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Apr 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

ABC Pulls ‘All American Girl’

ABC pulled All American Girl off its schedule and is shifting it to sister cable network ABC Family. Two episodes of Girl have yet to air. The next episode will air on Thursday, May 1, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. on ABC Family. After that show, viewers will be able to call in and vote for the girl they think should win the title of All American Girl. They can also vote online at abc.com.

That doesn’t give the two networks much time to alert viewers to the network switch for the show. However, an ABC Family spokesperson said ABC would promote the switch on its air. The winner of Girl will be revealed in the final episode airing Saturday, May 24, from 9 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. An eight-hour Girl marathon of all the previous episodes will run before the finale.

In its last airing Thursday, April 24, on the first night of May sweeps, Girl averaged a 1.2 rating and 3 share in adults 18 to 49 and 3.8 million viewers. It had already switched time slot once, moving from Wednesdays at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., where it premiered.

ABC will fill out its Thursday, May 1, schedule with reruns of My Wife and Kids from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and PrimeTime Thursday from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Thursday, May 8, ABC will air Favorite Stars: Then & Now … an E! Entertainment Special from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

ABC Family ran a mini-marathon of Girl’s first three episodes, but it has not run original episodes of the show before.

McTavish Returns to ‘All My Children’: Megan McTavish will return to ABC’s All My Children as head writer May 5. She was head writer from 1997 to 1999. Ms. McTavish most recently was head writer on General Hospital from April 2001 to June 2002. During her previous stint at All My Children, Ms. McTavish won two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing and two Emmys for Outstanding Daytime Drama.

“I am thrilled to welcome Megan back to ABC Daytime,” said ABC Daytime President Brian Frons. Her extensive history with All My Children, coupled with her exciting ideas for the show, make her the right fit to take over the helm of the writing team at a time when AMC is venturing into new and uncharted territory.”

Current co-head writers Gordon Rayfield and Anna Cascio will remain with the show for a brief transition period.

WE Wants to ‘Live, Love, Laugh’: Just in time for Upfront, WE: Women’s Entertainment has unveiled its latest branding initiative, Live, Love, Laugh.

The campaign will feature Live, Love, Laugh songs and videos commissioned from the B52s (Rock Lobster) and Lucy Woodward (While You Can) as well as a trade ad campaign and outdoor billboards in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Oxygen Moves Toward Telefilms: Oxygen is going into the original telefilm business, commissioning The Tale of Two Wives, its first project, a romantic comedy the network is co-producing with Working Title, the company that made Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Fully 50 percent of the network’s schedule this season will be originals, according to Debby Beece, Oxygen’s president of programming. New comedies coming to the women’s network include eight new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous, the British cult comedy hit, scheduled to premiere in early 2004; Can You Tell? a new reality game show, set to debut June 16; Hey Monie, an animated comedy about Monie, an African American woman; Life’s a Bitch, another animated comedy, set for early in 2004, about three 30-something women in Los Angeles; Sexual Anthropology, a half-hour dramedy due in early 2004 that centers on a 20-something anthropology professor looking for love; and In Your Dreams, a romantic comedy for the fourth quarter about young academics working on a book together about human relationships.

Returning series include The Isaac Mizrahi Show, Girls Behaving Badly, Conversations from the Edge With Carrie Fisher, Talk Sex With Sue Johanson, Women and the Badge and Oprah After the Show.

Vivendi Seeks Buyer for VUE: Vivendi Universal Chairman and CEO Jean-Rene Fourtou said Tuesday that he and his management team would be “deluding ourselves” if they were to continue trying to manage Vivendi Universal Entertainment from the conglomerate’s Paris headquarters. He said the team is now examining offers from a number of potential buyers.

“Since early March, we have become convinced that there is no point in thinking we can develop VUE and grow that business knowing it’s in Los Angeles and we are here,” Mr. Fourtou said, speaking through an interpreter at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in Paris.Mr. Fourtou refused to provide details of the negotiations, but did say that disposing of the entertainment assets-which include cable channels USA and Sci-Fi, a television production arm that produces such shows as Law & Order, a film studio and theme parks-has become his top priority.

“The TV channels have to be considerably developed in order to have any chance,” he said. “Can we become a lead player in U.S. television? No.”

A sale would be part of Vivendi’s overall strategy to get out from under a mountain of debt caused in part by the acquisition of the entertainment assets under ousted CEO Jean-Marie Messier. Mr. Fourtou has said he wants to sell upward of 7 billion euros ($7.7 billion) in assets this year to help further pare down the company’s debt, which has already been cut to 12.3 billion euros ($13.6 billion) from a high of 37 billion euros last year.

Among the potential bidders that could be interested in the cable and TV assets: Barry Diller’s USA Interactive and Viacom. Officials at both companies declined to comment. Oil billionaire Marvin Davis has offered to buy the entire entertainment business for $20 billion, but those talks have reportedly cooled.

Mr. Fourtou said he has no plans to sell the company’s music business, Universal Music Group, adding that no offers have been made for the music business.

“Selling music today would be tantamount to relinquishing our position for not enough money,” he said. “We have a feeling that Universal Music Group can probably stand to be kept for quite some time.”

TNS Signs With Discovery, Renews Other Deals: TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, a provider of advertiser and market information and media analysis, has signed a new agreement with Discovery Communications and renewal agreements with NBC Broadcasting, Fox Broadcasting Co., Cox Broadcasting Group and The New York Times.

The Fox, NBC and Cox renewals are for five-year terms.

Lifetime Orders Two Series: Lifetime Television has given the series green light to 1-800-Missing and Wild Card, two of the four pilots it unveiled at its upfront presentation earlier this month, and most likely will use them to anchor a second night of original programming on Saturdays.

Both 1-800-Missing and Wild Card have been given 13-episode orders and will premiere in August.

1-800-Missing stars Gloria Rueben as a female FBI agent whose partner is a young woman who has developed the psychic ability to find missing people. Wild Card stars 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 line-up will consist of original programming, the highest percentage in its history.