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May 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

‘Fame’ Scores for NBC

The debut of talent show Fame scored for NBC last night, beating its rivals by a 45 percent margin among adults 18 to 49 in its 8 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot. It scored a 4.5 rating/13 share in adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data, and delivered 10.6 million total viewers. NBC also won the 10 p.m. hour with a Law & Order repeat, which pulled a 4.5/13 in adults 18 to 49.

For the night in adults 18 to 49, NBC won with a 4.5/13, followed by ABC and Fox (both at 3.1/9) and CBS (3.0/9). In total viewers, NBC won the night with 11.1 million, followed by CBS (10.8 million), ABC (7.7 million) and Fox (6.7 million).

‘Banzai’ to Air on Fox: Banzai, a half-hour spoof of Japanese game shows, will premiere Sunday, July 13, on Fox at 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Banzai is a comedic interactive betting show that encourages viewers to bet on practical jokes, stunts and gags. Tim Breadin and Gary Monaghan are creators and executive producers of the show, which is produced by Radar Productions.

Comedy Central Expands McGrath,Scannell Duties: With Comedy Central now officially inside the Viacom tent, the MTV Networks group has reorganized, expanding the roles of Judy McGrath and Herb Scannell and changing the reporting structure so that Larry Divney, president of the all-laughs cable network, reports directly to Ms. McGrath.

“Judy’s a great leader of … unconventional organizations,” Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, told TelevisionWeek. “Larry’s an unconventional guy, Judy’s an unconventional gal and we’re going to have some unconventional fun in a very conventional way.”

Ms. McGrath, formerly president of MTV Networks Music Group, will now become MTV Networks group president, responsible for MTV, MTV2, VH1, CMT and Comedy Central.

Mr. Scannell, formerly president, Nickelodeon, TV Land and TNN, will become MTV Networks group president, responsible for Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, TV Land, Noggin and TNN, which is on the verge of rebranding as Spike TV.

Both Ms. McGrath and Mr. Scannell report to Mr. Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks. The early expectation had been that Mr. Divney would report directly to Mr. Freston, his friend and colleague of more than two decades.

Mr. Freston said that the new reporting structure made more sense in a company with the size and breadth of Viacom. With all of Viacom’s domestic cable networks now reporting to either Mr. Scannell or Ms. McGrath, the “question was, do we create a third group with just Comedy Central or do we put Comedy Central into one of the existing groups?” Mr. Freston said. “If we had put it directly under me, it wasn’t as if I was going to have a lot of time to spend on it.”

Viacom was previously a half owner of Comedy Central with AOL Time Warner. Viacom recently paid $1.255 billion to acquire the entire network.

Cunningham Named CAB President: Sean Cunningham has been named president & CEO of the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.

Mr. Cunningham will join CAB in mid-June from Universal McCann, New York, where he is currently executive VP and managing director. He succeeds Joe Ostrow, who has headed the organization since 1994 and is retiring.

Universal McCann was named Media Agency of the Year in 2002 by Advertising Age, TelevisionWeek’s sister publication. UM’s New York office has $6 billion in billings, according to the CAB, and a 165-person planning and buying staff.