News Briefs

Jan 12, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Following a lackluster November book, Buena Vista axed “The Wayne Brady Show” in its second season and Tony Danza now appears set to move in. “Wayne Brady” will remain in production through the rest of the year, with original episodes running through the end of the season. The show joins “Crossing Over With John Edward” and “The John Walsh Show” as early casualties of the season (TelevisionWeek, Jan. 5). “Wayne Brady” launched in national syndication this fall after spending a year in a slow rollout on ABC-owned stations. Mr. Brady earned an Emmy last year for top talk show host. The strip averaged around a 1.0 rating through much of the season. The ABC-owned stations are in position to pick up Buena Vista’s new offering, “The Tony Danza Show,” for next season, giving the series clearances in a number of top markets, according to station executives. “Wayne Brady is one of today’s most talented entertainers,” said Buena Vista President Janice Marinelli. “Those talents combined with a truly outstanding production team led to the show’s remarkable first-season Emmy Award honors.”
PBS Planning a Cable Network
PBS said last week it has received a grant to plan a new cable network for public affairs programming, which it hopes to start in early 2005, according to the Associated Press. Tentatively called PBS Public Square, the network will mostly air reruns of PBS programs. PBS President Pat Mitchell said the Public Broadcasting Service probably will need more than $25 million to get PBS Public Square operating. The grant was a $200,000 award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Weisman `Pauley’ Producer
Michael Weisman, who has won more than 20 Emmys and a reputation as an unflappable producer of live sporting events, was named executive producer of “The Jane Pauley Show.” NBC Enterprises will launch the daytime talk show in syndication this fall. Mr. Weisman was released early from his Fox Sports contract to take the “Pauley” position. He has also worked for CBS Sports, but it is his three-decade association with NBC Sports that gives the unexpected career move synchronicity. Mr. Weisman first worked with Ms. Pauley while he was producing the 1988 Olympics in Seoul.
NFL Network Signs Carriage Deal With Charter
NFL Network signed its first carriage deal with a major cable operator. The agreement puts NFL Network on the digital basic tier for Charter Communications, which has 6.4 million households. Most other new sports channels have been forced to be part of digital sports tiers on cable, limiting their distribution. As part of the agreement, NFL Network will provide Charter with a separate high-definition simulcast feed beginning with the 2004 NFL season, a customized video-on-demand package that includes access to the NFL Films library, and extended highlights of each NFL regular-season game.
Lippin to Underwrite NATPE Awards
The NATPE’s Educational Foundation received a fund infusion when The Lippin Family Trust, administered by Dick and Ronnie Lippin, agreed to underwrite the foundation’s annual Student Video & Film Production Awards. The NATPE Educational Foundation’s Student Video & Film Production Awards, held each spring, recognize excellence in the production of student video and film projects worldwide.
Riskin Ousted as WGA President
Victoria Riskin was ousted last week as WGA president after an independent investigator ruled she was not eligible for the office at the time of her election. Ms. Riskin offered the WGA board of directors her resignation, and the board accepted it with “deep regret.” The decision came after guild member Ron Parker filed a complaint challenging Ms. Riskin’s eligibility on the grounds she had not worked enough recently to qualify as an active WGA member. The WGA board of directors asked Stanford University law professor William Gould to investigate. Mr. Gould recommended that Ms. Riskin resign and that VP Charles Holland assume the duties of president until the next guild election in 2005.