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May 20, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Moonves Touts CBS’s Sweeps Sweep

CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, on a conference call with reporters today, declared a “sweeps trifecta” with the network’s May sweeps victory in total viewers.

For the first time in 15 years, the network will have won all three sweeps-November, February and May. “That makes it game, set and match for sweeps periods this season,” Mr. Moonves said.He also noted that CBS is closing the gap in demos, only 0.4 ratings points behind NBC in adults 25 to 54 and 0.6 or 0.7 behind NBC in adults 18 to 49.

While the other networks focus on the advertiser-friendly 18 to 49 demographic, Mr. Moonves said he sees no reason to change a profitable strategy. “We think we’re the most profitable network in prime time,” he said.

“The money is coming in here just fine based on 25 to 54 and based on older demographics. I’d rather have my bottom line than the four other networks that are shooting solely for 18 to 49.”He said CBS is more profitable than NBC on Thursday nights because while NBC may bring in more ad money on that night, CBS’s shows aren’t as expensive as NBC’s.

CBS also didn’t specifically try to develop younger shows for next season and doesn’t worry about casting actors who appeal to an older crowd, Mr. Moonves said. “We’re looking at getting a lot younger but not sacrificing what we have,” he said.

Also of note:Mr. Moonves said, “Some feelers were put out there” by 20th Century Fox Television and David E. Kelley Productions to see whether CBS would be interested in buying The Practice if ABC decided to let it go. Mr. Moonves said the show would have been awfully expensive for CBS considering the network likes its returning shows and shows in development.

Dating game show Cupid will debut soon after July 4 while Big Brother returns the week after July 4. Sitcoms Charlie Lawrence and Baby Bob will also get summer runs.

NBC News Add More Unit: NBC News has created a news specials and special projects unit that will be headed by executive producer Mark Lukasiewicz. Also named to the unit was Philip Alongi, who has been has been named executive director of NBC News specials planning, and Elizabeth Wilner, recently hired from ABC News to be political director for NBC News.

Beth O’Connell, who has been executive producer of special events at NBC News, will work with the new unit but also focus on overseeing the spots produced under the label NBC News Radio.

McCaffery Stepping Down at ValueVision: ValueVision Media, the company that owns ShopNBC and ShopNBC.com, said today that CEO Gene McCaffery is stepping down after the company reported a decline in fiscal first-quarter profit.

For the three months ended April 30, the Minneapolis-based company reported a quarterly profit of $532,000, down 13 percent from a year-earlier profit of $609,000. Revenue rose 8 percent to $143.5 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization slipped to $4.4 million from a year-earlier $5.3 million.

The company said it fell victim to the recession and the Iraq war, which slowed retail sales at the company’s ShopNBC properties. However, those declines were offset by growth in the number of households that receive ShopNBC, which grew by 2.1 million following the previous quarter’s addition of 2.4 million households, in part due to the company’s acquisition of WWDP-TV in Boston during the quarter.

Browne Named Telemundo COO: NBC News and stations veteran Don Browne has been named chief operating officer of NBC-owned Spanish-language Telemundo. He will report to Telemundo President and CEO James McNamara and will oversee the 15 Telemundo-owned stations, affiliate relations and distribution, network news, research, Telemundo Studios operations and engineering and Telemundo’s English-language cable network, mun2.

Mr. Brown’s predecessor at Telemundo, Alan Sokol, will be leaving the company whose acquisition by Sony and Liberty Media for $750 million he constructed in 1997. He helped grow Telemundo into a sprawling organization that was worth $2.70 billion to NBC in 2001.

Mr. Browne had long lobbied for NBC to get into Spanish-language TV. He will continue to be based in Miami, where he has been general manager of WTVJ-TV for the past decade and also had been was bureau chief for NBC News from 1979 to 1989. In between those assignments, he was a key executive at NBC News.

Mr. Browne’s successor as general manager of WTVJ-TV is expected to be named in several weeks.

Fox Wins Monday: A special edition of American Idol boosted the finale of Mr. Personality and put Fox over the top for the night in adults 18 to 49. The American Idol special focusing on the two finalists Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken won the 8 p.m. hour with a 7.3 rating and 20 share, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.

The finale of Mr. Personality at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. was up 44 percent over its season average in adults 18 to 49 with a second-place 5.6 rating/13 share. CBS won the 9 p.m. hour with a 45 minute Everybody Loves Raymond finale and the first 15 minutes of an hour and 15 minute CSI: Miami finale.

NBC’s Martha, Inc. from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. pulled a solid 5.2/12 in adults 18 to 49, beating ABC’s three-hour 50th anniversary special, which had a 3.6/9.For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 6.5/17, followed by CBS (6.1/15), NBC (4.5/11) and ABC (3.6/9). In total viewers, CBS won the night with a17.4 million, followed by Fox (14.1 million), NBC (11.9 million) and ABC (11.2 million).