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Oct 29, 2003  •  Post A Comment

NBC Gives ‘Whoopi,’ ‘Family’ Full Season Orders

NBC picked up Tuesday night sitcoms “Whoopi” and “Happy Family” for a full season of 22 episodes. “Whoopi,” from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, has averaged a 3.3 rating/10 share among adults 18 to 49 and 9.4 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. “Happy Family,” produced by NBC Studios, is averaging a 3.4/9 in adults 18 to 49 and 9 million viewers.

CBS Gets Nine Nominations for News, Documentary Emmys: CBS snagged nine nominations to lead the pack competing for the first News and Documentary Emmy Awards for Business and Financial Reporting to be handed out by the National Television Academy, as the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences now calls itself. Dispensing the Emmys at a luncheon Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Union Club in New York will be Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Paul Steiger. New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer will give the keynote address.

Following CBS on the list of nominees: public broadcasting programming (6), CNBC (2) and A&E, ABC and Bloomberg (1 each). A list of the nominees is available at www.emmyonline.org.

Chocano Named Los Angeles Times TV Critic: The Los Angeles Times has concluded its search for a new television critic to succeed Howard Rosenberg, who ended his 25-year tenure at the newspaper in August. The paper has hired Carina Chocano, who was associate editor, senior writer and television critic for Salon.com from 1999 to January 2003 and who has most recently been a staff writer and critic for Entertainment Weekly.

She is expected to join the Times in November, according to a spokesman for the newspaper.

Her work also has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Newsday and “More Mirth of a Nation,” an anthology published last year. “Do You Love Me, or Am I Just Paranoid?” her satirical guide to relationships, was published by Villard last February.

She has written for children’s educational Web sites and software companies. Her short film, “Samuel Beckett Orders Out,” screened at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival and The New York Comedy Film Festival, among others.

’24’ Debut Delivers Despite Poor Lead-In: Fox’s “24” premiered to a tie in adults 18 to 49 and a victory in total viewers last night. It scored a 4.7 rating and 12 share in the demo, tied with ABC’s comedies “According to Jim” and “Less Than Perfect,” according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.

The commercial-free episode of “24” won the time slot in total viewers with 11.6 million.

“24’s” strong performance was despite poor numbers from its lead-in “The Next Joe Millionaire.” “Joe” managed to pull only a fourth-place 2.8/8 in adults 18 to 49 and 6.5 million viewers.

ABC won the 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. hour in adults 18 to 49 with a special “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” (5.0/14) and “I’m With Her” (3.8/10), while CBS took the hour in total viewers with “Navy NCIS” (13.4 million).

At 8 p.m. “According to Jim” won its time slot in adults 18 to 49 with a 5.0/13, beating the first half of Fox’s “24” debut, which had a 4.7/12 for the half-hour. “24” came back to beat ABC’s “Less Than Perfect” in the second half-hour.

NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” won the 10 p.m. time period in adults 18 to 49 (4.7/13) and total viewers (12.1 million).

For the night, ABC won in adults 18 to 49 with a 4.5/12, followed by NBC (4/11), Fox (3.8/10), CBS (2.6/7), The WB (1.5/4) and UPN (1.3/3). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 12 million, followed by ABC (10.9 million), NBC (10.7 million), Fox (9.1 million), The WB (4.4 million) and UPN (2.9 million).

NBC Pulls ‘Lyon’s Den’: NBC has pulled the Rob Lowe drama “The Lyon’s Den” from its Sunday schedule during sweeps.

Instead, NBC will air repeats of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and other series from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Den” has had disappointing ratings and is getting beaten by ABC’s revitalized “The Practice.” “Den,” from 20th Century Fox Television, is still in production and expected to return to the schedule after sweeps.

Fox Cancels ‘Luis’: Fox has canceled Friday night sitcom “Luis.” Nine episodes of the show have been shot but only four have aired. In its last airing, on Oct. 3 at 8:30 p.m., “Luis” scored a 1.5 Nielsen Media Research rating and 5 share and 3.9 million viewers.

For the two weeks of sweeps, “Luis” will be replaced by double runs of “Wanda at Large.” Movies had already been slated for the time slot during the second half of sweeps.

Barron Named UPN VP of Alternative Programs: Larry Barron has joined UPN as VP of alternative programs. Mr. Barron will oversee day-to-day production of UPN’s alternative and reality programming. He will report to Ghen Maynard, senior VP of alternative series development and creative strategies at CBS, who oversees UPN’s alternative programming such as “America’s Next Top Model.” Mr. Barron was a network consultant to “Top Model” and was a co-executive producer of the Fox reality show “Paradise Hotel.”

‘Joe Schmo’ Scores: The finale of Spike TV’s “The Joe Schmo Show” scored about 3.4 million viewers during its first hour. That’s more than double the viewers of the previous episode, which aired Oct. 14 (1.6 million). During the first hour, unsuspecting everyman Matt Kennedy Gould was finally told he was on a faux reality show. The second hour included behind-the-scenes footage and a retrospective interview with Mr. Gould. Numbers for the second hour were not yet available. No word yet on whether Spike TV will renew the series, which is produced by Stone Stanley Entertainment.

Insight Reports Increase in Revenue: Cable operator Insight Communications on Wednesday reported an 11 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to $228.4 million, driven by gains in high-speed data and digital cable subscriptions as well as basic cable increases.

Insight, which has 1.4 million subscribers mainly in the Midwest, did not report bottom-line results for the quarter while it awaits the outcome of a meeting of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, which is set to decide how companies can account for financial instruments with characteristics of both debt and equity. A decision was expected later Wednesday, at which time the company would produce its profit or loss figures.

Operating cash flow at the company climbed 6 percent to $98.5 million.

The company said that during the quarter it was able to raise its average revenue per customer to $58.81 from a year-earlier $53.24, as a result of strong subscriber response to Insight’s rollout of new product offerings.

Insight during the quarter also added 29,000 high-speed data customers, 23,500 digital cable subscribers and 7,100 telephony users.

Slowdown in Political Ads Hurts Hearst-Argyle Quarterly Results: Television broadcaster Hearst-Argyle Television on Wednesday reported a 9 percent drop in third-quarter profit to $23 million, or 24 cents a share, from a year-earlier figure of $25.2 million, or 27 cents a share, as a sharp decline in political advertising took its toll on the company.

Revenue at the broadcaster, which owns of 27 network-affiliated stations, fell more than 5 percent to $167.3 million.

Describing the quarter as “a challenge for our stations,” Hearst-Argyle President David Barrett blamed the declines on a weak economy and the absence of political and Olympics revenue, which make it tough to compare the period with 2002’s third quarter.

Hearst-Argyle said third-quarter political advertising was nearly $5.5 million compared with $21.3 million a year earlier but was expected to improve in the fourth quarter, since spending for caucuses in Iowa and the New Hampshire primary begins.

By network affiliation, the company’s NBC stations’ ad revenue was flat year-over-year, while weak prime-time performance caused ad revenue at Hearst-Argyle’s ABC affiliates to sag 9 percent. CBS station revenue fell 5 percent. The company’s WB affiliate in Sacramento, Calif., KQCA-TV, reported a 5 percent jump in ad revenue.