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Feb 12, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Dog show tops cable viewing

Cable viewers went to the dogs Tuesday — the purebred dogs, that is, making USA Network’s telecast of the 2003 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show from New York’s Madison Square Garden the most-watched program on basic cable that day. The canine pageant drew 5.3 million viewers and a 4.2 household rating, making it the most-watched WKC in the event’s 20-year history on television.

Friedman named senior news consultant at ABC: Two weeks after he brushed off gossip about his status at ABC News, Paul Friedman has been named a senior news consultant at ABC News, where he has been the executive VP and managing editor of news coverage. He will “produce major special-events coverage, develop and coordinate coverage of major issues and will work with new correspondents and producers to advance his skills,” according to the announcement Tuesday from ABC News President David Westin.An ABC News executive familiar with the situation said that Mr. Friedman’s position will not be filled any time soon and that Mr. Westin has made clear that he intends to reassign Mr. Friedman’s day-to-day duties while he takes his time deciding whether or how to fill the No. 2 position long-term.

But there has been a recent spike in rumors that say some very powerful friends of Rick Kaplan, the bigger-than-life former ABC News producer who headed CNN/U.S. from 1997 to 2000, have been for months promoting the possibility and feasibility of his return to ABC.

These same fans have said they think there is plenty of room for Mr. Kaplan, an award-winning producer of news and magazine programming, to contribute without butting heads with others in the ABC News executive ranks. One source said that if Mr. Kaplan were to be approached, it would be only about a role that would be a narrowly defined, perhaps having to do with war coverage but not where any sitting ABC News executives would be reporting to him.

In his 21 years at ABC News, which he joined after 14 years with NBC News, Mr. Friedman has held a number of senior positions, some more than once, including executive producer of “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings.”

In his most recent role, which he assumed March 2000, he was responsible for news gathering and for such programs as “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”

Archie Comics names Grafman president of operations: Archie Comics Entertainment, which has been expanding its television programming slate recently, has named Allan Grafman as president to head the expanding media company’s worldwide operations. Mr. Grafman has previously served as executive VP for Hallmark Entertainment as well as managing director with the Tribune Co. As part of his mandate, Mr. Grafman will lead ACE’s activities in the areas of original television programming, theatrical motion pictures, DVD/home video, video games, music, Internet, live events and all areas of retail promotions, product licensing and merchandising.

Redmann to serve as executive producer of ‘The Wayne Brady Show’: John Redmann has been promoted to executive producer of Buena Vista talk-show strip “The Wayne Brady Show.” Mr. Redmann most recently served as supervising producer of the series and previously worked as supervising producer of “Rosie O’Donnell.”

VH1 names James as senior VP of development: Mimi James was named senior VP, talent and creative development at VH1. Ms. James will take a more active role in program development, leveraging her ties to the talent community to create new programming projects for the network.#