News Briefs

Jul 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“The Savage Nation” has been canceled by MSNBC after the show’s controversial call-in host, Michael Savage, went on a rant about “sodomites” and said the caller on the air at the time of the live TV tirade “should only get AIDS and die, you pig.” “Savage Nation” had been a lightning rod from the beginning because of Mr. Savage’s unapologetic rhetoric against gays, women, immigrants, affirmative action and other topics. (See editorial, Page 7.) Mr. Savage was given the 5 p.m.-to-6 p.m. Saturday show on MSNBC last March despite protests from such advertisers as Procter & Gamble and such advocacy groups as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Mr. Savage posted an apology on his Web site. In 15 of its 16 outings since launching March 8 “Savage Nation” averaged 347,000 viewers, which sometimes was enough to lift MSNBC from last place in the time slot but which did not appear to translate into increased viewership beyond that hour. “MSNBC Live” is expected to be extended to fill the “Savage” slot.
Cable TV Rates Up
Cable TV rates were up last year by 8.2 percent, more than five times the rate of inflation, from $37.06 to $40.11 a month, according to a report issued last week by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC said a major component of the increase was a 10.8 percent rise in rates for cable’s enhanced programming service tier, from $19.88 to $22.02 per month. Basic service tier rates, according to the FCC, went up 3.7 percent, from $13.93 to $14.45, while the rates for equipment rose 12 percent, from $3.25 to $3.64. The FCC said the average number of channels offered also rose, from 59 to 62.7 channels, over the annual study period that ended July 1 last year, meaning that the average overall monthly rate per channel increased about 1.2 percent, from 65.6 cents to 66.4 cents. Factoring in the inflation rate of 1.5 percent, the FCC said the real per-channel rate fell by about .2 percent over the same period.
`Practice,’ `Bernie Mac’ Top Humanitas Nods
ABC’s “The Practice” and Fox’s “The Bernie Mac Show” took top TV honors at the Humanitas awards presented last week. The Humanitas awards recognize TV and film writers whose work “entertains and enriches the viewing public.” David E. Kelley won in the hour-long category for an episode of “The Practice” titled “Final Judgment.” Teri Schaffer, Steve Tompkins and Larry Wilmore won in the half-hour category for the “Bernie Mac” episode “Sweet Home Chicago Part II.” Other TV awards were: Gordan Rayfield for Showtime’s “Our America” (90 Minute or Longer Category); Marita Giovanni and Bruce Graham for Disney Channel’s “A Ring of Endless Night” (Children’s Live Action Category); and Dwayne McDuffie and Alan Burnett for The WB’s “Static Shock” episode titled “Jimmy” (Children’s Animation Category).
MT&R’s Batscha Dead at 58
Robert Batscha, president of the Museum of Television & Radio since 1981, died July 4 in Manhattan at the age of 58. The cause of death was cancer. Dr. Batscha “significantly expanded the museum’s collection of radio and television programs and advertisements, oversaw the building of the museum’s two facilities in New York and Los Angeles and secured the museum’s place as a renowned institution respected around the world,” Frank Bennack Jr., chairman of the museum’s board of trustees, said in a statement. Dr. Batscha was appointed to his position by William Paley, chairman and founder of CBS, who also founded the museum. During Dr. Batscha’s tenure, the museum’s collection grew from 5,000 programs to more than 120,000. He is survived by his son, Eric.