News Briefs

Aug 4, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Steven Spielberg, who struck ratings gold with his epic “Taken” miniseries for the Sci Fi Channel, is again lending his talents to a basic cable project: a 12-hour limited original series for Turner Network Television about the opening of the American West. Mr. Spielberg will be executive producer for the untitled miniseries, which will track two multigenerational American and Native American families, with each telling the stories of the development of the West from their points of view. Production of the miniseries is slated to begin summer 2004, with its potential premiere summer 2005. Cast, writers and individual episode directors for the project are to be determined. Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey, the co-heads of DreamWorks Television, will be co-executive producers of the project.
`Lucky’: Not So Much
FX’s “Lucky,” starring John Corbett, has been canceled, a network spokesperson confirmed last week. The series, about Las Vegas gamblers, was generally well received by critics and was nominated for an Emmy for writing, but its ratings were lackluster. “We were really proud of it. The premiere did a good number, but then it nose-dived and flat-lined,” said an FX spokesperson. The final episode aired July 1.
MGM, NBC in Global Handshake
MGM Networks has entered a strategic partnership with CNBC Asia Pacific to launch and market the MGM Channel to subscribers across key markets in Asia, the companies said last week. “This deal only continues to illustrate how our two companies can utilize resources together, which serve to strengthen both of our brands,” said Bruce Tuchman, executive VP of MGM Networks. “In this case, one area in which we wanted access was in Asia, and CNBC was able to provide that with their successful infrastructure.” MGM and CNBC Asia Pacific will launch the new channel later in the year. It will be broadcast in English but carry Mandarin-language subtitles.
Spike Jones Jr. to Produce Creative Arts Emmys
Producer-director Spike Jones Jr. will return for a ninth year as producer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ 2003 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards, ATAS Chairman Bryce Zabel announced. The event will be held Sept. 13 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Joining Jones will be Michael A. Hoey and John Moffitt, who return as co-executive producers for a sixth year. Susan Abramson will be the talent executive.
Survey: Minorities in Newsrooms Decline
The percentage of minorities working in local radio and television newsrooms this year has declined from last year, according to the 2003 Radio-Television News Directors Association/Ball State University Annual Survey, which said minorities represent 18.1 percent of local TV news staffs (down from 20.6 percent last year) and 6.5 percent of local radio staffs (down from 8 percent. Among news directors, minorities held 6.6 percent of the local TV slots (down from 9.2 percent) and 5 percent of the local radio slots (on par with last year). For women, the employment picture was rosier than last year. Women make up 39.3 percent of the TV work force and 24 percent of the radio work force.