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Nov 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

‘Survivor’ Gets Plum Post-Super Bowl Slot

CBS will premiere “Survivor: All-Stars” following the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 1. The “All-Star” edition — the series’ eighth — will feature 18 of the most memorable previous contestants fighting it out for the title of “Ultimate Sole Survivor.” It’s the second time that “Survivor” has premiered after the Super Bowl. “Survivor: The Australian Outback” got the plum time slot in 2001 and ranked as the most-watched post-Super Bowl program since the advent of People Meters in 1987.

Fox Sets ‘Idol’ Premiere Dates: “American Idol” will return on Fox Jan. 20 and Jan. 21. The third edition will premiere Tuesday, Jan. 20, with a two-hour episode from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Wednesday, Jan. 21, “Idol” will air from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in a one-hour special episode. “Idol’s” regular time slots will be Tuesday 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Wednesday 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Michael Douglas to Receive Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award: Michael Douglas, whose career has included distinguished work in both television and movies as an actor and a producer, has been selected to receive the 2004 Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” The lifetime achievement award will be presented to Mr. Douglas during the 61st Annual Golden Globe Awards Jan. 25, 2004, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and will be telecast on NBC.

He is the first-ever second-generation Cecil B. DeMille honoree. His father, Kirk Douglas, received the same award in 1968.

Mr. Douglas has won two Golden Globes; one as best actor (drama) for “Wall Street” and one as producer of the Golden-Globe-winning best picture (drama) “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He received four additional nominations; three as best actor for “Wonder Boys,” “The American President” and “The War of the Roses”; and one for best television actor (drama) for “The Streets of San Francisco.”

Mr. Douglas began his career in 1969 on the CBS Playhouse production of Ellen M. Violett’s drama, “The Experiment.”

His career took off when he portrayed Karl Malden’s sidekick in the police series “The Streets of San Francisco,” which premiered September 1972 and became one of ABC’s highest-rated prime-time programs in the mid-1970s. Mr. Douglas earned three successive Emmy Award nominations for his performance and he directed two episodes of the series.

In the three decades since he has worked as an actor and an actor/producer, beginning in 1975 with the Academy Award-winning movie, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” He has been involved in numerous controversial and influential motion pictures, including “Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The China Syndrome” and such popular films as “Fatal Attraction” and “Romancing the Stone.”

In 2002 Mr. Douglas played a guest role on the hit NBC comedy “Will & Grace” and received an Emmy Nomination for his performance.

Mr. Douglas was named a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations in July of 1998 by Secretary-General Kofi Annan. His two areas of concentration are nuclear abolition and small arms proliferation.

Recent Cecil B. DeMille winners include Gene Hackman (2003), Harrison Ford (2002), Al Pacino (2001), Barbra Streisand (2000), Jack Nicholson (1999), Shirley MacLaine (1998), Dustin Hoffman (1997), Sean Connery (1996) and Sophia Loren (1995).

FCC Resumes Review of News Corp. Acquisition of DirecTV: The Federal Communications Commission today announced it had restarted the shot clock on its review of News Corp.’s proposed acquisition of DirecTV, clearing the way for final agency action within the next 30 days. The FCC stopped the clock in its review Oct. 10, citing the need for additional information and time to discuss the merger with the Department of Justice. But in a Nov. 17 letter to the companies, the FCC said it had received the new information it needed and had “substantially completed” its talks with Justice, which is reviewing the merger for antitrust concerns. As a matter of practice, the FCC tries to complete its reviews of major transactions within 180 days. Monday, Nov. 17, was day 150.

Howard Named ’60 Minutes II’ Executive Producer: Josh Howard, who was named executive editor of “60 Minutes” last summer, will take over the series’ 4-year-old spinoff “60 Minutes II” in June 2004. The move, which had been expected, is a key component in the passing of the baton from “60 Minutes” creator Don Hewitt to Jeff Fager, who launched “60 Minutes II” in 1999. Mr. Howard, 48, joined CBS News in 1981 and for much of the past 14 years has worked on the pioneering “60 Minutes,” most frequently with Mike Wallace.

“Josh is a natural fit to take over ’60 Minutes II,” Mr. Fager said. Mr. Hewitt said, “I’ve never worked with anyone I had more respect for and faith in than Josh.”

‘The Reagans’ to Air Nov. 30: Showtime will air the television movie “The Reagans” Nov. 30 at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The film was originally made for CBS, which dropped it amid controversy and sold it to its Viacom sister network. “We have the utmost respect for the filmmakers of ‘The Reagans’ and are pleased to be airing the movie the way they envisioned it,” said Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s president of entertainment. “They’ve worked diligently to craft the movie as honestly and balanced as possible.” Executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and director and co-executive producer Robert Allan Ackerman issued the following statement:

“We are grateful that Showtime has agreed to air ‘The Reagans.’ As filmmakers we are pleased that our final version of the movie will be presented. We are proud to live in a country where everyone, including artists and writers, has the right of free speech.”

History Channel Acquires ‘Band of Brothers’ Rights: The History Channel entered into a multiyear deal with HBO to acquire the U.S. rights to the miniseries “Band of Brothers.” The 10-part 10-hour program, executive produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, will make its basic-cable network premiere on the History Channel during the second quarter of 2004. The History Channel will present “Band of Brother” in wide-screen format with limited commercial interruptions.

ESPN to Unveil New Ad Campaign: ESPN this week will unveil a new multimedia advertising campaign to promote “Thursday Night Hockey” on ESPN. The campaign uses the theme “The NHL on ESPN. Made in America, Delivered on Thursdays.” ESPN’s second consecutive season of “Thursday Night Hockey” telecasts will begin Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. (ET) with a nationally exclusive telecast of Detroit at St. Louis.

Production Under Way for Electra-Navarro Reality Show: MTV announced that “Til Death Do Us Part: Carmen & Dave” will go into production as a documentary miniseries chronicling the lives of Carmen Electra and Dave Navarro, starting months before their wedding and culminating with the wedding ceremony. The series is scheduled to premiere in January 2004.

RVC L.P. Leads Effort to Finance Visible World: Visible World, a company that helps customize TV ads, said it received $8 million in second-round venture capital financing led by RVC L.P., the former venture capital arm of Reuters. Participants in the financing also include first-round investors Grey Ventures, WPP Group, Leucadia and Edgewater, as well as new investors Comcast Interactive Capital and SoundView Ventures.

America Channel Agrees to Expansion of Analog Carriage: The America Channel agreed to terms with Block Communications’ Buckeye Cablevision for expanded basic analog carriage of the new network on systems in Toledo and Sandusky, Ohio, reaching 150,000 subscribers.

The America Channel, a cable network focused on nonfiction stories about real people, will premiere on the Buckeye systems in 2004, under terms of the agreement.

Kane to Join Viacom: Tom Kane, who for seven years ran WABC-TV in New York, has been named president of Viacom Television Stations spot sales. He will report to Julio Marenghi, the president of sales for the 39-station group. The hire-which was as unexpected as Mr. Kane’s exit in mid-October from the ABC family with which he had spent 28 years-was made
by Viacom group President and CEO Fred Reynolds and Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Dennis Swanson.

“This is a real coup for Viacom Television Stations Group,” said Mr. Swanson, himself an alumnus of ABC. “Tom is a first-class television executive who knows what it takes to get to No. 1. I worked with him for years at ABC and competed against him in New York, and I know him to be an extremely gifted sales executive and station manager.”