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News Briefs

Dec 1, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Effective Dec. 1, MSNBC will replace “Buchanan & Press” with “The Abrams Report” at 6 p.m. (ET) weekdays. MSNBC will repeat “Abrams Report” at 9 p.m., its current time slot, until replacing it in early 2004 with a new program being developed by Bruce Perlmutter and some of Dan Abrams’ staff. Bill Press and Pat Buchanan remain under contract to MSNBC as prime-time and daytime contributors, MSNBC President Erik Sorenson said in an internal memo last week. He added that he has plans to retain everyone associated with the program, reassigning them within MSNBC. Mr. Sorenson said the decision to move “Abrams Report” to 6 p.m. was designed to help Mr. Abrams “better balance his duties at MSNBC as host of `The Abrams Report’ and at NBC as chief legal correspondent.” Meanwhile, Maria Shriver was due to return to her position at NBC as a “Dateline” anchor on Nov. 28.
Showtime Exec Blasts CBS Over `Reagans’
Robert Greenblatt, Showtime’s president of entertainment, took aim at CBS and Chairman Leslie Moonves over their handling of the miniseries about former President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. Mr. Greenblatt said Mr. Moonves-who has denied that controversy over “The Reagans” was the reason the network pulled the plug on it-had access to every stage of the film. “ The scripts, casting and every single day of the dailies were available to him,” Mr. Greenblatt said during a conference call with television critics last week. “He rushed the film into production for it to be ready in time for sweeps. … If he didn’t know what he was getting, it was not the fault of the producers, the director or anybody else associated with this film.” Showtime scheduled the miniseries as a three-hour movie Nov. 30 and also planned to simulcast a special round-table forum on sho.com Dec. 1 at 9 p.m. (ET).
Hasselbeck Shares `The View’
Elisabeth Filarski Hasselbeck, the sweetheart of “Survivor: The Australian Outback,” debuted as the fifth permanent co-host on ABC’s “The View” last week. Ms. Hasselbeck, 26, has acquired a variety of TV experience, most recently as host of the Style Channel’s “The Look for Less.” She is married to Washington Redskins quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, but will have to establish a home base in New York, where “The View” originates live at 11 a.m. (ET) weekdays. She won the chair vacated last December when Lisa Ling signed with “National Geographic Ultimate Explorer.”
MTV Renews The Sunday Stew
MTV has renewed The Sunday Stew, which means new seasons of “Punk’d,” “Viva La Bam” and “Wildboyz” will premiere in March. Since its launch Oct. 26, The Sunday Stew has pumped up the network’s ratings among 12- to 34-year-olds by 155 percent from a year earlier. Last week the block had three of the five top-rated cable telecasts among persons 12 to 34.
ABC Names Mellon VP
Michael Mellon, who has been executive VP at Paramount Worldwide TV Distribution, has been named senior VP for research for ABC Television Network. Mr. Mellon, who started last week, will be based in Burbank, Calif., and report to ABC Television Network President Alex Wallau. He fills the vacancy left by the sudden departure of Andy Fessel earlier this year. Mr. Mellon had been at Paramount since 1992.
Third-Quarter Ad Spending Rises
Ad spending rose 5.7 percent to $18.7 billion in the third quarter, Nielsen Monitor-Plus reported last week. For the year, ad spending was up 3.3 percent through the end of September. Spending on network TV was up 3.4 percent to $4.1 billion, cable TV was up 8.9 percent to $4 billion, spot TV was up 5.9 percent to $4.6 billion, syndicated TV was up 4.4 percent to $719 million and Spanish-language TV was up 19.3 percent to $551 million.