken also said ongoing cooperation rates were up from 44.2 percent to 46.1 percent, in-tab rates for sets and persons were “strong” at 87 percent and “sample characteristics are closely in line with universe estimates.”

Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus said, “Those percentages have been steadily rising” since the service launched in early May. Mr. Loftus also said the Boston percentages are “generally higher than our metered-market averages. You would sort of expect that with door-to-door recruitment” and increased attention to such things as training. Public broadcaster WGBH-TV and Univision’s WUNI-TV are the most significant stations subscribing to the new People Meter service in Boston, where no one was surprised that the Nielsen service had received accreditation from the MRC. The council, which includes representatives of major advertising and media companies, sets standards for and audits media measurement and certifies which organizations are in compliance with the standards.

Industry sources say the accreditation will not advance the conversations Nielsen has continued to hold with old clients in Boston.

“I wouldn’t climb too far out on that limb,” Mr. Loftus said. “Let’s wait and see.”

New Hampshire Supreme Court backs cameras in courtrooms: The New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled today that state judges cannot bar cameras from their courtrooms without a hearing and valid reasons. “A trial judge should permit the media to photograph, record and broadcast all courtroom proceedings that are open to the public,” said the opinion issued just a day after a Virginia judge had barred cameras and microphones from the trial of accused Beltway sniper John Muhammad. Radio-Television News Directors Association President Barbara Cochran said the New Hampshire ruling is a victory because it “makes clear that a decision to keep cameras out must be based on fact, not guesswork.”

‘Baywatch’ TV movie reunites stars: “Baywatch” returns with the two-hour TV movie “Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding,” which will air Friday, Feb. 28, (8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET) on Fox, it was announced today by Gail Berman, president of entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company. “Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding” brings back 15 of the series’ cast members, including David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth, Carmen Electra and Gena Lee Nolan.

“The ‘Baywatch’ brand is one of the most recognizable franchises in the world,” Ms. Berman said. “The reunion of the most popular cast members from the show’s history will be a television event for Fox viewers and millions of ‘Baywatch’ fans.”

“It was great having 15 of us back and it felt terrific working together again,” Mr. Hasselhoff said. “Everyone checked their ego at the door and we had a ball.”

The movie is a Fox Television Studios production. Doug Schwartz, Michael Berk and Mr. Hasselhoff are the executive producers. Mr. Schwartz directs the teleplay written by Mr. Berk from a story by Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Berk.

Raven to star in Disney Channel sitcom: Teen actress Raven, who as Raven-Symone was featured as little “Olivia” in “The Cosby Show” at age 3, is returning to network series television in “That’s So Raven,” a sitcom on the Disney Channel, set for a Jan. 17 debut.

Raven, who also starred in “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” will portray a teen with psychic ability.