News Briefs

Nov 17, 2003  •  Post A Comment

ABC is shaking up its Wednesday schedule. Freshman drama “Karen Sisco” is taking a breather, and “Celebrity Mole Yucatan” will take its time slot. “Mole” premieres Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 10 p.m. Also on Jan. 14, “The Bachelorette” will premiere at 9 p.m. The network also backtracked on its decision to air “Stephen King’s Kingdom Hospital” on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. Instead, its regular time slot will be Wednesdays from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. after “Mole” finishes its run. “Kingdom Hospital” will get a special two-hour premiere Wednesday, March 3, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., before settling into the 10 p.m. slot the following week. “Karen Sisco” will return to ABC’s schedule in March in a new time period, which has yet to be determined. Six episodes of the show are left to air. The network had ordered four additional scripts.
Disney Animates `Barbarian’
Disney Channel has announced a new animated comedy series, “Disney’s Dave the Barbarian,” to premiere in January 2004. The show follows the adventures of a peace-loving barbarian in the Middle Ages. The show is produced by Walt Disney Television Animation and is created by Doug Langdale.
Hallmark Movie Channel to Debut in January
Hallmark Channel parent Crown Media Holdings said last week it plans to launch Hallmark Movie Channel in January 2004. The new channel will be designed to help operators sell digital service and digital movie tiers and to help Hallmark boost distribution of its main channel, now available in about 56 million homes. The channel will be programmed with movies from Hallmark’s library and will cost a few hundred thousand dollars to launch. Hallmark Channel, which shows only one movie per day, also said it acquired the rights to the series “Diagnosis Murder” and “Magnum, P.I.”
Loesch, Stein Launch Agency
Former Fox Kids Network and Hallmark Channel President Margaret Loesch and former Mattel President Bruce Stein have launched The Hatchery, which aims to develop family and kids entertainment and consumer product concepts. Also a partner in the new agency is producer-writer Dan Angel. Investors in The Hatchery include the top two executives of Mandalay Entertainment Group, Chairman and CEO Peter Guber and Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Paul Schaeffer, who also will serve on the operating committee. In addition to developing franchises from new properties such as film festival hit “The Freak,” The Hatchery intends to revive old franchises. Ms. Loesch is producing “Benji Returns: Rags to Riches” for theatrical release in summer 2004.
Art Carney Dead at 85
Art Carney, who won seven Emmys and an Academy Award but will always be remembered as Jackie Gleason’s pal Norton in “The Honeymooners,” died last week at age 85 in Chester, Conn., of natural causes. Mr. Carney, who was living in a nursing home, appeared on TV, film and Broadway during a career that spanned seven decades. He last appeared on the big screen in a supporting role in “Last Action Hero” in 1993 and on the small screen as the star of a made-for-TV movie called “Where Pigeons Go to Die” in 1990. The image of Mr. Carney that will live on forever in reruns is that of the not-too-bright sewer worker Ed Norton, best friend of Mr. Gleason’s Ralph Kramden. He wore a turned-up porkpie hat, a slightly dirty white T-shirt and an open vest when in character, greeting his best friend and neighbor with his shout of “Hey, Ralphie boy.” Mr. Carney was born Arthur William Matthew Carney in Mount Vernon, N.Y, Nov. 4, 1918, into an Irish Catholic family. He married his childhood sweetheart and later divorced her. He later divorced his second wife and remarried his first wife. He had three children.