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Oct 7, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC Pulls ‘Boomtown,’ Rejiggers Friday Lineup

The first big loser of the new season isn’t a new series, but NBC’s critically acclaimed, Peabody-winning sophomore drama “Boomtown.” NBC has pulled it from its schedule after only two weeks in its new Friday 10 p.m. time slot and replaced it with “Law & Order: SVU” repeats.

NBC also flipflopped new drama “Miss Match” and “Dateline” on the night. “Miss Match,” which had been leading off the night, will now air at 9 p.m. while “Dateline” will air at 8 p.m. The changes take place this Friday, Oct. 10.

NBC has dominated Fridays in young-adult viewers for the past few years, but fell apart the first two weeks of this season with a lineup that was missing its previous anchor — “SVU” at 10 p.m. — and facing increased competition from CBS’s new drama lineup and ABC’s reinstalled “TGIF” lineup. NBC finished in third place for the night in adults 18 to 49 for the past two weeks.

While NBC is calling “Boomtown’s” leave of absence a hiatus, the series’ future looks murky. In its two Friday night airings, it averaged a 2.6/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 7.21 million viewers. While “Boomtown” has always received rave reviews from the critics, the network has never seemed to really be in love with it.

Last spring, it was on the bubble to come back for a second season, and when it did, it was given an undesirable Friday night time slot compared with the Sunday 10 p.m. time slot it had last year. The network also instructed the producers to lose a lot of the point-of-view storytelling that made the show unique and become more linear.

However, at the end of last season, “Boomtown” was performing well on Sundays and often winning its 10 p.m. time period in adults 18 to 49. If new drama “Lyon’s Den” — which was down in adults 18 to 49 over its premiere and was beaten by ABC’s “The Practice ” last week in that 10 p.m. slot — continues to trend downward, replacing it with “Boomtown” would be a logical move.

As for the other changes, moving “Miss Match” takes it out of the head-to-head competition with CBS’s “Joan of Arcadia,” which has beaten “Match” the past two weeks in adults 18 to 49. The network is probably hoping that “Match” would have a better shot at picking up young female viewers against CBS’s “JAG” than “Joan,” which appeals to the same audience.

CBS Conquers Football and Baseball: CBS won Monday night in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers as a Major League Baseball playoff game on Fox and “Monday Night Football” on ABC seemed to divide the sports crowd. CBS’s “CSI: Miami” turned in a stellar performance, scoring a 6.8 rating and 17 share in adults 18 to 49, according to final Nielsen Media Research national numbers.

“Miami” improved 17 percent on its 18 to 49 performance last week, adding a full rating point and 3 shares. New sitcom “Two and a Half Men” was down slightly in rating in the demo, but retained 81 percent of its “Everybody Loves Raymond” lead-in, which was about the same as last week.

“Monday Night Football” was down 20 percent week to week and peaked in the 9:30 p.m. (ET) hour when it looked as though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to blow out the Indianapolis Colts. Viewers probably wished they had stayed tuned in when Indianapolis overcame a 21-point deficit in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime. The Colts ultimately won 38-35. The game scored a 6.0/16 in adults 18 to 49 and 14.9 million viewers for ABC.

“MNF” did beat Fox’s down-to-the-wire division playoff game in which the Boston Red Sox beat the Oakland A’s to advance to the American League Championship Series. The game still scored a healthy 4.6/12 in adults 18 to 49 and 13 million total viewers.

Among new shows, “Las Vegas” held its own at 9 p.m. despite the sports competition. It finished fourth, but showed a slight ratings uptick week to week, pulling a 4.5/11 in adults 18 to 49 compared with a 4.2/10 last week.

For the night, CBS won in adults 18 to 49 with a 5.3/14, followed by ABC (4.7/13), NBC (4.6/12), Fox (4.1/11), The WB (2.3/6) and UPN (1.8/5). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 15.1 million, followed by ABC (12.4 million), Fox (12.1 million), NBC (11.2 million), The WB (6.6 million) and UPN (4.2 million).

Perry Back in ‘West Wing’: Matthew Perry is returning to “The West Wing” for a one-episode stint. Mr. Perry, who stars as Chandler on “Friends,” appeared in two episodes last season as Joe Quincy, a Republican White House associate counsel. He will reprise that role in an episode that will air in November. Both “Friends” and “West Wing” film on the Warner Bros. Lot, which makes it convenient for him to shoot both shows.Sci Fi, Spielberg to Create New Miniseries: Following its success with “Taken,” Sci Fi Channel is once more teaming up with Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Television, to create a trilogy of related miniseries under the banner “Nine Lives.” The project is slated to launch in 2005.

Tom Kane Leaves WABC: Tom Kane is out as general manager of WABC-TV in News York in an abrupt turn of events that caught the largest market in the country off-guard.

A spokesperson for ABC, for which Mr. Kane worked for some 30 years, declined to comment on the abrupt departure of a man widely regarded as a good guy and good manager.

Sources at the ABC flagship station said staffers were stunned by the development. The sources expect a successor to be named soon, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.

Sen. Burns to Deliver Keynote Speech at Digital TV Conference: Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., will deliver the keynote speech at an Oct. 23 digital TV conference sponsored by the Association for Maximum Service Television in Washington. Other speakers slated for the event include Gary Chapman, LIN Television president and CEO; Andrew Fisher, Cox Television president; and Shaun Sheehan, Tribune Co. VP, Washington.

MTV Renews ‘Newlyweds’: “Newlyweds,” starring Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson, will return for a second season, MTV has announced. The show has been a surprise success for the network due to Ms. Simpson’s forehead-smacking self-described “blond moments.” “Newlyweds” is executive produced by R. Greg Johnston, Lois Curren and Rod Aissa.

MTV also renewed Snoop Dogg’s “Doggy Fizzle Televizzle,” despite the program’s less-than-stellar ratings, and “Road Rules,” which will return for its 13th season.

Zenith, Sears Sign HDTV Sponsorship Deals With ABC: Zenith and Sears have signed HDTV sponsorship deals with ABC, the network said today.

Zenith, for the second consecutive year, will be the exclusive HDTV sponsor of all of ABC’s scripted series and movies for the season. Sears will be the HDTV sponsor of “Monday Night Football.” ABC will broadcast more than 800 hours of HDTV programming during the 2003-04 season. ABC says 102 of its owned and affiliated stations are broadcasting in HDTV.

Time Warner, Gemstar-TV Guide Signs Technology Agreement: Time Warner Cable signed a long-term agreement with Gemstar-TV Guide, giving the No. 2 cable operator access to Gemstar’s intellectual property and technology and the TV Guide brand and content for interactive program guides.

The two companies plan to work together to develop and deploy IPG advertising that capitalizes on the program guide medium without negatively impacting the viewer experience.