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Jun 3, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC Renews ‘Days of Our Lives’

NBC renewed “Days of Our Lives” for five more years. That keeps the long-running soap opera on NBC through May 2009. Former head writer James Reilly has agreed to return as head writer of “Days.” Mr. Reilly left “Days” to create another daytime soap for NBC, “Passions,” which he will continue to oversee. NBC will pay about $1.7 million to $1.8 million a week to license the show from producers Sony Pictures Television and Corday Productions. “Days” is executive produced by Ken Corday, son of the shows creators Betty and Ted Corday. Steve Wyman is also co-executive producer.

‘Love or Money’ Premiere Comes in Second: NBC’s new relationship show “For Love or Money” premiered to a strong second in adults 18 to 49 last night. It scored a 4.7 rating and 12 share, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers. That finished behind only CBS’s potent lineup of reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Still Standing” and “CSI: Miami.” “For Love or Money” averaged 10.2 million total viewers- also second to CBS. “For Love of Money” built its 18 to 49 rating by 42 percent from its first half-hour to its fourth. It also helped NBC tie CBS for the night in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.5 rating. Fox was third for the night in the demo (3.1/9) with a run of “Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” followed by ABC (1.8/5)-which aired the NHL’s Stanley Cup Final between the New Jersey Devils and Anaheim Mighty Ducks-UPN (1.4/4) and The WB (1.1/3).

In total viewers, CBS won the night with 12.7 million viewers, followed by NBC (9.8 million), Fox (7.4 million), ABC (4 million), The WB (3.2 million) and UPN (3.2 million).

Stewart Faces Possible Indictment

Martha Stewart could be indicted by a federal grand jury sometime “in the near future” in connection with allegations she had insider information prior to selling shares of biotech company ImClone Systems 18 months ago, her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, said today.

Officials at the lifestyle company that includes a magazine and television show also said that Ms. Stewart is likely to be named in a civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was informed last October that the so-called doyenne of domesticity was likely to be a target of a civil suit from the SEC that could result in Ms. Stewart facing stiff fines or losing her chief executive position.

Throughout these allegations, Ms. Stewart has denied any wrongdoing.

Her company said that it and the board of directors “have been planning for a number of possible contingencies, are evaluating the current situation and will take action as appropriate.” A spokeswoman did not return a call for comment.

Today’s announcement came after lawyers for Ms. Stewart were told by the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York that Ms. Stewart is a target of a criminal investigation and that the U.S. Attorney’s Office intends to present the case before a federal grand jury.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office had no comment.

Ms. Stewart has been embroiled for more than a year in SEC and Justice Department probes into her December 2001 sale of almost 4,000 shares of ImClone stock. Federal prosecutors and SEC investigators are examining the sale to determine whether she had insider information about bad news surrounding an ImClone cancer drug, which could have prompted her to sell the shares.

Oxygen to Air ‘Ellen DeGeneres’: Oxygen will be giving new air to the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” repeating the one-hour syndicated strip hosted by actress/comedian Ellen DeGeneres one week after the daily episodes are originally telecast. The series will premiere on Oxygen Sept. 15.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is produced by Crazy Monkey, in association with Telepictures Products and is distributed to cable by Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution and to broadcast stations by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

The repurposing deal was made between Oxygen and Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution.

Scholastic Entertainment Programs Set for PBS: A $9.2 million grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to develop a children’s multimedia project will be the core funding for “The Misadventures of Maya and Miguel,” a new animated children’s series developed by Scholastic Entertainment and set for broadcast on PBS in the fall of 2004.

That grant, the largest single grant ever given by CPB, will be combined with a PBS All America’s Kids Multimedia Programming Initiative grant and U.S. Department of Education monies to bring total funding for the series to $14 million, according to Scholastic.

The series is designed to promote cultural diversity and encourage English-language acquisition, particularly among Hispanics, and to address the need for positive media representations of Hispanic children.

“The Misadventures of Maya and Miguel,” a daily strip, will be an educational situation comedy for 6- to 8-year-olds and will consist of 65 half-hours of animated programming.