News Briefs

Apr 28, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Leeza Gibbons, the host and producer of Telepictures’ newsmagazine strip Extra who appeared primarily during sweeps this season, will not anchor the May sweep. In fact, Ms. Gibbons may not be back on the show in a regular role unless she and Extra decide to extend her contract, which is up this summer. A Telepictures spokesperson confirmed that Dayna Devon will take over anchoring duties on Extra for May sweeps as the company gives Ms. Gibbons more time off to work on her personal projects, which include producing E! Entertainment Television’s Michael Essany Show and working with her foundation to help fund Alzheimer’s research.

`Domestic’ Roseanne Joins ABC Family

This fall, ABC Family will air a cooking and lifestyle series starring comedian Roseanne, tentatively titled The Domestic Goddess Hour. A show chronicling the making of that series already is set to be broadcast on the ABC Television Network this summer. The ABC series, executive produced by Roseanne and Emmy Award-winner R.J. Cutler, follows Roseanne through her inimitable life and centers around the development and pitching process for Goddess Hour. The 13-week summer run of the ABC show will lead up to the fall launch of ABC Family’s launch of Goddess Hour.

`Classmates’ in Session This June

Twentieth Television will debut Classmates, the half-hour strip it has developed with Classmates.com, June 30 on select Fox owned-and-operated stations. The series will be a half-hour strip featuring surprise reunions among former friends, lovers, schoolmates or colleagues. David Armour will serve as executive producer and showrunner in concert with executive producers Matt Papish and Glen Freyer. Classmates will be produced by Classmates Online, Pipeline Entertainment and Small Cages Productions, in association with FoxLab and Twentieth Television. Mr. Papish, the show’s creator, calls it “the perfect marriage between the Web and traditional television.”

Turner Makes Koonin `Super’ Exec

Steve Koonin, the former Coca-Cola marketing executive widely credited with instituting the successful “We Know Drama” campaign at Turner Network Television, will now head Turner Broadcasting System Superstation as well as TNT. It’s the latest executive management consolidation at TBS in the new Philip Kent era, with Mr. Koonin’s becoming executive VP and chief operating officer of both big TBS general entertainment cable networks. Mr. Koonin will be responsible for a broad array of functions at the two top-rated basic cable networks, including all programming, on-air promotion, marketing and day-to-day operations, though both sports and ad sales will continue to be headed by David Levy.

Outdoor Life gets `Mysterious’

Beginning in August, Outdoor Life Network will telecast a 13-episode season of Mysterious Encounters, a new series that focuses on outdoor encounters with unexplained species, from Sasquatch to the Loch Ness Monster. The show is produced by Bosch Media and White Wolf Entertainment, producers of Discovery Channel’s Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, and is distributed by CableReady.

NBC Shot `Just Shoot Me’

NBC killed Just Shoot Me by pulling it off the air for May sweeps. The company had scheduled back-to-back episodes of the sitcom on Tuesday nights from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. throughout the sweeps, but after the series pulled a 1.9/5 rating in adults 18 to 49 and averaged fewer than 5 million viewers for the hour, the network replaced it with specials. Shoot was returning to the air after a four-month hiatus.