News Briefs

May 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The season-long seesaw battle for second place among the major newsmaker shows went to CBS’s Face the Nation With Bob Schieffer, which finished with an average of 2.907 million viewers, down 6 percent season to season. It had an average lead of 160,000 viewers over ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos, which was down 16 percent season to season to an average of 2.748 million viewers. It is the first time since at least 1987 and the advent of People Meters that Face has beaten Week, which former Clinton White House aide Stephanopoulos took over last September, for a whole TV season. It also is Week’s worst May sweeps performance (2.182 million viewers) in at least 16 years. ABC is expected to move Week executive producer Jon Banner to the same role on World News Tonight shortly. NBC’s Meet the Press With Tim Russert breezed through the 2002-2003 season, finishing with an average of 4.709 million viewers, a season-to-season loss of only 1 percent. Fox News Sunday was the only Sunday morning show to buck the seasonal loss trend, up 6 percent with an average of 1.639 million viewers.
Matthews Making Sunday Mark
NBC’s syndicated The Chris Matthews Show is ending its freshman year with bragging rights about ratings growth (94 percent over the course of the season), renewals (pickups already represent more than 83 percent of the country) and buzz (it’s becoming a show plugged-in reporters want to be on). But the bragging right that may set off the biggest ripples in Washington is that the highly competitive Mr. Matthews ended his debut season by beating three network Sunday newsmaker shows in the ratings on one weekend. For the week ending May 11, Matthews averaged a 1.8 household rating (not counting the second run the show gets in many markets), according to national Nielsen Media Research data, which shows CBS’s Face The Nation With Bob Schieffer with a 1.7, ABC’s This Week With George Stephanopoulos with 1.5 and Fox News Sunday at 1.0.
Sucherman Gets Friendly on West Coast
TV executive and producer Andy Friendly, who made some of his biggest marks at CNBC, King World and Entertainment Tonight, has joined Sucherman Consulting Group as senior consultant, West Coast. Mr. Friendly will be based in the firm’s Los Angeles office, working closely on a non-exclusive basis with founder Stuart F. Sucherman and Sean Scanlon, who heads the company’s East Coast operation. Sucherman is a management consulting firm that works with media, entertainment and creative organizations including broadcast and cable networks, major studios, television station groups and international cable networks.
Oprah Extends Contract Through 2007-08
Oprah Winfrey, whose syndicated talk show begins its 18th season this September, has extended her contract through the 2007-08 season. Under the new terms, Ms. Winfrey, who produces and stars in The Oprah Winfrey Show, will produce and star in 145 original episodes for the 2003-04 season, the same number of originals produced for this season, and 130 original episodes for each of the four seasons thereafter. The extension is Ms. Winfrey’s second in about a year. Until the announcement, most industry insiders expected her to call it quits after the 2005-06 season.
Dylan McDermott Out of `The Practice’ in Reshuffle
The Practice star Dylan McDermott will not return to the long-running ABC legal drama this fall, as part of a major reshuffle of the cast. Also exiting are cast members Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Lara Flynn Boyle, Marla Sokoloff and Chyler Leigh. The changes apparently were necessitated by a major cut in the license fee ABC will pay for the show’s 22 episodes this season. Sources told TelevisionWeek the fee had been roughly cut in half to about $3.5 million per episode. The show, which has been on for seven seasons, is produced by David E. Kelley Productions and 20th Century Fox Television.