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Apr 16, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Tollin/Robbins Moves to Touchstone

Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins are moving their production shingle Tollin/Robbins Productions to Touchstone Television from Warner Bros. Mr. Tollin and Mr. Robbins signed a multiyear deal with Touchstone. “I couldn’t be more excited about getting into business with Mike and Brian and their company; they are such a great addition to our already strong stable of talent,” said Stephen McPherson, president, Touchstone Television. “Their talent, style, taste and determination fit perfectly within our studio, and I look forward to much success together.”

Tollin/Robbins had been parked for the past four years at Warner Bros., where the company developed TV series such as The WB’s Smallville and What I Like About You. The company has four network pilot orders for this fall: ABC drama Better Days, ABC comedy I’m With Her, an untitled comedy created by Michael Glouberman and Andrew Orenstein for Fox and The WB drama One Tree Hill.

“This is an exciting new chapter for our company,” Mr. Tollin and Mr. Robbins said in a written statement. “Steve has created an environment with a high regard for passion, originality and the creative process. We enjoyed our four-year run with Warner Bros. and have nothing but good feelings for Bruce Rosenblum, Peter Roth and everyone there.”

Group Urges Boycott of ‘Platinum’: The Project Islamic HOPE is calling for a boycott of the UPN series Platinum, which debuted Monday night. Najee Ali, national director of Project Islamic HOPE, complained that the show focuses on the worst elements of the hip-hop world, such as gangsterism, violence, misogyny and brutality. The group scheduled a press conference for today to demand a meeting with the show’s producers and encourage advertisers to boycott the show.

UPN responded in a statement that the network and producers set out to make a realistic show. “This critically acclaimed series is edgy, sexy. The language is raw and the series is at times violent. There is nothing else like it on television, and it is a very honest behind-the-scenes look at aspects of the hip-hop industry.

“Some of the executive producers, writers, directors and even stars come from the hip-hop world and know first-hand about this industry. It is their experience that they are retelling in Platinum. So while we respect Mr. Ali’s opinion, we believe our viewers who are fans of hip-hop music and fans of good television will very much enjoy this show.”

‘Watching Ellie’ Is Back: NBC’s revamped sitcom Watching Ellie, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, returned last night to a second-place finish in its time slot in adults 18 to 49. It scored a 3.4 rating/9 share from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., finishing second to Fox’s 24 (5.3/13 for the half-hour), according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. It also finished second to 24 in total viewers with 9.6 million viewers.

With its combo of American Idol and 24, Fox won the night in adults 18 to 49 with a 7/19, followed by NBC (3.3/9), ABC (3.2/9) and CBS (2.3/6). In total viewers, Fox won the night with 15.7 million, followed by NBC (10 million), CBS (9.8 million)and ABC (8.2 million).

FCC Won’t Delay Vote: Thanks, but no thanks. That was the behind-the-scenes response of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell to a request from key lawmakers that the agency put a temporary hold on its media ownership proceeding to let Congress and the public comment on the precise regulatory changes Mr. Powell has in mind. In an April 9 letter, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers-including, Sens. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., and Trent Lott, R-Miss., said it believes it “virtually impossible to serve the public interest in this extremely important and highly complex proceeding without letting the public know about and comment on the changes you intend to make to these critical rules.” Mr. Powell said the FCC is still planning to act on the regulations in early June. “I firmly believe, based on where the commission is today, that further and more specific notice is unwarranted in light of the full record before us and weighed against the pitfalls of further delay,” Mr. Powell said. Among the lawmakers who have urged Mr. Powell to stick to his announced plan to vote on the regulations June 2 is Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.