Briefly Noted

Feb 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Court TV has been given the go-ahead to telecast a Feb. 26 hearing in the murder case of former “Baretta” star Robert Blake.
The hearing, which will air live, is being held to determine whether prosecutors have enough evidence to take the case to trial. Mr. Blake is accused of killing his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, as she sat in the passenger seat of their car May 4, 2001.
An exclusive Barbara Walters interview with Mr. Blake will be televised on ABC’s “20/20” the same evening as the hearing. It was rescheduled from its original Feb. 28 airdate to fall within the February sweeps period.
Kaplan heads back to ABC
Former CNN/U.S. President Rick Kaplan, who built a larger-than-life reputation as an award-winning producer during 18 years at ABC News, is returning to his old haunts at ABC News on the eve of an expected war on Iraq. Mr. Kaplan has a three-month assignment to oversee special-events coverage. “This looks to be a particularly busy time for all of us covering the news,” said ABC News President David Westin in an e-mail to ABC News staffers last Wednesday. “[Rick Kaplan has] proven his ability at producing and overseeing live television news coverage. He’s eager to get back in the game and he can add his skill and experience to our exceptional team.” Mr. Kaplan, who headed CNN/U.S. from 1997 to 2000, will report to Mr. Westin.
Reality TV categories added to Emmys
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences board of governors has elected to add two new Emmy Award categories to recognize achievement in reality programming: outstanding nonfiction writing and outstanding nonfiction directing. Previously, writers and directors could only receive an Emmy along with producers and hosts/narrators if a series or special won the outstanding program award. Now producers and hosts are the only recipients in that category. The academy also has renamed the program awards in an attempt to clarify which shows are eligible for which category: Nonfiction series (traditional); nonfiction special (traditional); nonfiction program (alternative/unscripted); and reality/competition programs.
Wartime changes for MSNBC slogan, logo
On the eve of what seems to be the United States’ inevitable war on Iraq, MSNBC has dumped the 10-month-old slogan “America’s News Channel,” and the accompanying flag-waving NBC Peacock logo, in favor of “NBC News on Cable, 24/7,” a graphic and audio reminder of the news channel’s parentage.
`Star Wars’ toons, HBO pay-TV deal
The Cartoon Network will run 20 animated “Star Wars: Clone Wars” shorts, each about three minutes in length, that form a bridge between the story lines of the movie “Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones” and the following film, “Episode III,” now in pre-production. The shorts begin airing in November. In addition, HBO has agreed to pony up about $15 million for the exclusive pay-TV rights to “Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones.” The deal includes exclusive HBO windows for the four prior “Star Wars” installments and a right of first refusal on “Star Wars: Episode III.”
WPRI reporter co-owner of ill-fated nightclub
A TV reporter became a part of the story of last week’s West Warwick, R.I., nightclub fire. Jeffrey Derdarian, recently hired by LIN Television-owned Fox affiliate WPRI-TV, is part-owner of the club at which WPRI-TV cameraman Brian Butler was shooting video for a story on nightclub safety when fire killed scores of patrons at a Great White performance. Mr. Derdarian worked at Sunbeam-owned NBC affiliate in Boston before joining the staff of WPRI-TV last week. There was no comment from WPRI-TV management. A search of the station’s Web site Friday afternoon for mentions of Mr. Derderian turned up nothing. The usual listing of news staffers on the Web site was not accessible. “We are currently updating the Eyewitness News Team pages and hope to have them back online soon,” said a note.
NAB inducts Disney anthologies
The National Association of Broadcasters will induct Disney’s succession of anthology series into the NAB Hall of Fame at the NAB 2003 Television All-Industry Luncheon April 7 in Las Vegas. Michael Eisner is scheduled to accept the award on behalf of The Walt Disney Co. The anthologies include “Disneyland,” “Walt Disney Presents,” “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color,” “Disney’s Wonderful World,” “Walt Disney,” “The Disney Sunday Movie” and others.