Briefly Noted

Feb 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Emmy Awards to air on Fox
Fox will air the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards Sept. 21. The show will air live from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET) from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. This year’s broadcast is the first year covered by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ new eight-year licensing agreement that rotates the telecast among ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox. Insiders at the Academy expect the rotation to continue as it has in the past, with ABC broadcast the 2004 ceremonies, followed by CBS in 2005 then NBC in 2006.
Disney sees improved broadcast results
First-quarter revenue for the Walt Disney Co.’s media networks was up 9% to $3.24 billion from $2.98 billion a year ago, but operating income fell 7% to $ 225 million from $242 million. Disney attributed the increased revenue to lower programming costs and higher advertising revenue and also cited an improved advertising marketplace and performance at the ABC television network. First-quarter results for cable were down significantly from the prior year, however, reflecting higher costs for NFL, MLB and NBA sports programming, the company said, adding that they were partially offset by higher advertising and affiliate revenue.
State of the Union sets viewer record
President Bush’s State of the Union address Tuesday was the most-watched in a decade, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.
Some 62.1 million people watched the speech on eight broadcast and cable networks. That’s up from Mr. Bush’s first State of the Union speech a year ago (51.8 million) and the biggest audience since former President Bill Clinton’s 1993 speech attracted 66.9 million. (The least-watched speech in the past 10 years was Mr. Clinton’s last State of the Union talk in 2000, which attracted 31.5 million.)
NBC was the most popular choice for viewers between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. (16.350 million viewers), followed by ABC (13.540 million) and CBS (11.770 million). Despite a lead-in of 24.107 million viewers from “American Idol,” Fox coverage of the State of the Union was viewed by only 9.510 million.
However, Fox News Channel attracted the biggest cable audience, 5.856 million viewers, from 9:05 p.m. to 10:06 p.m., up 17 percent from State of the Union night in 2002. CNN’s viewership of 3.593 million Tuesday night was up 30 percent year to year. MSNBC attracted 960,000, up 48 percent from a year ago.
RTNDA wants cameras in Malvo courtroom
A petition seeking pool cameras and microphones in the courtroom during the trial of accused spree sniper Lee Malvo was filed today with the Fairfax County Circuit Court in Virginia.”
Without electronic coverage, the public will not be able to witness firsthand the orderly administration of justice in a case of keen interest and importance,” said the petition filed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association, which was joined by the major networks as well as a number of Washington-area radio stations and professional organizations.
`Andromeda,’ `Mutant X’ renewed
Tribune Entertainment has announced renewals for its first-run syndicated action hours “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda” and “Mutant X,” for the 2003-04 season.
“Andromeda,” starring Kevin Sorbo, has been renewed for its fourth season in 148 markets across the country, including 49 of the top 50 markets, clearing 88 percent of the United States. Sister series “Mutant X,” with John Shea and Victoria Pratt, has been renewed for its third season on 103 stations (including 46 of the top 50 markets), representing 76 percent of the country.
Fisher selling two Georgia stations
Cash-strapped and debt-ridden Fisher Communications has agreed to sell two of its Georgia stations, both Fox affiliates, to Southeastern Media Holdings for $40 million. Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction that will transfer WFXG-TV in Augusta and WXTX-TV in Columbus to Southeastern Media, a North Carolina-based company that has no other broadcast interests.
Seattle-based Fisher had announced its intention to sell the stations last August, and Southwestern Media stepped up when a previous deal fell apart in October. Fisher already had disclosed it will recognize an after-tax loss of approximately $17 million on the sale.
Fisher had retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. in November to assist in reviewing its strategic alternatives. The sale will leave Fisher with 10 network-affiliated stations, which are said to have attracted bids from LIN TV, which owns or operates 26 stations, and Sonoran Capital, a media-investment firm funded by former billboard magnates William Levin and Arturo Moreno.