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Jan 21, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Posted Tuesday, Jan. 21.

Tauzin honored at NATPE

Somewhere between 6,000 and 8,000 attendees filled New Orleans streets today for the opening session of the National Association of Television Program Executives conference, which is marking its 40th anniversary.

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.), whose office recently announced it is drafting new bills on the issues of digital copyright and broadband deployment, received the Chairman’s Award from Fox Networks Group Chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra. Rep. Tauzin told broadcasters that while consolidation and digital issues remain at hand, Congress “is trying to do our part to make this work so that you and the industry can continue to flourish.”

After accepting the award, the congressman was interviewed by Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s “Hardball” and NBC Enterprises’ “The Chris Matthews Show,” and covered such topics as the possibility of war with Iraq, the power of conservatives in the media and the Federal Communications Commission.

“The FCC threatens freedom every day when it overregulates” content and other hot-button industry issues, Rep. Tauzin said of the monitoring organization.

Reality steamroller sweeps Monday ratings: Reality shows won every time period Monday night in the adults 18 to 49 demo, no matter which network they were on. NBC brought back summer hit “Meet My Folks” with a special 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. (ET) preview last night. The show won its time slot in adults 18 to 49 with a 6.7 rating and 16 share — 34 percent above second-place CBS, which ran a “CSI” rerun (5/12), according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. From 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., “Joe Millionaire” continued to pull in viewers for Fox, winning the hour in adults 18 to 49 wtih a 9.9/22 and outperforming second-place NBC’s “Fear Factor” rerun by 83 percent. An original “Fear Factor” won the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. hour with a 6.6/16 in adults 18 to 49.

For the night, Fox won in the demo with a 7.2/17, followed by NBC (6.2/15), CBS (4.9/11) and ABC (3.3/8). Fox took the total viewers race with 14.3 million viewers and CBS won in households with a 9.5/14.

CTAM adds working groups: Char Beales, president and CEO of CTAM, has extended her contract through 2005. Ms. Beales has headed the organization since 1992.

In addition, CTAM is adding several new working groups to address industry concerns, among them:

The HDTV working group, which will be chaired by Diane Schneiderjohn, senior VP, marketing and programming, Charter Communications; the labeling working group, which will look at nomenclature issues relating to consumer electronics and will be chaired by Joe Rooney, senior VP, marketing, Cox Communications; the retail committee, which will look at best practices in cable retail marketing and will be chaired by Andy Addis, VP, marketing and new products, Comcast Cable Communications; the retention committee, which will take an interdisciplinary look at subscriber retention and will be co-chaired by Steve Bouchard, VP, video product management, Comcast Cable Communications, and Pam Euler Halling, senior VP, marketing and programming, Insight Communications; the agency planning council, which will look at opportunities to include agencies in CTAM activities and will be chaired by John Zamoiski, president, GEM Entertainment, The GEM Group; and the creative outreach advisory council, which will look at opportunities to enhance the relationship between marketing and creative and will be chaired Mark Tomizawa, president, Smash Advertising.

“After years of preparation, cable is ready to be customer-focused and marketing-driven. I can’t wait to play a role in making it happen,” said Ms. Beales.

Moonves to affils: Your issues are our issues: The UPN and CBS advisory boards were upbeat after separate meetings and what was described as “frank discussions” with a team of CBS executives led by CBS chief Les Moonves Monday in New Orleans.

How much goodwill does straight talk buy? The affiliates didn’t scream “ouch” when the network said it plans to start four games on the March road to the final four of the NCAA basketball championship at 7 p.m. Eastern, instead of 7:39, which means the local stations will lose a half-hour of prime access revenue.

“They said they needed the money,” said Bob Lee, the general manager of Schurz-owned WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., who is chairman of the CBS affiliate board.

Some of the local broadcasters have been unnerved by Viacom President Mel Karmazin’s tough talk about putting the brakes on the transition to HDTV if security issues are not resolved — He’s as serious as a heart attack,” they informed Monday — so they were pleased to hear that “Late Show With David Letterman” will convert to high-definition in September and that the network is aiming to offer at least one NFL “A game” per week in high-def next season.

The network and the board also agreed to work out more effective ways to make the transition from local news programming to the network’s “Early Show” and “Evening News.” There has been similar talk before, but “we’re not going to let it die this time,” said Mr. Lee, because “a successful local show can contribute to a successful network show.”

Earlier Monday, UPN affiliate chairman and Lockwood Broadcasting’s Dave Hannah declared the UPN session “the single best meeting” of his association with the perpetually challenged netlet that became part of Mr. Moonves’ domain last year.

Board member Richard Jones, general manager of Entrevision’s XUPN-TV in San Diego, was “really pleased” that Mr. Moonves’ team answered all the big questions before they were raised by UPN affiliates, for whom this has been a particularly tough season.

“Their issues are our issues,” said Mr. Moonves as he left the UPN meeting at which the affiliates heard about programming in development for next season (“It looks like A-level,” said Mr. Hannah) and cross-promotional plans for this mid-season.

An “aggressive” push of the upcoming hip-hop-flavored drama “Platinum” will begin next month on the “cousin networks” in the Viacom family, including MTV, BET and urban radio stations.

“We just need a couple of shows” that qualify as “break-outs,” said Mr. Hannah.

NBC agrees to factor in taste in ‘Fear’ promos: NBC has agreed there is limit on “Fear Factor” promos and it was breached earlier this month by spots featuring contestants eating horse rectum.

After a long working meeting between NBC affiliate board members and top network executives, board chairman and Gannett Television executive Roger Ogden said “there is a better process in place” to assure there is no repeat of such an offense, which one board member noted was exacerbated by the spot’s appearance in Saturday morning programming aimed children.

“We did hear [the non-delicacy] was USDA,” said Mr. Ogden.

The joke summed up the non-combative mood after the meeting at which the focus was on laying a broad base for the affiliates to benefit from the network’s growing fooprint.

Mr. Ogden said the affiliates will name a futures committee that will seek ways in which the group can have “a more meaningful” relationship with

Telemundo, which now reports to NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker, more paticipation in Pax TV, in which NBC has a stake, and in NBC’s cable enterprises, which now includes Bravo.

“It’s very much in the formative stages,” Mr. Ogden said of the “futures” talk.

NBC Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol and Sports President Ken Schanzer also sketched out 2004 Athens Olympics programming plans that include live coverage from 12:30 p.m.to 4 p.m. Eastern.

NBC Television Network President Randy Falco said NBC is not ready to announce further Olympics plans.