‘Blue’ Renewed for 12th and Final Season
ABC renewed “NYPD Blue” for a 12th season, which will be its last. The show launched in 1993 and has consistently been one of ABC’s highest-rated dramas. Creator Steven Bochco routinely pushed the boundaries of broadcast television with the use of nudity and foul language in the show.
“We are all in agreement that the 12th season should be thought of as our final season and creatively energize ourselves toward that end,” Mr. Bochco said. “Should we do brilliantly and circumstances change, we would be delighted to revisit the possibility of life beyond 12 seasons. However, to go out after 12 strong years is great, as it’s better to go out too early rather than overstay our welcome.”
Said ABC Entertainment President Susan Lyne, “There are very few dramas that are good enough to deserve a 12th season, but ‘NYPD Blue’ set the benchmark for quality programming when it launched back in 1993. We were proud to be its network home then, and we couldn’t be happier knowing that Steven, Dennis [Franz] and the rest of the talented cast and crew will continue to make us proud for a 12th year.”
“NYPD Blue” is a Steven Bochco production, co-created by Steven Bochco and David Milch. Mr. Bochco also serves as executive producer with Mark Tinker and former New York City police detective Bill Clark.
WB Conjures Up Another Season of ‘Charmed’: The WB picked up Sunday night hit “Charmed” for another season, which will be its seventh. The series ranks No. 2 in its 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. time slot in people 12 to 34 and is averaging a 2.4 Nielsen Media Research rating and 7 share in that demo.
“‘Charmed’ made an instant connection with our audience and has continued to grow and reinvigorate itself,” said WB co-CEO Jordan Levin said. “Aaron Spelling and Brad Kern have kept this show relevant, and creatively, ‘Charmed’ is stronger than ever and features one of the strongest ensemble casts on television.”
The series is produced by Spelling Television. Aaron Spelling and E. Duke Vincent serve as executive producers along with Brad Kern. “Charmed” was created by Constance Burge.
‘Simple Life 2’ Gets Go-Ahead: “The Simple Life 2” is going on the road. In the second edition of Fox’s hit reality show, the work-challenged Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie will take a road trip through the United States, staying with different families along the way. Casting for host families begins Saturday, Feb. 14, and the show is expected to air later this year. “Simple Life 2” is produced by 20th Century Fox Television and Bunim-Murray Productions. Jonathan Murray is executive producer.
‘Eden’ Gets Two-Night ‘Idol’-Fueled Premiere: Fox will debut its new unscripted soap opera, “Forever Eden,” over two nights in time slots immediately following “American Idol.” “Eden” will air Monday, March 1, and Tuesday, March 2, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. (ET) each night. It will move to its regular Thursday 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time period starting Thursday, March 18.
“Forever Eden” is produced by Mentorn in association with A. Smith and Co. Tom Gutteridge, Arthur Smith, Charles Thompson, Bruce Toms and Kent Weed serve as executive producers.
Grammys Score for CBS: CBS cruised to a nightly victory last night in adults 18 to 49 and total viewers thanks to a strong performance by “The 46th Annual Grammy Awards.” The Grammys scored an 11.7/28 in adults 18 to 49, up 4 percent from last year, and 26.4 million viewers, up 6 percent from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data.
NCC’s Smith Killed in Car Accident: Gina Smith, senior VP of sales at National Cable Communications, was killed in an automobile accident Sunday night in Connecticut. Before joining NCC in 2003 Ms. Smith spent seven years with NBC, most recently as senior VP of sales for the Telemundo Station Group. Earlier she had worked with WJAR-TV, Providence, R.I. “Gina was a rare spirit, and she became a leader, guiding force and friend to many of us at NCC, our clients and our affiliates in the short time she was here. She will be remembered forever and missed terribly,” Greg Schaefer, NCC president, said in a statement.
Karmazin, Tagliabue Set to Testify at Indecency Hearings: The House telecommunications subcommittee confirmed today that Mel Karmazin, Viacom president and chief operating officer, and Paul Tagliabue, National Football League commissioner, will testify at the subcommittee’s broadcast indecency hearings Feb. 11. Also appearing in the industry’s behalf will be Harry Pappas, chairman and CEO, Pappas Telecasting. Representing the federal government at the witness table will be all five members of the Federal Communications Commission: Chairman Michael Powell, Kathleen Abernathy, Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Copps and Kevin Martin.
The Senate Commerce Committee’s own hearings will be held at the same time, but will examine at violence as well as sexual content. All five FCC commissioners are also scheduled to testify at the Senate hearings.
The subcommittee has scheduled a vote on anti-indecency legislation for Thursday, Feb. 12. The bill under consideration, backed by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., would jack up the fine for an indecent broadcast from $27,500 to $275,000. It would also raise the maximum levy for a continuing violation from $300,000 to $3 million.
CNN Election Coverage Signs Sponsors: CNN said AT&T, DaimlerChrysler and Samsung Electronics have signed as sponsors of CNN’s America Votes 2004, the network’s yearlong election coverage.
Each sponsor paid about $5 million for its sponsorship package, industry sources said. The packages include CNN’s coverage of the elections, from daily campaign news updates and key election programming to debates, conventions and Election Day in November.
The AT&T and Samsung diversified marketing sponsorships will incorporate television, online and out-of-home, including advertising on CNN, Headline News, CNNfn, CNN.com, CNN Airport Networks and CNNtoGo.
The DaimlerChrysler partnership includes CNN, Headline News and CNN.com. Each of the packages includes sponsor-tagged on-air tune-in announcements and integrated billboards across the CNN networks, on-air advertising, co-branded banners on CNN.com and Money.com and event marketing. AT&T receives networking exclusivity, Samsung receives consumer electronics and wireless hardware exclusivity and DaimlerChrysler receives domestic automotive exclusivity for two of its brands, Chrysler and Jeep.
Discovery Buys Rights to Times Square Video Billboard: Discovery Communications has paid to be the exclusive advertiser on a new digital video billboard in New York’s Times Square built by Motion Media LLC. The video screen is located at the corner of the Port Authority building on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Discovery said it will use the billboard to market U.S. television brands, program premieres and Discovery consumer products.
Cable Rates Hearing Set: The Senate antitrust subcommittee has announced hearings on cable TV rates for Wednesday, Feb. 11. Witnesses slated to testify are Michael Willner, president and CEO, Insight Communications; Robert Sachs, president and CEO, National Cable and Telecommunications Association; Mark Cooper, director of research, Consumer Federation of America; Scott Cleland, CEO, Precursor Group; Rodger Johnson, CEO, Knology; and Coralie Wilson, National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors.
Discovery Buys Rights to Times Square Video Billboard: Discovery Communications paid to be the exclusive advertiser on a new digital video billboard in New York’s Times Square built by Motion Media LLC. The video screen is located at the corner of the Port Authority building on 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue. Discovery said it will use the billboard to market U.S. television brands, program premieres and Discovery consumer products.
Crown Media to Provide Playback Services to KSE: Crown Media International, operator of the Hallmark Channel, has agreed to provide playback and uplink services to KSE Media Ventures LLC, which plans to launch a regional sports network that will televise Colorado Avalanche and the Den
ver Nuggets games. The channel will launch in September 2004.
Ellis Entertainment to Produce Series for Discovery Nets: Ellis Entertainment will produce two series and two specials in high definition for networks owned by Discovery Communications. Discovery Health renewed Ellis’ “The Baby Human” and Animal Planet renewed “Profiles of Nature.” Animal Planet will also air the specials “Leave it to the Real Beavers” and “Day of the Groundhog.” These productions will also appear on Discovery’s HD Theatre service.
Gannett Plans Stock Buyback: Television station and newspaper group Gannett said Monday that it is reactivating its share-repurchase program and plans to buy back up to $291 million worth of common stock.
The decision to restart the McLean, Va.-based company’s stock buyback program comes after nearly four years of dormancy. Gannett last bought back stock in February 2000.
Gannett said the decision to purchase stock will be based on stock price and availability of shares. The company said it will purchase the shares either on the open market or through private transactions. No maximum purchase price has been set.
Walt Disney Partners With Microsoft: The Walt Disney Co. partnered with Microsoft on a series of digital media projects that are designed to extend the reach of Microsoft and Disney’s content into the home.
Under the agreement, Disney will license Microsoft Windows Media Digital Rights Management technology to manage three areas: high-definition digital content, the distribution of digital content to consumers through such devices as Microsoft’s Portable Media Centers and the interconnections between different devices that handle digital content.
Disney said that the agreement helps the content company in its efforts to provide consumers with entertainment on various platforms.