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Mar 23, 2004  •  Post A Comment

James Miller Resigns From CNN

James Miller has resigned effective immediately from CNN, where he had been senior executive producer of “Anderson Cooper 360” and “Paula Zahn Now” since last year. A brief announcement was made early Tuesday evening to the staffs of the New York-based shows.

Princell Hair, executive VP and general manager of CNN/U.S., and Sue Bunda, senior VP of news for CNN/U.S., will oversee the Cooper and Zahn shows in the interim.

In his message to the staffs, Mr. Hair said that Mr. Miller, whose status had been the subject of rumors last week, had decided to leave CNN and that Mr. Miller tendered his resignation Tuesday. “I am confident this transition will go smoothly and look forward to working with the staff on these shows even more closely,” Mr. Hair said.

Mr. Miller, who was hired in May 2003, had most recently been a consultant to ABC’s “Good Morning America.” His TV rÈsumÈ also includes stints as executive VP in charge of original programming at USA Networks when “Monk” was developed and as executive producer of “D.C.,” Dick Wolf’s short-lived WB drama about Washington interns.

Mr. Miller also co-authored “Live From New York: An Uncensored History of ‘Saturday Night Live'” with Washington Post and TelevisionWeek columnist Tom Shales.

Liguori: Fight ‘Tyranny of Sameness’: FX President and CEO Peter Liguori complained about the “tyranny of sameness” in television programming Tuesday.

Speaking at a Museum of Television & Radio luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif., Mr. Liguori said cable networks should take more chances on innovative programs rather than rerunning retreads of “CSI” and “Law & Order.”

“Cable is not exactly dong a fantastic job of defining itself,” he said.

Disney Board to Meet With Investors: The Walt Disney Co. Chairman George Mitchell said he is willing to set up a meeting between the Disney board of directors and six large institutional investors to discuss the future and direction of the media company.

Mr. Mitchell’s agreement to organize a meeting between the board and investors comes after six of the largest institutional investors in a letter issued late Monday called for a meeting with the board.

The investors requesting the meeting were the New York State Common Retirement Fund, the Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, North Carolina Retirement Systems and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. The six funds have combined assets worth more than $500 billion.

The call for a meeting comes nearly three weeks after Disney CEO Michael Eisner received a 43 percent no-confidence vote at the company’s annual shareholders meeting amid complaints about his management style and questions about whether he had too much power over the board.

The board responded to the no-confidence vote by stripping Mr. Eisner of his title as chairman, but the move has done little to quell investor anger, which has led many investors to call for Mr. Eisner’s ouster.

Lifetime Acquires Rights to ‘Frasier’: Lifetime Television acquired the exclusive cable syndication rights for “Frasier” from Paramount Domestic Television. Lifetime will begin to show the award-winning comedy in March 2006. Terms were not disclosed, but Paramount was seeking $850,000 per episode, according to an executive at a network that bid on the show. “As our programming evolves into an even richer mix of original dramas, critically acclaimed original movies, new reality series and off-net comedies, we anticipate ‘Frasier’ will be one of the crown jewels of this strategy. Smart, sharp and witty, ‘Frasier’ will appeal to our audience, providing another strong comedic ingredient in our overall schedule,” said Lynn Picard, executive VP, general manger, Lifetime Television, in a statement.

Showtime, Yahoo! Team Up for ‘American Candidate’: Showtime is posting a job listing for President of the United States on the employment Web site Yahoo! HotJobs as part of its promotion for its reality series “American Candidate.” Through April 9, 2004, American residents who are at least 18 years of age can apply to be a show contestant by logging on to http://www.HotJobs.com, which will direct them to the official series site. Showtime will run on-air spots in March and April directing viewers to Yahoo! HotJobs. In addition, Yahoo! HotJobs will create and run online promotions including placements on the HotJobs and Yahoo! Home pages, driving candidates to apply for one of the positions on the show.

IFC Signs Carriage Agreements With NCTC: Independent Film Channel signed long-term carriage agreements with the National Cable Television Cooperative. It also signed distribution deals with multiple system operators Blue Ridge Communications, Liberty Cablevision and Tekstar Cablevision, which together serve about 289,000 subscribers.