News Briefs

Jan 19, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Sci Fi Gets ‘Andromeda’
The Sci Fi Channel and Tribune Entertainment Co. entered into a program license agreement for Tribune’s weekly action hour “Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda.” In addition to presenting the fifth and final season of “Andromeda” next fall as an original series in tandem with its syndicated run, the cable outlet will have the television rights to the series’ first four seasons. The agreement includes cable rights to 110 episodes of “Andromeda” through the first four seasons as well as the upcoming season, along with 66 episodes of the weekly action hour “ BeastMaster.” The fourth season of “Andromeda” will be available to Sci Fi beginning in March 2004, when Sci Fi starts sharing original episodes with syndication. Original episodes of the fifth season will air in syndication a week to 10 days after their Sci Fi premiere. Tribune also gave a firm go last week to a sixth season of game show strip “Family Feud.”
WGA OKs Pattern of Demands
Writers Guild of America members last week approved a pattern of demands that sets the stage for the 2004 contract negotiations. Key areas of contention include health-care costs, the formula for determining proceeds from home video and DVD sales and firming up guild status for writers working in genres such as animation and reality. About 96 percent of WGA members approved the demands.
Griffiths Leaves MGM For Playboy
Jim Griffiths left his position as president of MGM Worldwide Television Distribution and joined Playboy Enterprises in a newly created senior executive VP position. In Mr. Griffiths’ wake, three veteran MGM executives have taken over his responsibilities-Jim Packer, executive VP, television distribution; Simon Sutton, executive VP, international television; and Bruce Tuchman, executive VP, MGM Networks. Mr. Griffiths, 49, spent six years as MGM president, during which time he oversaw the global distribution of movies and television programs.
ABC Affils Board Seeks Lansing Successor
The recent promotion of John Lansing to executive VP for Scripps Networks has left a hole on the ABC Affiliates Board of Governors. Mr. Lansing, who was VP of station operations for the 10 Scripps-owned broadcast stations, chaired the news committee. Nominations for Mr. Lansing’s successor on the board will be made this spring and the election will be held in May, said affiliates board Chairman and Young Broadcasting Executive VP Deb McDermott. In the meantime, she will take on news committee responsibilities.
Riesenberg Joins Omnicom Group
Robert Riesenberg, a leader in advertiser-produced programming, is leaving Interpublic’s Magna Global Entertainment to run a new unit at Omnicom Group that will produce and co-develop programming with talent, producers, clients and networks. Mr. Riesenberg will be president and CEO of the new unit and report to Daryl Simm, CEO of Omnicom Media Group. Mr. Simm also oversees media buyers OMD and PHD. At Magna Global, Mr. Riesenberg produced more than 50 hours of prime-time programming, including NBC’s “The Restaurant” and TNT’s “Door to Door.”