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Oct 13, 2003  •  Post A Comment

UPN Full-Season Pickups of ‘All of Us,’ ‘Eve’

UPN gave full season orders to two of its new sitcoms-“All of Us” and “Eve.” “All of Us,” executive produced by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, helped launch UPN’s new Tuesday night sitcom lineup. It has become UPN’s most-watched series, averaging 4.5 million viewers, and its highest-rated show among persons 12 to 34 with a 2.3 Nielsen Media Research rating and 7 share. “Eve,” airing Mondays at 8:30 p.m., is averaging a 2.1/7 rating in adults 12 to 34 and 4.4 million viewers.

“By picking up these two new shows for a full season, UPN’s streak of developing and launching new comedy hits continues,” UPN Entertainment President Dawn Ostroff. “‘Eve’ has fit seamlessly into our successful Monday night block and has seen growth since its premiere, and we’re incredibly excited to enter the new season and be able to launch a new night on Tuesday with ‘All of Us,’ UPN’s most-watched show this year.”

NBC Makes Schedule Changes for Sweeps: NBC is altering its schedule for the first three nights of November sweeps. New sitcom “Coupling” didn’t make the cut for the first night of sweeps Thursday, Oct. 30. Instead, “Friends,” “Will & Grace” and “Scrubs” will all expand to 40 minutes to fill the 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. hour. “ER” will air as usual from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Friday night, Oct. 31-Halloween night-NBC is pulling new drama “Miss Match” from its schedule and will air a two-hour “Dateline” from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. and a repeat of “Law & Order: SVU.” Saturday, Nov. 1, becomes an all “Law & Order” evening with a repeat of “Law & Order” at 8 p.m., “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 9 p.m. and “Law & Order: SVU” at 10 p.m. New Tuesday night sitcoms “Whoopi” and “Happy Family” are also likely to be bumped in the first week of sweeps, sources said. NBC officials could not be reached for comment.

‘Practice’ Helps Boost ABC to Demo Victory: Strong performances by “The Practice” and new drama “10-8” helped propel ABC to a nightly victory in adults 18 to 49. “The Practice” (4.4/11) won its 10 p.m. time slot in the demo by a full rating point over NBC’s “The Lyon’s Den” (3.4/9), according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. It also won the hour in total viewers with 10.8 million.

“10-8” tied with NBC’s “American Dreams” for first in adults 18 to 49 at 8 p.m. with a 3.0/8. CBS’s new drama “Cold Case” was close behind with a 2.9/8 and finished first in total viewers with 13.3 million. NBC won the 9 p.m. hour in 18 to 49 (4.7/12) and total viewers (14 million) with “Law & Order: Criminal Intent.”

The WB’s “Tarzan” fell in its second outing to a 1.9/5 in adults 18 to 49 and 4 million viewers.

For the night, ABC won adults 18 to 49 with a 3.4/9, followed by NBC (3.3/8), Fox (2.9/8), CBS (2.8/8) and The WB (1.7/5). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 11.6 million, followed by NBC (10.3 million), ABC (9.2 million), Fox (7.2 million) and The WB (3.8 million).

The WB to Air Halloween-Themed Lineup: The WB will pre-empt its usual Friday night schedule for a Halloween-themed lineup on Oct. 24. Original prime-time special “A Scooby-Doo Halloween” will air at 8 p.m. (ET), followed by “Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special” at 8:30 p.m. and “The WB’s Outrageous Halloween Outtakes” from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. The outtakes special will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and will feature bloopers from classic horror films such as “The Exorcist” and from the TV series “The X-Files.”

Fox to Air ‘Idol’ Special During Sweeps: Fox plans to get a jump on January’s “American Idol” premiere by running a holiday special during the last week of sweeps. “American Idol: Christmas Songs” will air Tuesday, Nov. 25, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (ET) and will feature performances by winners Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard, along with contestants from the previous two editions of “Idol.” A CD of Christmas songs featured in the special, “American Idol — The Great Holiday Classics,” will be released Oct. 14.

Walters to Interview Martha Stewart: ABC News’ Barbara Walters has landed the interview most magazine producers had considered the “big get” of the season: Martha Stewart. Ms. Stewart, whose multimillion-dollar, multimedia domestic empire is sagging under the cloud of the ImClone insider trading scandal that already has sent Sam Waksal to prison, is scheduled to go to trial in January. The interview is scheduled to air for a full hour on a date still to be announced in early November.

“Who wouldn’t be scared? Of course I’m scared.” Ms. Stewart told Ms. Walters. “The last place I would ever want to go is to prison. And I don’t think I will be going to prison though.”

Davis Named President, GM of WABC: J. David Davis, who has been president and general manager of ABC-owned WPVI-TV in Philadelphia for more than six years, is the new president and general manager of WABC-TV in New York. The announcement of Mr. Davis’ appointment, which is effective immediately, came less than 24 hours after Tom Kane was fired as the general manager of WABC, which he’d led since 1996.

The reasons for Mr. Kane’s firing by ABC owned station group President Walter Liss remain unclear and have been the subject of much musing by industry executives who knew Mr. Kane only as a good guy and a well-regarded veteran of three decades with ABC.

Mr. Davis, who has risen quickly through news, starting in 1977 as a photographer at ABC-owned KTRK-TV in Houston, was named news director at ABC owned WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., in 1986 and news director of WPVI in 1990. Six years later, he was running the Philly station.

Industry sources noted indications as long ago as 2002 that Mr. Davis was itching for a new challenge.

According to ABC sources, Mr. Davis made a good impression on WABC staffers on Oct. 8, walking through the New York station and chatting up staffers before being introduced by Mr. Liss at an employee meeting that was described as “relaxed.”

There was no immediate word on who will replace Mr. Davis at WPVI.

Matson Promoted at Universal: Universal Studio Networks, the international cable networks arm of Universal Television, said over the weekend that Greg Matson has been promoted to senior VP of business development and legal affairs.

Mr. Matson will oversee all development initiatives for Universal’s international networks business, plus legal support for the international cable channels, including Sci Fi UK, Sci Fi Germany and Spain’s Calle 13, among others.

Mr. Matson joined Universal in 1997 as director of business and legal affairs for the Universal Television & Networks Group. He was promoted in 2000 to VP of business and legal affairs for the television division. Before that, he was a lawyer with the Los Angeles firm of O’Melveny & Meyers.

Hearing Set in Messier Dispute: A judge in Paris set a Dec. 8 on Monday hearing on whether French conglomerate Vivendi Universal should be ordered to pay Jean-Marie Messier the $23.5 million severance to which he says he’s entitled.

The hearing, which will take place in the Paris commercial court, comes after a federal judge in the United States ordered Vivendi to put the payment in an escrow account until after an accounting probe of the company is concluded.

The dispute centers on whether Mr. Messier has a right to a severance payment that was to be made in connection with his dismissal from Vivendi in July 2002. Paris-based Vivendi claims the severance package was not properly obtained and did not have board approval. Both sides agreed to take their case to a New York arbitration panel, which ruled in favor of Mr. Messier.

Vivendi challenged that ruling, unsuccessfully seeking an injunction from a New York state court. But last month a federal judge, at the request of the Securities and Exchange Commission, ordered the payment frozen pending the outcome of the investigation.

AOL Name Change Scheduled for Thursday: AOL Name Change Scheduled: Media giant AOL Time Warner said Monday it will change its name to Time Warner on Thursday and will change its ticker symbol to TWX to reflect the change.

The company first revealed its intentions to drop the “AOL” from its name in
August, amid wide acknowledgement in the media industry that the merger of AOL and Time Warner has fallen far short of expectations.

As part of the change, the company’s Web site will change to www.timewarner.com. The unit that had been known as Time Warner Inc. will change its name to Historic TW Inc.

Shareholders in the media company will not be required to exchange their shares to reflect the new name, the company said.