Briefly Noted

Dec 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Former UPN President Dean Valentine is among the U.S. investors expected to buy 49.9 percent of the Jim Henson Co. The German media company EM.TV, which bought the Jim Henson Co. and rights to the Muppets in February 2000 for $680 million in cash and stock, did not disclose the sale price but said it expects to finalize the deal in January. Werner Klatten, EM.TV’s chief executive, said his company “will remain the majority owner of the Jim Henson Co. and will continue to have an important presence in the U.S. market” as well as being Henson’s international distributor.
No renewal for two CNN reporters
The end of 2002 also marks the end of the road for two CNN reporters. The contracts of “Moneyline” senior correspondent Allan Dodds Frank and Miami-based correspondent Mark Potter have not been renewed. The moves are said to be budget-driven.
`Dr. Phil’ locked in through 2006
Dr. Phillip McGraw has signed on for two more years as host of his syndicated talk show “Dr. Phil.” He is now under contract through the 2005-06 season. “Dr Phil” debuted in September to strong ratings and consistently ranks among the top 10 syndicated strips. “Dr. Phil is an incredible talent who has made a huge impact on the syndication business,” said Roger King, CEO of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions. “This is great news for us and the show’s affiliates, and we are thrilled to be working with Dr. Phil for many years to come.” “Dr Phil,” which is cleared in 97 percent of the country, is produced by Paramount Domestic Television, distributed by King World Productions and created by Harpo Productions.
IFC to offer features on demand
Beginning in 2003, theatrical features from the Independent Film Channel, such as the critically acclaimed “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” will be offered through IFC on Demand, a new IFC service, after their theatrical runs. In addition, IFC’s “A Decade Under the Influence,” a three-hour documentary about American film in the 1970s, will premiere on the channel in August 2003, following an earlier theatrical release of a shorter version. IFC also has given a 13-episode renewal order for “Dinner For Five,” its filmmakers-schmoozing-at-table series.
UPN orders `Platinum’ drama
UPN has ordered six episodes of midseason drama “Platinum” in a deal that includes replays on sister cable network MTV. “Platinum” is a family drama following two brothers who own a rap and hip-hop record company, Platinum Records, they built from the ground up. The series has yet to begin production, so it most likely won’t air on UPN until March or April. MTV will rebroadcast each episode eight to 10 days after its original broadcast on UPN. The producers plan to have established and up-and-coming rap and hip-hop acts perform on the show and create music videos that can then be run on MTV to promote the series.
“Platinum” is produced by American Zoetrope Television and The Greenblatt Janollari Studio in association with CBS Productions. John Ridley (“Three Kings”) and Sofia Coppola (“The Virgin Suicides”) co-created the series.
MGM restructures domestic sales operations
MGM Worldwide Television Distribution Group has reorganized its U.S. sales operations. As part of the restructuring, MGM has hired Paul Danylik to serve as senior VP of national sales for the division. Joe Patrick will relocate to Los Angeles from MGM’s United Kingdom office to serve as VP, basic and pay cable sales. Both executives will report to Jim Packer, executive VP, television sales, North America. In addition, Michael Chinery has been named VP, East Coast sales, reporting to Mr. Danylik. Mr. Danylik comes to MGM from Paramount Pictures Domestic Television, where he spent the past three years serving as Western division manager.
Mr. Patrick began his tenure at MGM in 1993 as director of contract services, managing MGM’s day-to-day television business throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa, before transitioning to a sales capacity, serving as executive director of European television. He later advanced to VP of European television. Mr. Chinery joins MGM from Carsey-Werner Distribution, where he spent the past seven years serving as VP, sales manager, Eastern region.
VH1 loves `The ’80s’
“I Love the `80s,” VH1’s week-long tribute to all things `80s, made ratings music for MTV’s older, ratings-challenged sibling. The first three nights of the nostalgia-fest averaged a 0.9 household rating and a 0.8 in the 18 to 49 demo, more than doubling both VH1’s prime household rating average and its average in the demo compared with the previous four-week period.