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Aug 7, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Joe Roth Will Produce Oscarcast

Joe Roth has been tapped to produce the 76th Annual Academy Awards, which will be the first to take place a month earlier than has been customary, according to an announcement.

Mr. Roth, who is new to the Oscars, is a Hollywood veteran who has been head of movie production for Twentieth Century Fox and the Walt Disney Co. He founded Revolution Studios, whose movies include “Black Hawk Down,””Maid in Manhattan,” “Anger Management,” “Daddy Day Care” and “Gigli.”

“The Academy Awards telecast represents the motion picture industry to hundreds of millions of viewers around the globe,” said academy President Frank Pierson, who was just elected to another term. “It requires a sure hand and a creative mind, and with next year’s foreshortened production schedule, it will require someone who works well in a whirlwind. I’m sure we’ve found that person in Joe Roth.”

“The Academy Awards are the ultimate celebration of the motion picture industry, and to be chosen as the producer of this iconic event is an honor,” Mr. Roth said in a statement. “I have been involved in filmmaking for almost 30 years, and the opportunity to recognize the remarkable achievements of this year’s honorees is an exciting undertaking.”

The Oscars will take place Feb. 29 in Hollywood and will be broadcast in the United States by the ABC network.

‘SlamBall’ Premiere Fares Well on Spike TV: The opening game of Spike TV’s extreme sport series “SlamBall” drew a 2.4 rating in men 18 to 34 and 2.3 million viewers overall. The high-contact game, which airs late Monday nights, combines aspects of basketball, football and hockey. Spike TV noted the ratings exceeded 18-34 viewership of recent airings of NBA, NHL and MLB games on other networks.

“Extreme sports are capturing a whole new generation of sports fans,” said Albie Hecht, president, Spike TV. “SlamBall is part of the next wave of sports, and as the first network for men, we want to be a force in this genre.”

CBS Wins With ‘Big Brother’: CBS won the night last night in adults 18 to 49 with an assist from “Big Brother,” which was the highest-rated show of the night with a 3.9 rating/12 share, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. ABC’s debut of “The Real Roseanne Show” last night was a disappointing third place with a 2.1/7 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., beating only a repeat of NBC’s “The West Wing,” which pulled an anemic 1.6/5 in the demo.

The second time around for ABC’s “The Family” isn’t producing much better results. Last night’s episode scored a third-place 2.0/6. “The Family” first debuted in the spring, but was yanked off the schedule after it underperformed in the ratings. It returned last week with a two-hour catch-up episode, which had a 1.9/6.

NBC’s latest reality entry, “Race to the Altar,” dropped to a 2.0/7 and fourth-place time slot finish from the 2.7/9 it premiered with a week ago.

For the night in adults 18 to 49, CBS won the night with a 2.9/9, followed by Fox (2.8/9), ABC (2.4/8) and NBC (2.3/7). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 9.1 million, followed by NBC (6.9 million), Fox (6.8 million) and ABC (5.8 million).

Shriver Takes Leave of Absence at NBC: Maria Shriver, a staple of NBC News for 17 years, is taking an unpaid leave of absence while her husband, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, campaigns for the governorship of California.

Ms. Shriver, an NBC News correspondent and a contributing anchor for “Dateline NBC,” submitted her request Thursday morning and NBC News agreed.

It was only hours after Mr. Schwarzenegger, whose campaign advisors had seemed to be leading the political press in the other direction, announced his decision to get into the increasingly crowed and wacky race to replace Gov. Gray Davis. on NBC’s “Tonight Show.” The much-hyped appearance pushed Jay Leno’s late-night show to a three-year Wednesday overnights high of 6.9 rating/17 share in 55 overnights local markets metered by Nielsen Media Research.

A spokeswoman for “Dateline” said Ms. Shriver has no unaired stories in the can and no stories featuring her will run as long as Mr. Schwarzenegger is involved in the race.

Prather Moves to KTNV-TV: Jim Prather, who has served as Journal Broadcast Group president for television and as general manager of NBC-affiliated WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee, is moving to Las Vegas as Journal Broadcast’s president for news and as general manager of ABC-affiliated KTNV-TV. Mr. Prather also will hold the title of senior VP of the Journal Broadcast Group. WTMJ-TV will be managed by General Sales Manager Mark Strachota while a search is conducted for Mr. Prather’s successor.

’60 Minutes’ to Honor Nelson: The late producer Trevor Nelson will be remembered by CBS’s “60 Minutes” on this Sunday’s broadcast. Nelson died July 24 of complications from meningitis at the age of 34. He was a producer for correspondent Steve Kroft, who will deliver a brief eulogy following Andy Rooney’s commentary at the end of Sunday’s edition of the newsmagazine.