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Sep 30, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Nicktoons to Add Four Series in 2004

Nickelodeon’s digital spin-off Nicktoons will add four new series in 2004 – one original and three overseas acquisitions. The names of the series were not announced. The net has also added a general manager, Keith Dawkins, a former supervising producer at VH1. The channel new on-air look is being produced by Klasky Csupo, the creators of Nickelodeon’s “Rugrats” and “The Wild Thornberrys.” The fledgling network’s goal is to have 25 percent original programming by 2005.

Cablevision Announces Satellite Plan: Cablevision Systems on Tuesday outlined more of its satellite plan, announcing that its Rainbow DBS unit will offer the first-ever comprehensive suite of high-definition television programming to customers in the United States, and that veteran satellite consultant Mickey Alpert will lead the effort.

The cable operator, which sent a satellite into space in July ahead of the Oct. 15 launch of its new satellite service, said it will offer as many as 39 HD channels, including a package Cablevision calls Voom, which includes 21 HD channels owned by Cablevision’s Rainbow Media, including AMC, Fuse, IFC, WE: Women’s Entertainment and News 12 Networks.

Rainbow DBS will also offer 88 standard-definition cable channels plus local digital over-the-air programming.

The company said it will begin beta testing its satellite service on Oct. 1.

Cablevision officials said the offering marks the first time a satellite operator has made available to customers that number of HD channels, and is clearly designed to separate Rainbow DBS from more established players such as market leader DirecTV and fast-growing EchoStar Communications. The company noted that 6 million consumers have purchased HDTV sets but have yet to be delivered any meaningful programming.

Meanwhile, Cablevision made some key executive announcements Tuesday, including Mr. Alpert, who will be executive VP and chief operating officer of Rainbow DBS, reporting directly to Cablevision Chairman Charles Dolan. He joined the company after managing his own consulting firm, Alpert & Associates since 1986.

He will be joined by Bill Casamo as executive VP of marketing and sales and Jay Aldrich as executive VP of finance. Mr. Casamo came from DirecTV, where he had a similar role, and before that Thomson Consumer Electronics, where he was VP of sales for the Americas. Mr. Aldrich was a senior VP in Mr. Alpert’s firm and held several finance and business development titles at Rainbow.

Gauthier Joins Fox Sports: Fox Sports Net on Tuesday named Zig Gauthier VP of development, a new position designed to expand the network’s focus on original programming. He reports to George Greenberg, executive VP of programming and production.

Per his new duties, Mr. Gauthier will field and evaluate program pitches, coordinate pilots and manage the new development department at the network.

Mr. Gauthier arrives from Sci Fi Channel, where he was co-head and VP of alternative programming, overseeing the launch of such series as “Scare Tactics” and the 10-episode series “The Mad Mad House.” Before that, he was at Fox Television Studios, working in the creative affairs department.

CBS Renews ‘Race’ and ‘Big Brother’: CBS has given the official go-ahead for a fifth season of “The Amazing Race” and renewed summer reality series “Big Brother,” also for a fifth season.

“Amazing Race” won the first Emmy for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program less than two weeks ago, and CBS had told producers they could start casting for another edition, but CBS didn’t give them an official order at the time. Production is set to begin on “Race” in January. “Race” is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, Bertram van Munster and Jonathan Littman for Touchstone Television and Jerry Bruckheimer Television.

“Big Brother” got a pickup five days after airing the finale for “Big Brother 4,” which is several months earlier than its renewal has come in the past. “Brother” turned in strong young demo ratings all summer for CBS. “Brother” is executive produced by Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner for Endemol and Shapiro/Grodner Productions.

Endemol Buys Stake in NYC-Based Production Co.: Endemol, the production company behind reality series such as “Big Brother” and “Fear Factor,” said Tuesday it has purchased a 51 percent stake in True Entertainment, an independent production company that specializes in fact-based reality programming. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Dutch-based Endemol said the investment will enable the company to expand its operations to the East Coast, though True will continue to be managed by founding partners Glenda Hersh and Steven Weinstock, who founded the company in 2000 to focus on nonfiction, reality and documentary programming.

Based in New York, True has produced programs for several networks, including VH1, TLC, The Travel Channel and Lifetime Television and currently has eight series in production. Among the shows True has produced are “Women Docs” for Lifetime and “Trauma: Life In the E.R.” for TLC.

Myers Hired by CNBC: CNBC on Tuesday named Beatrice Myers as news director of the business news cable channel. In the newly created position she is responsible for the production of all business day programming from 5 a.m.-to-7 p.m. Monday through Friday. She reports to David Friend, senior VP of CNBC’s business news.

Ms. Myers joined CNBC from Bloomberg Television, where she was executive producer, responsible for overseeing the network’s live U.S. television programming. Before that, she was senior VP of programming and production at StockTalkLive.com and created Web TV and radio financial news programs.

Before that, Ms. Myers was a senior producer on NBC’s “Weekend Today” and served as an NBC News field producer.

Ms. Myers becomes the second person from Bloomberg to be hired recently by CNBC. On Monday the network tapped former global managing editor Dylan Ratigan to host a new hour-long weekday program.

NBC Re-Ups ‘The Restaurant’: NBC has ordered six more hour-long episodes of its summer reality series “The Restaurant.” Mark Burnett, Ben Silverman and Robert Riesenberg will continue to executive produce the show, but chef Rocco DiSpirito from the first edition has yet to sign on for a second edition. If a deal is not reached with Mr. DiSpirito, producers likely will chronicle the opening of a new restaurant with a different chef. Production is slated to begin on the show in November. “The Restaurant” is produced by Mark Burnett Productions, Reveille and Magna Global Entertainment.

ABC, CBS Split Monday Night: ABC won Monday night in adults 18 to 49, while CBS won in total viewers.

ABC won on the strength of “Monday Night Football,” which scored a 6.9 rating/17 share in adults 18 to 49, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data, despite a blowout game with the Green Bay Packers spoiling the Chicago Bears’ first game in the New Soldier Field.

CBS’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” was the highest-rated scripted series in adults 18 to 49 for the night with a 6.3/15. It also was the most watched with 20.3 million total viewers. The second episode of new CBS sitcom “Two and a Half Men” was down over its week-ago premiere (5.8/14 in 18 to 49 and 18.1 million viewers), but posted good numbers with a second place 5.0/12 in adults 18 to 49 and a 16.2 million total viewers.

The second episode of NBC’s “Las Vegas” (but first in its regular 9 p.m. time slot) also slipped week-to-week but still posted respectable numbers with a third-place 4.3/10 in adults 18 to 49 and 11.8 million viewers, compared with the 5.1/13 and 12.6 million viewers it scored a week ago in the 10 p.m. time slot.

NBC’s “Fear Factor” won the 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. hour with a 5.2/15 in adults 18 to 49, while “Fear” and CBS’s “Yes Dear”/”Still Standing” tied in total viewers with 12.5 million.

Football won the 10 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49, but in the battle of scripted dramas, the hour belonged to CBS’s “CSI: Miami,” which had a 5.7/15, beating NBC’s season premiere of “Third Watch.” “Third Watch” scored a 4.1/10 in the demo. “CSI: Miami” al
so won the hour in total viewers with 17.6 million.

Fox’s two-hour finale of “Temptation Island” registered a 2.5/6 in adults 18 to 49 and 5.4 million viewers. The first hour finished in fifth place behind The WB’s “7th Heaven,” which had a 2.5/7 in the demo and 7 million total viewers (“Temptation” had a 2.4/7 and 4.7 million viewers for the same hour.)

At 9 p.m., UPN’s comedies “Girlfriends” and “Half & Half” combined to beat The WB’s “Everwood” for fifth place in adults 18 to 49 with a 1.9/5 to “Everwood’s” 1.8/4. “Everwood” did beat UPN’s sitcoms by about 1.3 million viewers.

For the night, ABC won in adults 18 to 49 with a 5.7/15, followed by CBS (5.1/13), NBC (4.5/12), Fox (2.5/6), The WB (1.8/5) and UPN (1.5/4). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 16.1 million, followed by ABC (14.6 million), NBC (11.8 million), Fox (5.4 million), The WB (5.1 million) and UPN (3.7 million).

Ex-Prosecutor Joins ‘Anderson Cooper’: Former San Francisco prosecutor Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom is joining CNN as a legal analyst for the cable channel’s program “Anderson Cooper 360∞,” and will appear regularly on the program’s “Justice Served” segments.

Ms. Newsom has been a prosecutor in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, and was part of the prosecution team that successfully won convictions of Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, whose dogs mauled to death a San Francisco woman.

The network is banking that Ms. Newsom’s experience with cases involving drugs, domestic violence, sexual assault and gangs will help her simplify complex legal issues for the program’s audience.

NAB’s Baumann to Retire: Jeff Baumann, NAB’s executive VP of legal and regulatory affairs, on Tuesday announced plans to retire in February. Mr. Baumann has been one of the association’s top lawyers since January 1984. “Free, over-the-air broadcasters owe Jeff Baumann an enormous debt of gratitude for his exemplary service,” said Eddie Fritts, NAB president and CEO, in a statement.

Emmis Shares Surge: Shares in television and radio broadcaster Emmis Communications soared more than 11 percent Tuesday after the company reported that it swung to a fiscal second-quarter profit of $7.5 million, compared with red ink of $6.8 million a year ago.

Emmis stock was trading at $20.52 per share Tuesday afternoon, up nearly $2 following the release of the company’s earnings, defying the broader market’s steep declines.

On a per-share basis, the Indianapolis-based owner of 16 TV stations reported a profit of 14 cents vs. a loss of 13 cents a year ago.

Revenue for the three months ended Aug. 31 jumped 7 percent to $148.4 million, driven in part by increases in its television unit, which recorded a 1 percent rise in revenue and managed to replace nearly $2 million in political advertising revenue taken in last year.

WB Names Kellner’s Replacements: Garth Ancier and Jordan Levin will replace WB Chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner when he steps down at the end of the 2003-04 season. Mr. Ancier will become chairman of The WB, focusing on big-picture issues and strategic planning for the network. Mr. Levin will become CEO, focusing on the day-to-day operations of the network and retaining his programming duties as the network’s entertainment president.Mr. Ancier and Mr. Levin will report to Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Jed Petrick will remain president and chief operating officer of The WB, overseeing advertising sales, network distribution, broadcast standards, research, administration, human resources, The WB 100+ Station Group and Kids’ WB! Mr. Petrick will report to Mr. Levin.

Mr. Ancier has been promoted to co-chairman and Mr. Levin to co-CEO, sharing titles and responsibilities with Mr. Kellner until Mr. Kellner’s departure. Mr. Ancier also will be available to consult for sister company Turner Broadcasting System.

“The WB just completed its best season ever in ratings and profitability and as we head into the new season, our profitability continues to show growth,” Mr. Kellner said. “Both Barry and I believe that this team has already proven themselves to be up to the challenge of taking the network to its next level of success. And although we might bet the youngest of the broadcast networks, our senior management team is the most experienced in the television business.”

Savoy Leaves Vulcan, Stays on Charter Board: Vulcan, the investment and asset management company controlled by billionaire Paul Allen, said that William Savoy, the company’s VP and chief executive of its portfolio and asset management operation, has resigned.

Mr. Savoy, who had been with Vulcan since 1988, will stay on as a consultant and remains a member of the board of directors at Charter Communications, the cable operator Mr. Allen controls.