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Sep 5, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Wright Resigns as SBCA President

The Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association said Friday that its president, Andy Wright, will be stepping down from his post effective Sept. 30.

The trade group, which represents the interests of the satellite industry, said Mr. Wright resigned from the association “to pursue another opportunity.”

The SBCA’s finance committee and board of directors will immediately begin searching for a replacement.

‘CSI’s’ Donahue, Mendelsohn Renew Contracts: CBS Productions and Alliance Atlantis have signed “CSI” franchise writer-producers Ann Donahue and Carol Mendelsohn for at least four more seasons. These two deals mean the key talent behind “CSI” and spinoff “CSI: Miami” will remain attached to the CBS-Jerry Bruckheimer hits for several years. Early in the summer, franchise creator Anthony Zuiker got a new three-year contract.

Ms. Donahue and Ms. Mendelsohn will continue as executive producers of the two “CSI” series and will develop the presumed second “CSI” spinoff, perhaps in time for the 2004-05 lineup, and unrelated projects.

Former TV Exec Cooney Dies: Former KPNX-TV President and General Manager C.E. “Pep” Cooney died at home Sept. 3. He was 70.

He had retired in 1998 after more than 20 years with Gannett and KPNX, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix, Ariz., where he was well known for his editorials. Cooney’s face became well known to television viewers. For about 15 years, newscasts were capped with one of his editorials, what some people described as “pep” talks to the community, in which he was very active.

Station executives who had known Mr. Cooney through more than four decades in the business headed for Phoenix for a Celebration of Life Friday night Friends of Pep Cooney are invited to a celebration of life at the Arizona Country Club on 5668 E. Orange Blossom Lane on Friday from 7-10 p.m. The Arizona Country Club is located near 56th Street and East Thomas Ave. A service for family only was scheduled for Saturday.

Mr. Cooney is survived by his wife Cheri; sons Rhett and Sean; daughters Holly Cooney-Whiteman and Nicole Cooney-Blomquist; and 18 grandchildren. His daughter-in-law, Lin Sue Cooney, is a KPNX news anchor.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggested contributions to The C.E. “Pep” Cooney Leadership Scholarship, c/o Robby Jackson, ASU Foundation, P.O. Box 873208, Tempe, Ariz. 85287-3208; or to the C.E. “Pep” Cooney Scholarship in the Cronkite School, c/o Judy Heasley, Arizona State University, College of Public Programs, P.O. Box 870803, Tempe, Ariz. 85287-0803

WMAQ Gets New Studio: Chicago’s NBC-owned station WMAQ is imitating its network parent with plans to build a street side studio modeled after the “Today Show.” The station is aiming to broadcast its morning and mid-day newscasts from the new location starting in mid-November.

The new facility is 4,000 square feet and located in the building adjacent to NBC Tower, where WMAQ is housed. A ticker will be installed on the northwest side of the building above the new studio within the next month.

GSN Sets Lineup for Gubernatorial Special: Game Show Network on Friday announced the participants in its California gubernatorial recall special, “Who Wants to Be Governor of California? The Debating Game,” set to premiere Wed., Oct. 1, at 9 p.m. (ET). The special will feature six participants rather than the previously planned five. Joining previously announced candidates Gary Coleman and Mary Carey will be Venice, Calif., performance artist Trek Thunder Kelly, senior citizen Carl A. Mehr, 20-year-old college junior Bryan Quinn and Nathan Whitecloud Walton, son of basketball great Bill Walton.

The WB, VH1 Acquire TV Rights to ‘8 Mile’: ‘The WB Network and VH1 have acquired the first-window television rights to “8 Mile,” starring hip-hop superstar Eminem. The deal with Universal Television calls for the cable and broadcast window to open in April 2005 with VH1’s airing the film first, followed by The WB during the 2005-06 television season.

Bigalow Named NFL Affiliate Marketing Director: Jamia Bigalow has been named director of affiliate marketing for NFL Network. She will report to NFL Network Senior VP of Distribution Adam Shaw. Ms. Bigalow will create and roll out affiliate campaigns and promotions supporting channel distribution and programming. She also will oversee development and execution of promotions in strategic markets, provide sell-in support, manage creation of print and on-air tactics, coordinate promotion logistics and ensure proper execution of all elements.