News Briefs

Oct 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

ABC late-night’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” will mark its first anniversary in January without executive producer Daniel Kellison at the helm, a spokesman for ABC confirmed. Mr. Kellison is expected to exit the daily mix on “Kimmel” soon. Until a permanent replacement is named, Duncan Gray, ABC’s alternative series and specials VP, will oversee the show. Mr. Kellison reportedly will continue as a partner with Mr. Kimmel and Adam Carolla in Jackhole Productions, which has produced “The Man Show” and “Crank Yankers” for Comedy Central as well as “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” A veteran of eight years on David Letterman’s late-night shows, Mr. Kellison is said to be planning a return to the East Coast.
`Reality Awards’ Voted Off ABC’s Schedule
Plans for ABC’s Reality Awards have been nixed due to lack of rival participation, producer Don Mischer has announced. The two-hour award show was called off Wednesday, one month before its scheduled taping at Sony Studios. Mr. Mischer said rival networks refused to grant ABC permission to use footage from their reality programs. Evidence of network infighting was apparent early on. In a TelevisionWeek interview Sept. 15, NBC Executive VP of Alternative Programming Jeff Gaspin said, “[A reality awards show] has been pitched many, many, many, many times, by many, many, many, many producers. I’m personally tired of [the idea of] another awards show. … We’re all so competitive now that I don’t know if it makes sense for us to give [ABC] anything.”
Mensing to Return to CBS Daytime
Richard Mensing is expected to return to CBS as VP of daytime programs, overseeing the network’s East Coast soaps “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light.” He worked at CBS from 1986 through 1995, where his roles included senior creative writer/producer for daytime advertising and promotion, before he moved to ABC daytime, where he most recently was creative director of marketing. He is expected to start in November, and he succeeds Shari Scharfers, who was director of daytime programs. ABC daytime plans to replace him.
Trio Announces Programming Plans
Trio executives last week spelled out their programming plans for the rest of the year, seemingly unaffected by the pending takeover of the network’s parent, Universal Television Group, by GE and NBC. Trio President Lauren Zalaznick said she’s had no official contact with NBC and that her contacts with Jeff Gaspin, now executive VP at NBC, president of Bravo and her former boss at VH1, have been purely social. She said she’s optimistic that NBC can strengthen Trio despite some reports that Trio, still tiny at 20 million subscribers, doesn’t fit the NBC portfolio, or worse, might conflict with Bravo, the other arts channel acquired by NBC.
Trio’s plans include making December “Awards Mania Month.” Trio has been successfully using monthly themes to promote its programming three or four times a year. Over Thanksgiving weekend Trio plans a stunt revolving around its list of the top 10 miniseries of all time. Trio also plans a new original series, “Parking Lot,” featuring video of fans outside concert performances. The series, which will launch Jan. 26, is based on the underground short film “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” The network is also planning a year-end roundup special called “White Noise: The Pop Culture Roundup Year End Special.”
Spike TV Creates News Division
Spike TV has created a news and documentaries division that will be headed by journalist and author Keith Brown. Mr. Brown, whose title will be VP of news and documentaries, is a former newsmagazine producer for NBC News, CBS News and PBS. Mr. Brown will build a news department focusing on programs dealing with money, health, politics, consumer trends and style. He will oversee production on “Spike Marketwatch,” “Zero to Sixty” and “Men’s Health Minutes.”