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Aug 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Poker Tour Draws Second Season

Another season of “World Poker Tour” is in the cards for the Travel Channel, which has been flush with increased ratings due to the Wednesday night competition show. The network also has the exclusive options to broadcast five additional seasons of the program.

“The great American card game has finally found a home,” said “World Poker Tour” executive producer Steven Lipscomb. “The World Poker Tour has, quite literally, revolutionized televised poker and it is hands down the best poker on television.”

Griffin Gets New Show on NBC: Kathy Griffin’s getting another shot at NBC’s airwaves. NBC has revived a project based on her stand-up routine, which she does every week at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles. “The D-List” is being developed as a three-camera sitcom for NBC through NBC Studios. Ms. Griffin developed a half-hour show best described as a reality/sitcom hybrid last season through NBC’s alternative department, but the network passed on it.

FremantleMedia Signs Deal With Chaos Theory: FremantleMedia North America signed an overall deal with Ted Haimes and his company, Chaos Theory, to develop unscripted series for Fremantle. Mr. Haimes was part of the Rocket Science Laboratories’ team that produced “Temptation Island” and “Married by America. He has also produced numerous television specials.

SAG: Minority Roles Increased in 2002: The Screen Actors Guild has released casting statistics for 2002 that show an increase in the number of roles for Latino/Hispanic and African American performers in television programs and motion pictures. Women over the age of 40 also enjoyed a slight increase in available roles, while the number of roles for Asian Pacific Americans and Native Americans decreased slightly.

The study’s findings include: * Latino roles increased from 4.8 percent in 2001 to 6 percent.* African Americans roles increased from 14.4 percent to 15.5 percent * Asian-Pacific and Native American roles decreased from 0.37 percent to 0.2 percent in 2002

The full results of the study are available at www.sag.org.

Ad Revenues Up for Big 3 Networks: Advertising revenues for the Big 3 networks were up 0.75 percent in the second quarter of 2003, compared with the second quarter of 2002, according to a report by the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association. That’s a gain of $20 million. Prime time was the biggest daypart gainer in the second quarter, up by more than $123 million from the same time period last year.

For the first half of 2003, prime time was up by $341 million — a 12.5 percent increase. However, total net revenues for the Big 3 networks for the first half of 2003 were down by 5.6 percent compared with 2002. The report attributes part of that decline to the fact that NBC had strong ad revenues for the Winter Olympics during that period in 2002.

Emmys Gets Comic Team to Host: Fox is forgoing a single host for the Primetime Emmy Awards and instead going with a rotation of A-list comedians. Already signed on to participate are Ellen DeGeneres, Brad Garrett, Darrell Hammond, George Lopez, Conan O’Brien, Garry Shandling, Martin Short, Jon Stewart and Wanda Sykes. More participants will be named in the future. The Emmys will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 21, from 8 p.m to 11 p.m. (ET) on Fox.

“We’ve searched high and low to find the funniest people in California who are not running for governor,” said Bryce Zabel, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. “It was a challenge, but this All-Star comedy team promises to make America laugh without asking for a campaign contribution.”

Sinclair Prepares for Potential Legal Battles: Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO David Smith said Friday that his company is girding for a potential legal battle in some markets where the company owns one TV station and operates another through a local marketing agreement and will go to court if the Federal Communications Commission’s new ownership rules don’t permit Sinclair to purchase those stations under new duopoly rules.

“If we don’t like what we see [in the new rules] we will go to court,” Mr. Smith said during Sinclair’s second-quarter earnings call. He said he is waiting for the ownership rules to take effect Sept. 4 before deciding whether the company will need to mount a legal fight.

Baltimore-based Sinclair, which owns 62 TV stations in 39 markets, has two markets where the FCC ownership rules could change things for the company: Charleston-Huntington, W. Va., and Columbus, Ohio. In both markets, Sinclair owns one station and operates another under a local marketing agreement.

Mr. Smith’s comments came as the company reported a narrowed second-quarter loss to $1.92 million, or 2 cents a share, from year-earlier red ink of $4 million, or 5 cents a share. The company said it would have been profitable in the quarter had it excluded a $15.2 million charge related to the early retirement of debt. Revenue rose 0.7 percent to $174.9 million.