News Briefs

Feb 16, 2004  •  Post A Comment

ABC renewed “NYPD Blue” for a 12th season, which is expected to 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 raw 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.” In other prime-time renewal news, the creative forces behind CBS’s “Everybody Loves Raymond” reportedly met last week to discuss story lines for another season. Star Ray Romano and executive producer Phil Rosenthal previously said they expected to decide by the end of January whether to return in the fall. Also, The WB picked up Sunday night hit “Charmed” for a seventh season.
Hughes Electronics Outlines Plans
DirecTV parent Hughes Electronics expects to reach 15 million subscribers in three years, double its high-definition television programming by year-end and generally boost capital investment to enable the satellite operator to begin offering a variety of new services, its new management team said last week. The comments came as Hughes reported a fourth-quarter loss of $310 million, or 22 cents a share, vs. a profit of $113 million, or 8 cents a share, a year ago, reflecting a $132 million charge taken in the fourth quarter of 2003 related to News Corp.’s acquisition of Hughes, and a $275 million payment Hughes made to GM at the close of the deal. Revenue surged 20 percent to $2.9 billion. For the year, Hughes reported a narrowed loss of $362 million, or 26 cents a share, compared with red ink of $894 million, or 70 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue climbed 14 percent to $10.1 billion.
ABC Family’s Schwartz Moves to Regency
While the Comcast bid looms, Disney-owned ABC Family Channel is experiencing some executive shuffling. Robin Schwartz, former VP of programming at ABC Family, has left Disney to become president of Regency Television, on the Fox lot. She will be in charge of development and production and will oversee the studio’s current series. She replaces Peter Aronson, who left Regency to become executive producer of “The Bernie Mac Show.” Two Disney Channel execs, Gary Marsh (executive VP of programming and production) and Michael Healy (VP of original movies), will take over original movie production at ABC Family. An ABC Family spokesperson said ABC Cable Networks Group President Anne Sweeney expects to appoint a new network president by spring. The new president, in turn, will appoint a head of programming to replace the late Linda Mancuso.
ABC Unveils Sponsors for Oscars Show
ABC last week released a list of advertisers for its broadcast of the “76th Annual Academy Awards.” They include Procter & Gamble, MasterCard, America Online, Washington Mutual, Allstate, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Cadillac, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, Home Depot, Charles Schwab and JCPenney. The Oscars will be televised Feb. 29 from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
`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). 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.