News Briefs

Jul 7, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Until it can discuss the issue with network affiliates, NBC has delayed plans to run day-and-date promos on the network for “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” a fashion-tips show scheduled to run Tuesday and Saturday nights on NBC-owned Bravo cable network starting July 15. The spots had been scheduled to begin airing on NBC JULY 9, but then affiliates voiced concerns. The network plans to continue running show-specific spots that omit the “Queer Eye” airtimes and that began appearing on NBC several times daily on Saturday, June 28.
FCC Subsidies Under Scrutiny
There will be no more free lunch for top Federal Communications Commission officials if legislation approved recently by the Senate Commerce Committee becomes law. A key provision in the measure bars industry from subsidizing agency visits to industry events. Under current law, industry lobbyists are permitted to pick up the tabs for agency visits to their meetings, including travel and hotel expenses. But lawmakers led by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have questioned the appearance of the practice. Other provisions in the legislation would extend the statutory obligation currently requiring the FCC to review the need for its media ownership rules from every two to every four years and require the FCC to speed up resolution of political advertising complaints.
Pax TV Picks Off Originals
Pax TV has scaled back plans for original programming for fall. The cash-strapped network will focus its original series efforts this fall on Sunday nights-22 new episodes each for “Doc” and “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye” have been ordered. It also plans to make more Mary Higgins Clark movies for its Saturday movie franchise. “Just Cause” has been put on hiatus because of financial considerations, said a Pax spokeswoman. The plan is to strip repeats of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “Early Edition” at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., respectively, Mondays through Thursdays (“Diagnosis Murder” will continue to air at 10 weeknights) and run theatrical movies on Fridays. The spokeswoman said Pax plans to launch an additional night of original programming in early 2004.
SAG/AFTRA Merger Defeated
The proposed merger of SAG and AFTRA was defeated last week by a very slim margin, with 58 percent of SAG members supporting the proposition-2 percent shy of the required amount for passing. The results were announced by SAG President Melissa Gilbert.
News Moves
Jon Banner has been named executive producer of ABC’s “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings,” Lyne Pitts is moving from CBS’s “The Early Show” to CBS’s “Evening News,” and CNBC will restructure its news management, eliminating the positions of executive producer that have been held by Ted Shaker and Elyse Weiner. Mr. Banner joins “World News Tonight” a year after he became executive producer of “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” He is succeeding Paul Slavin, recently promoted from “World News” to senior VP in charge of news-gathering operations. “Nightline” executive producer Tom Bettag is still considered the leading candidate to take over “This Week.” After nearly three years as an executive producer of “The Early Show,” Ms. Pitts is moving to CBS’s “Evening News” as senior broadcast producer. She replaces Wayne Nelson, who will move to “60 Minutes II” as a producer for correspondent Vicki Mabrey. A CNBC spokeswoman said Mr. Shaker and Ms. Weiner had opted to leave. David Friend, senior VP of business news since last December, intends to hire a news director by the end of the third quarter. CNBC will put the news director will be in charge of all programming from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m., instead of splitting dayparts between multiple executive producers.