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Mar 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Sohmer quits ABC

Steve Sohmer has called it quits as top marketer for ABC after some seven hectic months in the position. He joined ABC in time to launch the 2002-03 season and helped get four sitcoms, especially 8 Simple Rules, off to a promising enough start that they were renewed for sophomore seasons. ABC’s new dramas, particularly its midseason batch, have not fared so well.

There was no word on how soon Mr. Sohmer, who was not available for comment, will be replaced. In the interim, the department, which he beefed up with new hires, will report directly to ABC Entertainment Chairman Lloyd Braun.

‘Six Feet,’ ‘Raymond’ Win Ensemble SAG Awards: HBO’s Six Feet Under and CBS’s Everybody Loves Raymond won the outstanding performance by an ensemble in drama and comedy, respectively, at the 9th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held Sunday, March 9, at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center.

Other TV acting awards were:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

James Gandolfini, The Sopranos, Tony Soprano (HBO)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

Edie Falco, The Sopranos, Carmela Soprano (HBO)

For Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Sean Hayes, Will & Grace, Jack McFarland (NBC)

For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Megan Mullally, Will & Grace, Karen Walker (NBC)

For Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

William H. Macy, Door to Door, Bill Porter (TNT)

For Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

Stockard Channing, The Matthew Shepard Story, Judy Shepard (NBC)

Fox’s ‘Beene’ wins time slot: Fox’s Oliver Beene premiered last night to a time period-winning 6.1 rating and 15 share in adults 18 to 49- a commanding lead over second-place NBC, which scored a 3.7/9 for comparable half-hour of American Dreams. Beene also held 100 percent of the audience of its The Simpsons lead-in, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. It also won its 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot in total viewers, with 13.8 million.

In its second outing in its regular Sunday 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot, My Big Fat Greek Life slipped by 3.2 million total viewers with 13.4 million compared with 16.6 million last week. It was also down in adults 18 to 49, with a 3.1/8 (tied for third place in the time slot) compared with a 4.5/11 last week.

In its second week on The WB, Grounded For Life scored the network’s best ratings for Fridays at 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. in more than two years in adults 18 to 34 (1.9/7) and persons 12 to 34 (2.0/7). Grounded had 4.2 million viewers, up 14 percent from last week’s 3.7 million viewers.

‘Survivor’ sued by vocalist: The man behind the signature “Survivor Yell” heard during promos and opening credits for Survivor is suing CBS and Survivor Productions claiming he was never paid for his vocal work. Kim Strauss said he recorded vocal work, including the “Survivor Yell,” for a music demo for the show and was told that he would be asked to record a final version of the songs and be paid at least union scale if the music was chosen by Survivor producers.

David Vanacore, the musician who composed the Survivor music and asked Mr. Strauss to do the vocal work, is included as a defendant in the lawsuit. Mr. Strauss also claims he is owed payments from the sales of the Survivor 1 soundtrack, videotape and DVD that also used his vocals.

Mr. Strauss is credited as a vocal artist on the CD recording. Mr. Strauss, who filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on March 7, is asking for an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages. A CBS spokesperson said CBS is unaware of the lawsuit and declines further comment.

WRAZ won’t air ‘Married by America’: WRAZ-TV, the Capitol Broadcasting-owned Fox affiliate in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., is refusing to broadcast further episodes of Married by America, because station management believes the new reality series “demeans and exploits the institution of marriage.”

In a release Monday, the station said it had expressed “serious concerns” about the concept as soon as the show was announced, and “after viewing the second episode, which aired on March 5th, WRAZ decided the program did not reflect prevailing standards of good taste and was clearly demeaning to the institution of marriage.

The station also attributed its decision to the lack of opportunity to preview episodes and to the promotional announcements that promised “Once engaged, [the couples] move in to this romantic estate, living together, sleeping together. … You’ll witness their every move until the day they say ‘I do.’ “

WRAZ general manager Tommy Schenck was on vacation and unavailable for further comment. The station announcement said it believes the decision is “consistent with our preemption of Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire in February 2000.

Fox Broadcasting had no comment.

Ad Spend up in ’02 for Network, Spot, Cable, Spanish: Total 2002 advertising expenditures were up 7.4 percent (to $20.01 billion) for network, 14 percent (to $16.35 billion) spot and 2.9 percent (to $10.95 billion) and cable TV, according to data from CMR/TNS Media Intelligence. Syndicated TV was down 7.7 percent for the year (to $2.94 billion).

The biggest percentage gain in TV spending was, however, in the Spanish-language network arena, up 20.4 percent (to $1.94 billion), according to CMR.

Total advertising expenditures for all media in 2002 were up 4.2 percent over 2001, according to CMR. “Despite geo-political and economic uncertainties, the marketplace outperformed our expectations for the year,” said Steven Fredericks, president and CEO of CMR/TNS. Television ad spending overall was up 7.8 percent for 2002, according to CMR.