News Briefs

Sep 15, 2003  •  Post A Comment

“Whoopi” performed so well on its first outing at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, that NBC repeated the half-hour at 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11. “Whoopi’s” second outing turned in another strong performance (about 9.8 million total viewers and a 4.8 rating/13 share in the 18 to 49 demo), retaining about 96 percent of its “Will & Grace” demo lead-in (about 5.0/14 in the demo). If the figures hold up in final ratings reports, the 96 percent retention would be the best in the post-“Will & Grace” slot since a second “Will & Grace” episode aired Aug. 1, 2002. Fast nationals from Nielsen Media Research showed that “Whoopi’s” Tuesday premiere attracted approximately 14.7 million total viewers and scored a 4.8/16 in the 18 to 49 demo. The latter performance was NBC’s highest in the time slot for regularly scheduled programming in nearly three years. It was the highest total viewership in the half-hour since Jan. 20, 1998. At 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, “Happy Family” debuted slightly down from its lead-in in total viewership (14.5 million) with a slight uptick in rating in the 18 to 49 demo (to 5.0/15).
FCC Endorses Cable-Ready Digital Technology
The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously last week to endorse technical standards clearing the way for the manufacture of cable-ready digital television sets. Consumers using DTV sets manufactured under the standards will be able to receive one-way digital cable signals without a set-top box, a capability that industry officials say should help spur the transition to digital. Under the standards adopted, consumers will still need set-top boxes to receive two-way digital signals-the technology needed to tap into the full range of digital offerings.
Levin Named HRTS President
The Hollywood Radio & Television Society named The WB Network Entertainment President Jordan Levin to a one-year stint as president of the organization. As HRTS president, Mr. Levin will succeed NBC’s new top development executive, Kevin Reilly. Mr. Levin will spearhead a makeover of the organization this year that will include the addition of new events such as a roast ceremony and breakfast discussion as well as the annual luncheon with the network entertainment presidents.
Silverman, Berger Get New Cable Posts
Eight-year Disney veteran Mark Silverman has been named senior VP and general manager of ABC Family Channel, while former Fox and MTV executive Lisa Berger has been hired as senior VP of programming development for E! Networks. In Mr. Silverman’s newly created position, he will be responsible for the channel’s day-to-day operations as well as the development and execution of ABC Family’s overall business strategy. Most recently, he worked as VP of planning and development for ABC Inc. At E! Networks, Ms. Berger will lead development for channels E! and Style Network. She recently worked as executive producer on The WB’s “Boarding House: North Shore.” Previously, she was executive VP of creative affairs for Fox.
Cosby to Receive Bob Hope Humanitarian Award
Bill Cosby will be presented with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the “55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.” Oprah Winfrey was the first recipient of the award, at last year’s Emmys. Ray Romano will present the award.