NBC, Trump Set On New Reality Series
NBC ordered 13 episodes of a reality series from Survivor guru Mark Burnett called The Apprentice. About 20 candidates will compete to win a six-figure-salary job with Donald Trump’s company. In the competition, the candidates will live together and be given job assignments, which will be graded by Mr. Trump and some of his executives.
Each episode, Mr. Trump will fire a candidate from the contest. The winner of the competition gets to be an “apprentice” to Mr. Trump’s “master” and will receive a year-long assignment at The Trump Organization, complete with a six-figure salary.
An airdate for the show has not been set, but the series hasn’t started production yet, so it likely won’t air until after the summer.
The Apprentice is produced by Mark Burnett Productions, with Mr. Burnett executive producing. This is the second project Mr. Burnett has lined up with NBC. He’s also producing an NBC show, The Restaurant, for this summer with Reveille and Magna Global Entertainment.
Nielsen, Scarborough Produce TV Ratings Generator: Nielsen Media Research and Scarborough Research have joined forces to produce NSI Profiler, a new qualitative television rating that combines Nielsen Station Index ratings with Scarborough’s qualitative consumer indices.
NSI Profiler, as the new data generator is called, will enable users to take lifestyles, shopping preferences and other consumer behaviors into account when determining viewers’ propensities to tune in to particular television programs.
The NSI Profiler is available through Scarborough’s PRIME NExT data-analysis software to all clients who subscribe to both Scarborough Research and NMR’s local ratings service.
Scarborough Research is a joint venture between Arbitron and VNU Media Measurement & Information. In turn, Nielsen is part of the VNU Media Measurement & Information Group.
Modest Ratings for New WB Drama: The WB’s midseason drama The Black Sash premiered to middling ratings Sunday. In The WB’s key demo of persons 12 to 34, Sash scored a 1.9 Nielsen Media Research rating and 5 share, equal to what Angel (including repeats) was averaging on Sundays this season. Sash averaged 4.1 million viewers, compared with Angel’s Sunday season average of 3.5 million. However, Sash retained only 67 percent of Charmed’s 18- to 49-year-old audience and 60 percent of its 18- to 34-year-old audience. Original episodes of Angel leading out of original episodes of Charmed retained 91 percent of the audience in adults 18 to 49 and 81 percent in adults 18 to 34.
‘North Shore’ to Air June 18: The WB’s summer series Boarding House: North Shore will premiere Wednesday, June 18, at 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The series, which follows the lives of pro surfers living together and competing together at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Oahu, will run for six weeks. Repeat episodes will air each Sunday at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. beginning June 22. Major advertisers American Honda, Masterfoods USA, Mountain Dew and 1 800 CALL ATT have all signed on as sponsors of the show. Masterfoods USA, a division of Mars Inc., provided some artwork for inside the house and will use the series to advertise its summer promotion M&M’s Groovey Summer. 1 800 CALL ATT will air commercial spots featuring surfer Danny Fuller, who is participating in the series. Mark Burnett, executive producer of “Survivor,” has signed on to executive produce “Boarding House” with Lisa Hennessey, Bruce Toms and Lisa Berger.
CBS Wins Monday Ratings: CBS won the night last night in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers. Led by Everybody Loves Raymond, which was the highest-rated show of the night with a 6.8 rating and 17 share in adults 18 to 49, CBS’s lineup outperformed second-place NBC by 44 percent in the demo.
ABC continued to falter with a fourth-place nightly finish with a 2.4/6 in adults 18 to 49.
The Practice from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. pulled only a 2.8/7 and 8.6 million viewers, while 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. drama Miracles managed only a 1.8/5 in the demo and 5 million viewers.
Fox’s Married by America at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. held steady with its previous performances with a 3.4/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 6.8 million viewers.
For the night, CBS won in adults 18 to 49 with a 5.9/15, followed by NBC (4.1/11), Fox (3.4/9) and ABC (2.4/6). In total viewers, CBS won with 15.8 million, followed by NBC (10.3 million), Fox (7.7 million) and ABC (7.1 million).
Baby Bell Won’t Bid for DirecTV: SBC Communications, the telephone giant that has been in negotiations with General Motors and Hughes Corp. to acquire DirectTV, apparently has decided not to make any bid for the nation’s largest satellite TV program service, according to a report on CNBC by reporter David Faber.
The exit of SBC as a bidder, followed by an announcement last week that Liberty Media would not pursue an independent bid, now clears the way for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. to bid for DirectTV. Mr. Murdoch has long sought a U.S. satellite service to complete his worldwide network of satellite-delivered services, including outlets in Australia, India, China, South America and the United Kingdom.
‘Idol’ Wednesday Shows Expanded: Fox extended two Wednesday results shows of American Idol to one hour. Bernie Mac will be pre-empted tomorrow night to make way for an 8:30 p.m.-to-9:30 p.m. edition of Idol. Idol will lead into Wanda at Large, which got a big boost in its debut last week from its Idol lead-in.
That ’70s Show will get bumped April 30-the first Wednesday of May sweeps-to make way for Idol from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
‘Buffy’ Final Shows Scheduled: UPN has scheduled the last five episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer starting Tuesday, April 15. New one-hour episodes will also air April 29, May 6 and May 13, with the series finale May 20-the last Tuesday of May sweeps.
David Boreanaz, who now has his own WB spinoff, Angel, and his co-star Eliza Dushku, who plays Faith, will return to Buffy for the final arc.
‘Greek Life’ Finale to Air April 13: The season finale of CBS’s midseason sitcom My Big Fat Greek Life will air Sunday, April 13, from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Days of Our Lives’ John Aniston guest stars on the episode as an old friend of lead character Nia’s father.
Roth Upped at CBS: Jodi Roth was promoted to VP of specials at CBS Entertainment from director or specials. She will continue to report to Jack Sussman, senior VP of specials.
‘South Park’ Renewed: Those cute animated cutout South Park kids with the potty mouths will be staying with Comedy Central. The network has reached a deal with series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone that calls for 36 new episodes, with an option for an additional 15.
That option would take the series through 2006. South Park, which remains our top-rated show six years after its launch, is a huge part of Comedy Central’s current and future success,” said Larry Divney, the network’s president and CEO.
Anne Garefino, executive producer of the series, has also renewed her deal with the network and will remain with the series.
Sci-Fi Unveils Slate of New Series: Sci-Fi was so taken with the response to Steven Spielberg’s Taken, the recent epic miniseries that drew record ratings for the network, that it is now in discussions with Mr. Spielberg and DreamWorks Television to collaborate on another “maxi-miniseries.”
This time, though, the project won’t unfold in 10 consecutive two-hour segments, as Taken did, but will be telecast instead in three six-hour parts, with each part unfolding in a different consecutive quarter, according to Bonnie Hammer, the channel’s president. Ms. Hammer offered only a hint of the Spielberg project in development, calling it Sci-Fi’s answer to Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
Other miniseries on the network’s slate include 6 Days ’til Sunday, a six-hour miniseries from Lions Gate, set to air over six consecutive nights in the first quarter of 2004, in which a man has six days to prevent his own murder; and The Thing, a new four-hour version of the ’50s cult classic.
Reality is also on Sci-Fi’s slate, with Life on Mars, its off-world take on Survivor, in which two “coloni
es” of contestants attempt to live in a realistic Mars base; Mad Mad House, in which contestants compete in “bizarre” challenges; and Lab Rats, in which various miracle promises and claims are put to the test.
Other series and pilot highlights from Ms. Hammer’s annual pre-upfront presentation, held for a small group of reporters Monday in Manhattan:
Dead Lawyers, also from DreamWorks — a one-hour series in which dead lawyers come back to life to redeem themselves by forming a law firm and taking pro bono cases.
The Divide, from Lions Gate — a mystery series in which a late-night disc jockey, his dead twin sister and the local coroner team up to fight crime.
Legion, with Whoopi Goldberg aboard as an executive producer — a series about a young man who sells his soul to the devil to save his daughter’s life.
Stargate: Atlantis, from MGM Worldwide Television — a spinoff from the series and movie.
Painkiller Jane, from MGM Worldwide Television — a two-hour backdoor pilot, based on the comic series, about a super-heroine crime fighter with self-healing abilities.
Clive Barker’s The Evil One — a thriller told from the perspective of an evil demon.
Total Eclipse — a fantasy set at an otherworldly college.
Suture Girl — a backdoor pilot based on the Gretchen Culver character in the Spawn comic books.
Sci-Fi will double its programming budget over the next two years, Ms. Hammer said, though she declined to specify dollars. The focus will be on original productions and the goal will be “to broaden and to bring things back to earth,” Ms. Hammer said. She added that the channel is seeking to hold onto its core audience of science-fiction fanatics while broadening its appeal, and that the science-fiction genre itself will be more broadly defined to take the channel beyond space operas and actors in latex alien suits.
The network also expects to telecast 22 original movies in 2004, Ms. Hammer said.