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Jun 20, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Gore Network ‘Not Political’

According to at least one person familiar with Al Gore’s plans for a new cable news network, the former U.S. vice president’s vision is philosophical, not partisan. “It is not a Democratic network. It is not an Al Gore vehicle. It is not political,” said Steve Rosenbaum.

Al Gore approached Mr. Rosenbaum about this project because the CameraPlanet chief executive is partial to media in which the audience plays a role. Mr. Gore is dreaming of a cable channel that would explore ideas in a way the faster-paced ratings-driven all-news cable networks do-that much is certain. Over the past few months he has had conversations with potential backers and distributors, according to numerous reports. His appointed press representatives were not commenting after a Time magazine article last week first suggested Mr. Gore’s goal is to help create a liberal alternative to the conservative voices that increasingly dominate cable news and talk radio.

Sanchez Heads Back to Miami’s WTVJ: Weeks of rampant speculation came to an end when WTVJ-TV announced that Rick Sanchez, who left Miami in 2001 to join the anchor stable at MSNBC, is returning to Miami to anchor a 4 p.m. weekday newscast the NBC owned-and-operated station plans to launch in September.

Mr. Sanchez had become a well-known anchor in the South Florida metropolis after joining WSVN-TV in 1982.

“His efforts to develop our late afternoon programming can only make our early afternoon news block stronger,” said WTVJ news director Tim Geraghty.

The Sanchez announcement follows by only two days the word that Jose Diaz-Balart, the co-anchor of Telemundo’s morning news program “Hoy en el Mundo,” will be doing double duty starting July 1, when he will also serve as Jennifer Valoppi’s co-anchor on duopoly mate WTVJ’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast.

NBC’s Maxim Special Sets Low-Clearance Mark: “Maxim’s Hot 100,” the controversial special scheduled in prime time by NBC on Saturday, June 14, got such a cold shoulder from disapproving affiliates that only 182 of the 227-station affiliate body carried it as scheduled. That resulted in the show reaching only 80 percent of the country’s TV homes, which ranked as the lowest clearance rate of any of the 109 programs on any of the six broadcast networks, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

After previewing “Hot 100,” for which the magazine bought the time from NBC, many affiliates declared its parade of scantily clad women inappropriate for their communities. Many also were unhappy that the network was willing to sell the hour of prime time. Some affiliates were ultimately convinced to offer it in late, late night, but still the show was seen in fewer markets than UPN’s “One on One,” which scored 86 percent clearance, the second-lowest figure for any nationally broadcast show during the week.

The Maxim hour attracted 2.605 million viewers, 841,000 of them men between the ages of 18 and 49 and 334,000 of them men 50 and older. The data indicates that 20 percent of the audience was 17 or younger (330,000 teens and 194,000 in the 2-to-11 demo). The remaining 35 percent of the audience was female (583,000 women 18 to 49 and 322,000 women 50 and older).

‘Cedric The Entertainer Presents’ Production Canceled: Fox has ceased production of “Cedric the Entertainer Presents,” which had been scheduled to return this fall for a sophomore season. It will still return in the fall, however, the run will consist of fresh episodes that have not yet aired from the sketch comedy-variety series’ first season. Because the show was given a rest to make room for the debut of “Wanda at Large,” several unseen episodes are still in the can.