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Jul 10, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The WB Moves ‘Fearless’ to Midseason

The WB has pushed its new series “Fearless” to midseason, replacing it with “One Tree Hill” on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., leading out of its hit drama “Gilmore Girls.” The midseason move of “Fearless” was made at the request of the producers, who wanted more time to work on the series.

“After careful and thorough consideration, we have recommended to The WB that to best ensure the highest quality and attention for ‘Fearless,’ we launch the series at midseason,” said “Fearless” executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television, which produces the series, in a statement.

Subbing in “One Tree Hill” won’t be a problem because it is scheduled to begin production Aug. 12, so production won’t need to be accelerated, said WB Entertainment President Jordan Levin. Mr. Levin said “One Tree Hill,” which is produced by Warner Bros. and Tollin-Robbins, was one of The WB’s strongest pilots and they were holding it for midseason to attempt to duplicated the success of another WB show shot in North Carolina-“Dawson’s Creek.”

“Needless to say, we are thrilled to be in business with Jerry Bruckheimer, whose track record speaks for itself,” Mr. Levin said. “We respect his request to give ‘Fearless’ more time to develop naturally. Jerry assures us that he can deliver a better show for us at midseason. Since we had such a strong program as ‘One Tree Hill’ to move onto the fall schedule, it made the decision an easy one for us.”

Price Signs With CBS: Dave Price, who built a four-year stint as weatherman and morning-show personality on Fox’s WNYW-TV into a high profile in New York, has signed a three-pronged synergistic CBS deal that will give him a national role as weatherman and feature reporter for CBS News’ “The Early Show,” a new local berth as weekday morning weatherman on WCBS-TV, guest appearances on King World shows and the chance to develop syndicated programming for himself.

“Early Show” senior executive producer Michael Bass, who has not had a weatherman since the show was relaunched last fall with a four-anchor format, said he thinks Mr. Price “will be a humorous outlet for the group. He has a good way with people and he has a humorous take on most anything.” He said the addition is “another great evolutionary step” for the morning show that has so improved its third-ranked position that it had its best February and May sweeps in eight years this season.

The announcement of the Price deal was made by CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves and included statements from four executives in the Viacom family.

Mr. Moonves pronounced him “a unique and versatile broadcaster.” CBS News President Andrew Heyward said Mr. Price will “bring smarts and sparks to every broadcast, not only in his segments but in his rapport with” “Early” anchors Harry Smith, Hannah Storm, Rene Syler and Julie Chen. WCBS-TV general manager Lew Leone said he looks forward to “the excitement” Mr. Price will bring to the station. Roger King, CEO of CBS Enterprises and King World Productions, said, “We are proud to be a part of this collaborative CBS effort and look forward to our new relationship with Dave.”

It’s a return to the CBS family for the multiple Emmy winner, who did morning weather and features for WBBM-TV from 1996-98 before moving to the Fox-owned WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, where he stayed for less than a year before he was plucked up to New York.

‘Stephanopoulos’ Scores for ABC: ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” bagged the second Sunday morning win of its freshman season, thanks to a combination of landing a rare interview with Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Stephen Breyer and extensive pre-emptions and disruptions of “Meet the Press” because of Wimbledon coverage on NBC.

According to data from Nielsen Media Research, the July 6 edition of “Week” attracted 2.26 million viewers, followed by CBS’s “Face the Nation” (2.19 million), “Press” (1.85 million) and “Fox News Sunday” (1.60 million).

Stark Named Correspondent for NBC: Melissa Stark, who recently ended a three-year stint as lead sideline reporter on ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” has been named a national correspondent for NBC’s “Today.” Ms. Stark, who is expecting her first child in September, also will be part of NBC’s Olympics coverage in Athens, Greece, next year and other NBC Sports events under her new deal.

Ms. Stark is considered such a great get that the announcement of her hiring inspired statements from NBC’s top news and sports executives.

NBC News President Neal Shapiro pronounced himself “delighted” with the hire and said Ms. Stark “has the intelligence, energy and curiosity to do the wide variety of stories that appeal to the morning news audience.”

NBC Olympics and Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol announced he is “very happy” to have Ms. Stark, who started as an intern on “CBS Evening News” in 1993 and worked for ESPN from 1996 to 2002.

GMs Head to Washington: About 100 general managers of the TV stations owned by the Big 4 TV networks are slated to be in Washington July 16 to urge lawmakers to derail legislation aimed at rolling back the Federal Communications Commission’s recent actions relaxing its media ownership restrictions.

A network source said the GMs will contend that the owned-and-operated stations are local businesses and the healthier the networks are economically the better their stations will be able to serve their local communities. “There’s been a lot of nonsense put out about the [FCC’s deregulation spurring] an end to democracy and the end of localism,” the network source said.

“But everybody knows that a TV station is successful in direct relation to how local it is.” At least some observers were billing the session as the first official act of the Local Broadcasters Alliance, an O&O group the networks put together behind the scenes after they dropped out of the National Association of Broadcasters.

The networks bailed out of the organization because NAB was fighting a network initiative to relax a rule barring them from owning TV stations reaching more than 35 percent of TV homes. But other observers said the meeting could also be the new alliance’s last, now that NAB has dropped its effort to win legislation that would cast the 35 percent cap in legislative concrete.

CBS’s ‘Brother,’ ‘Cupid’ Perform Well:

The second episode of “Big Brother 4” won its time slot last night in adults 18 to 49 (3.6/11) and provided a decent platform for the launch of CBS’s relationship reality series “Cupid.” “Cupid” debuted with a 3.5/10, second only to NBC’s “Law & Order” repeat (3.8/11) from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.

“Cupid” improved the time slot performance from same time last year by 46 percent and finished second in total viewers with 7.6 million. ABC’s competing dating show “The Dating Experiment” sank to a 1.6/5 in adults 18 to 49 and a mere 3.6 million viewers. Repeats of ABC sitcoms “My Wife and Kids” and “George Lopez” won the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.3/11.

While Fox did not win a single half-hour from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., it did win the night in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.2/10, edging out NBC (3.1/10), CBS (3.0/10) and ABC (2.5/8). NBC won the night in total viewers with 9.7 million, followed by CBS (8.5 million), ABC (6.3 million) and Fox (6.2 million).