‘Simpsons’ Sweeps Sunday
Fox won last night in adults 18 to 49 against competition that consisted mostly of repeats. The Simpsons was the highest-rated show of the night with a 5.0/15 among adults 18 to 49. In the 10 p.m.-to-11 p.m. battle, an original Boomtown on NBC beat out ABC’s Dragnet and CBS’s Without a Trace repeat to win the time slot with a 3.5 rating and 9 share, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.5/10, followed by NBC (3.2/9), CBS (3.0/8 and ABC (2.4/7). In total viewers, CBS won with 11.4 million, followed by NBC (9.1 million), Fox (8 million) and ABC (6.7 million).
‘Ed’ Finale Wins Friday: The season finale of NBC’s Ed won its time slot on Friday with a 3.8 rating/12 share in adults 18 to 49, beating its closest competition by 31 percent. It also won in total viewers with 11 million. For the night, NBC won in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.7/13, followed by Fox (2.6/9), ABC (2.1/7) and CBS (1.9/7). In total viewers, NBC won the night with 11.2 million, followed by CBS (7.5 million), ABC (6.8 million) and Fox (6 million).
‘Fame’ Casting Begins: NBC will start casting for its summer series Fame on April 21 in Miami. As first reported in TelevisionWeek (March 10), Fame will search the country for singers and dancers with star potential. Debbie Allen, who starred in the original Fame movie and a subsequent TV series, will recruit performers and immerse them in an intense boot camp. Viewers will get to vote to decide who stays and who goes. Auditions will also be held in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Fame is produced by MGM Television Entertainment and Stone Stanley with David Stanley, Scott Stone and Jeff Margolis serving as executive producers.
ABC and WE Announce New Shows: Disney’s ABC Family and Rainbow Media’s WE: Women’s Entertainment unveiled new programming separately today. Both networks have projects that involve Courtney Cox of Friends fame, and both have ambitious original programming plans that mix scripted and reality elements.
WE is adding Mix It Up, a home design series executive produced by Ms. Cox; Diva Detectives, a reality series focusing on an all-female Las Vegas detective agency; and The Tinsley Bumble Show, a half-hour comedy series about the life of a New York heiress after her father is arrested for a white-collar crime. Like BBC America’s The Office, WE’s Bumble will employ the single-camera style of reality TV. WE also will premiere three original movies, including Between Strangers, the story of three women artists, starring Sophia Loren, Mira Sorvino, Deborah Kara Unger and Gerard Depardieu.
ABC Family is looking to lock in and grow its teen audience with a new three-hour daytime block that premieres May 26. Only MTV delivers more teens than ABC Family, said Linda Mancuso, the network’s head of programming, who unveiled Switched, in which two teenagers change lives for four days; The Brendan Leonard Show, in which 19-year-old Mr. Leonard takes his Illinois cable-access show to a national audience; and Knock First, a series in development that lets teens do some surprise redecorating.
Courtney Cox also turns up at ABC Family as an original telefilm producer. Also on ABC Family’s telefilm producers’ slate are the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley; Goldie Hawn and her daughter, actress Kate Hudson; and Britney Spears and her mother, who together have written a film in which Ms. Spears and her sister are expected to make appearances.
Series in development at ABC Family include 1001 Dates, a reality-scripted hybrid in which a fictitious dating service sends real people out on real dates, and TwentyNothings, which the network describes as an updated Friends set in Michigan.
ABC Family also expects to premiere eight new original films in the coming season, with the focus on romantic comedy. In addition, this summer the network will premiere three more romantic comedy telefilms, including See Jane Date, based on the book of the same name; will debut a new version Dance Fever, the ’80s syndicated series created by Merv Griffin; and will go behind the scenes of a celebrity wedding with a six-part reality series that follows the engagement and nuptials of Melissa Joan Hart (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch).
Moonves Becomes Chairman of CBS: Les Moonves has been boosted from president to chairman and CEO of CBS under a new four-year contract negotiated more than a year before his old contract was to expire. Mr. Moonves has presided over a turnaround that started when he joined CBS as the top programmer in 1995 and he is now trying to do the same for UPN. He recently gave up his seat on parent company Viacom’s board of directors as part of a move to make room for independent voices.
Wimbledon Cable Moves to ESPN: The Wimbledon cable package is moving to ESPN under a four-year deal that includes a record 120 hours of coverage on ESPN and ESPN2. The package includes encores on ESPN Classic, highlights on ESPN.com and ESPN Broadband, Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes and telecasts in four Latin American countries. The deal, which expires in 2006, also extends to video-on-demand, interactive TV and high-definition rights.