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Aug 5, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Giselle Fernandez departs ‘KTLA Morning News’

Less than two years after being named a primary anchor of the “KTLA Morning News” in Los Angeles, Giselle Fernandez is leaving the show as of Wednesday (Aug. 6), according to an announcement by KTLA-TV News Director Jeff Wald.

There was no mention in a press release of her plans, but sources said Ms. Fernandez decided to take time off to mull several opportunities as a producer and/or broadcast journalist. Sources also characterized the parting as amicable.

“KTLA Morning News” has been among the top-rated shows in Southern California from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for several years, and has battled with Fox affiliate KTTV’s “Good Day L.A.” in the local ratings race. Both shows regularly beat the network morning shows in the ratings.

“Giselle has been an integral part of the ‘Morning News’ team,” Mr. Wald said in a statement. “Her enthusiasm and contributions were immeasurable. Everyone at KTLA will miss her and know that she will be successful in her future endeavors.”

Ms. Fernandez had replaced longtime anchor Barbara Beck, who left the show abruptly. The station did not immediately name a successor.

Ms. Fernandez previously held a number of jobs at national news organizations. Among her numerous posts, she anchored NBC’s weekend edition of the “Today Show” and Sunday edition of the “NBC Nightly News.” She also handled special and foreign assignments for the NBC Network. Prior to that, Fernandez served at CBS News, substituting for Paula Zahn on “CBS This Morning,” Dan Rather on the “CBS Evening News” and Connie Chung on the “CBS Weekend News.”

Additionally, Fernandez was a regular contributor to CBS “Sunday Morning,” “Face the Nation” and “48 Hours.” Her coverage garnered five Emmy Awards.

She also co-hosted entertainment newsmagazine “Access Hollywood.” Ms. Fernandez is president of her own production company, Skinny Hippo Productions, which develops programs for cable network television.

Ms. Fernandez was married last year to John Farrand, CEO of Panavision Inc.

CBS and DirecTV Team Up for NFL: CBS Sports and DirecTV will present CBS’s primary game each week of the 17-week 2003 regular-season schedule in high definition television live on CBS. The primary game broadcast in digital television’s highest definition format, 1080i, also will be made available to subscribers of DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package throughout the -regular season.

Both over-the-air and DirecTV customers must have appropriate HD-enabled equipment to be able to view the games. The HD games will be regionalized on the CBS Television Network, but on NFL Sunday Ticket they will be subject to the NFL’s hometown blackout rule only when the hometown stadium is not sold out. The designation of the HD game will be determined on a week-to-week basis.

NBC and Sony to Exhibit at NATPE: As promised last January NBC Enterprises and Sony Pictures will formally exhibit on the convention floor during the National Association of Television Program Executives annual conference next year. The official return of the distributors promises to liven up a convention that had seen a mass exodus in recent years to cheaper hotel suites during the market. NATPE 2004 will be held at the adjoined Venetian Hotel and Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas next Jan. 18 to 20, 2004. NBC Enterprises and Sony Pictures Television are the first major distributors to agree to return to the association’s exhibition floor.

Others syndicators continue to mull their options, and though some of the majors could end up returning, it is almost certain that others will continue to do business in suites, according to sources.

However, new NATPE chairman Rick Feldman said: “I am delighted NBC Enterprises and Sony Pictures Television have decided to exhibit on our floor in Las Vegas next January, and I am hopeful that other distributors will consider joining them. As a former buyer, it is my firm belief that the exhibition floor is a much more conducive arena in which to participate at NATPE than in hotel suites, and we are taking every measure within our power to make our 2004 floor at the Sands the best exhibition option for all distributors.”

FCC Ownership Rules Go Into Effect Sept. 4: The Federal Communications Commission announced Tuesday that it’s new media ownership rules will go into effect Sept. 4, 30 days after they were finally published in today’s Federal Register. There’s still a freeze on filing merger applications, pending Office of Management and Budget approval of the new forms for the deals. But that approval is expected within the next couple of weeks.

An FCC source said the agency is free to begin processing the applications as of Sept. 4, even though leading lawmakers are threatening to overturn critical parts of the FCC’s deregulation. One industry source said Congress will have at least two months to intervene because it takes the FCC at least that long to process a routine application. The publication of the rules also clears the way for parties to challenge the new regulations in the courts, which could also stay the regulations.

Cablevision Gets Q2 Profit Boost: Cablevision Systems today swung to a second-quarter profit of $162.1 million, or 57 cents a share, compared with a loss of $98.2 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago. But the company fell short of analysts’ expectations in terms of revenue and lowered its projections for full-year cash flow.

At the same time the company revealed it has discovered new accounting problems at its Rainbow Media unit.

Revenue at the Bethpage, N.Y.,-based company rose 8 percent to $973.3 million, short of First Call’s estimate of $992 million. Meanwhile, the company reported a 5 percent growth in cash flow to $300.5 million for the quarter.

The company said cash flow was hurt in part by higher programming costs related to carrying the YES Network and higher marketing, field service and call-center costs associated with channel realignments and new channel launches. The second-quarter results prompted the company to lower its growth estimate for full-year cash flow to 14 percent to 16 percent from 16 percent to 18 percent.

On the cable operations side, the company said revenue rose 10 percent to $623.7 million, thanks to growth in the company’s digital cable and high-speed data services. Meanwhile, Rainbow Media, the cable programming arm, reported a 37 percent jump in revenue, thanks to higher affiliate fees and strong advertising revenue growth at American Movie Classics and WE: Women’s Entertainment.

The cable operator said the investigation into improper accounting at the company’s Rainbow Media unit has revealed fresh problems with improperly booked expenses at the original production operations at American Movie Classics and WE: Women’s Entertainment. In June the company said it fired 14 Rainbow executives after discovering they improperly booked marketing expenses at AMC and WE for three years.

Lifetime Premiere Breaks Net Record: Despite mixed reviews from critics, Lifetime’s new original series “1-800 MISSING” and “Wild Card” scored solid ratings for the cable net last Saturday night. “1-800 MISSING” was the most-watched premiere in Lifetime’s 19-year history, averaging 3.3 million total viewers (3.1 household rating), while “Wild Card” ranked third all-time with 2.8 million total viewers (2.7 household rating). On Saturday night, Lifetime ranked No. 1 among all basic cable networks.

‘Southern Home’ to Air on Turner South: Turner South, Turner Broadcasting’s regional entertainment network, is putting a Southern accent on home-improvement programming with “Southern Home By Design,” a 20-episode half-hour daily daytime series premiering Sept. 8.

The series, part of a four-program two-hour daily block of Southern lifestyle programs, will replicate the interior of a traditional Southern home and consist of home, garden and woodworking projects demonstrated by step-by-step instructions.

Turner South is available in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and regions of North Carolina.