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Apr 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

‘Nightline’ Wins Two Peabodys

For the second time in its history, ABC News’ Nightline has won two George Foster Peabody Awards in the same year, one for a program that focused on burn victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and those helping them recover and the other for a week-long series on conflict in the Congo.

CNN and correspondent Nic Robertson won a Peabody for the Terror on Tape series, which included videotapes showing al Qaeda terror training.

CBS and 48 Hours won for 9/11, which was shaped from video shot by French brothers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who set out to do a documentary about a New York City fire company and found themselves and their subjects at the World Trade Center when the towers were toppled by terrorists.

PBS and WGBH-TV won Peabodys, one for ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre’s contemporary variation on Othello and one for a presentation of Almost a Woman on Masterpiece Theatre’s American Collection.

Entertainment programs receiving Peabodys included NBC freshman Boomtown and Fox’s Boston Public, for an episode about the n-word. Individual TV station winners were Hearst-Argyle-owned WISN-TV in Milwaukee, Post-Newsweek-owned KPRC-TV in Houston and Belo-owned WFAA-TV in Dallas.

A total of 31 awards will be handed out at the 62nd annual Peabody lunch, to be hosted by ABC News’ Barbara Walters May 19 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. The ceremony will be telecast in June by A&E.

A complete list of Peabody recipients is available at www.peabody.uga.edu.

Clarke to Manage KWBP: Tribune Company has named Kieran Clarke VP and general manager of KWBP-TV, its recently acquired WB affiliate in Portland, Ore. Mr. Clarke has been director of sales at KTXL-TV, Tribune’s Fox affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., since December 1999, and before that was with the group’s KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

Bruckheimer Signs Deal With Warner Bros.: Jerry Bruckheimer signed a four-year deal with Warner Bros. Television to keep his production company parked at the studio. The deal covers reality, drama and comedy production and will keep him at the studio through May 2007. Bruckheimer Television produces dramas CSI, CSI: Miami and Without a Trace and the reality show The Amazing Race. CBS, Fox and The WB have each ordered different Bruckheimer-produced drama pilot for fall 2004.

Fox Does It Again: A one-hour American Idol trounced the competition last night and provided a strong lead-in to Fox’s new sitcom Wanda at Large. Airing at 9:30 p.m. immediately following Idol, Wanda won its time slot with a 6.6 rating and 16 share in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers with 13.9 million. However, it lost 8.6 million viewers from the last half-hour of Idol and lost 4 ratings points in adults 18 to 49.

ABC’s The Bachelor was stung by Idol. From 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Bachelor was a distant second in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.1/10, behind Idol’s 10.7/26. The second half-hour of Bachelor grew to a 5.8/14, but came in second to Wanda. ABC’s All American Girl sank to a 2.6/7 in adults 18 to 49 and a mere 5.5 million total viewers from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 7.9/20, followed by NBC (4.2/11), ABC (3.6/9) and CBS (3.0/8). In total viewers, Fox won with 16.4 million, followed by NBC (12.5 million), CBS (10.1 million) and ABC (8.1 million).

‘Idol’ Contestants Saved: Eight American Idol finalists remain after no one was voted off last night. Trenyce and Carmen Rasmusen were identified as the two contestants who received the fewest votes, but both get another chance next week because the show’s producers kicked off Corey Clark earlier in the week. Mr. Clark was asked to leave the show because he lied to producers about having been arrested and charged with assaulting his teen-age sister. The vote totals from this week will be added to next week’s, with the combined total deciding who will be eliminated.

‘Home Improvement’ Special to Air: ABC will air the one-hour special Tim Allen Presents: A User’s Guide to Home Improvement during sweeps Sunday, May 4, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with a repeat on Saturday, May 17, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The Tim Allen-hosted special will include favorite clips and bloopers and was originally scheduled to air Tuesday, April 1.

‘Umbria’ to Become HBO Movie: Acclaimed literary novelist William Trevor’s My House in Umbria, about an unlikely group of characters thrown together after a terrorist attack, will become an HBO original movie, starring Dame Maggie Smith (Gosford Park). The script adaptation is by Hugh Whitemore, and the director is Richard Loncraine. The two men also collaborated on HBO’s Emmy-winning The Gathering Storm. Umbria will debut May 25.

Lifetime Spends Big on Programming: Lifetime Television will spend $800 million for programming during the next two years, as measured from third quarter 2003 to third quarter 2005, an increase of $100 million over the previous two-year period.

In addition, the network is planning to invest another $100 million in its marketing efforts during the period, a 25 percent increase over the previous marketing budget, according to a Lifetime spokeswoman.

The network for women is planning to launch a second night of original programming, adding a two-hour Saturday block this August to its current Sunday night of all-original prime-time programming. Four pilots, all previously announced, are in contention for the new Saturday spots. They are Nick and Shelly, starring Julie Warner and Adrian Pasdar as detectives, divorced from each other, who solve crimes together; Follow the Leeds, starring Sharon Lawrence and Maria Pitillo as two suburban women who run a private investigation business with the help of their mother, played by Marsha Mason; 1-800-Missing, starring Gloria Rueben as an FBI agent whose partner is a young woman who has developed the psychic ability to find missing people; and Wild Card, starring Joely Fisher as a former Las Vegas blackjack dealer who assumes care of her sister’s children and stumbles into a career as an insurance fraud investigator.

For the 2003-2004 season nearly 60 percent of the network’s lineup will consist of original programming, the highest percentage in its history.

The network is also planning a Designing Women reunion special and a Golden Girls retrospective, each to be 90 minutes. Limited-run reality programming coming from Lifetime includes Secret Lives, set for June, which tells the stories of people who have led double lives.