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May 28, 2003  •  Post A Comment

TV Academy Chair Bryce Zabel Will Not Run For Second Term

In a surprise move, Bryce Zabel, who took over as chairman of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, has decided not to run for a second term.

Mr. Zabel called what has been accomplished during his term “historic,” citing the rescheduling of the Emmys show after Sept. 11, the negotiation of a lucrative new Emmys broadcast agreement, the successful search for a new paid president and other initiatives. “I’ve had what amounts to two terms jammed into one,” Mr. Zabel said today after making his announcement. “More has happened on my shift than at any time in academy history. My feeling is that I’ve done my duty and it’s time to move on.”

Mr. Zabel noted that his announcement comes exactly two years, to the day, after he first sent a letter to the academy’s board of governors notifying it of his plan to run for the top volunteer job. “All the things we talked about doing have largely been accomplished, which roughly sums up why I am not running,” Mr. Zabel said. “I feel as if I have accomplished what I set out to do.”

Last week Dick Askin of Tribune Entertainment announced that he would run for chairman, even if it meant taking on Mr. Zabel. That was not a factor in his decision, Mr. Zabel insisted, although he declined to throw his support to Mr. Askin. Mr. Zabel said he expects at least three other candidates to surface, and he wants to be able to work with whomever is elected on the transition without coloring it with internal politics.

“I hope to use this time [the remaining four months of his term] to remain apolitical and still accomplish some things,” Mr. Zabel said.

His immediate plans include ramping up his own producing and writing career, including a project being developed with HBO called Hearts and Minds about postwar Iraq. “Ultimately, it’s a matter of priorities,” Mr. Zabel said. “I stepped up to do my service to the community and now I need to stand down in order to focus on my family and my own writing and producing career, and that’s what I am going to do.”

‘Model’ Rating Improves: The second episode of UPN’s America’s Next Top Model outperformed its debut episode last week in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers. Model scored a 1.6 rating and 5 share in adults 18 to 49 compared with a 1.5/4 from last week and 3.2 million viewers compared with last week’s 2.9 million. UPN will rerun last night’s episode next Tuesday, June 3, at 8 p.m. (ET) leading into a new episode at 9 p.m.

‘John Walsh Show’ Renewed: NBC Enterprises’ The John Walsh Show has been renewed in more than 86 percent of the United States for the 2003-04 TV season, according to NBC Enterprises President Ed Wilson.

The freshman talk show has been cleared in 28 of the top 30 markets and 45 of the top 50 for its second season in national syndication. New renewals for the daytime strip include WDIV-TV, Detroit, WMAR-TV Baltimore and WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, Mich. Previously, the NBC owned-and-operated stations as well as stations from Belo, Hearst-Argyle, Gannett, LIN, Meredith, Post-Newsweek, Scripps-Howard, Sinclair, Tribune and other top broadcast groups announced renewals for the show.

‘Boy Meets Boy’ to Air on Bravo: It’s Boy Meets Boy this July on Bravo, when the NBC-owned cable arts network debuts a limited-run reality series in which a gay bachelor chooses among several other gay bachelors. The twist: at least one of the potential gay mates is actually a straight man-“closeted,”as it were during the competition.

Also debuting on Bravo this July is The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a weekly lifestyle makeover series in which five “gay consultants,” experts in various aspects of stylishness, making over a benighted style-challenged hetero, with the avowed purpose of “building a better straight man,” as a network statement put it.

Boy Meets Boy will be hosted by Dani Behr (Extra) and is executive produced and co-created by Douglas Ross.

Levesque Joins Gemstar-TV Guide: Veteran publicity and communications specialist Christine Levesque has joined Gemstar-TV Guide International in the newly created position of executive VP, communication, marketing and government affairs.

Ms. Levesque was most recently senior VP, communication and marketing, at Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings.

At Gemstar-TV Guide, Ms. Levesque will oversee corporate communications, media relations, brand management and government affairs for Gemstar-TV Guide and its various assets, including TV Guide Magazine, TV Guide Channel, TV Guide Interactive, VCR Plus+, GUIDE Plus+ and TV Guide On Screen.