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News Briefs

Mar 1, 2004  •  Post A Comment

ABC Cable Networks Group topper Anne Sweeney turned her attention to the marketing department of ABC Family Channel last week in her latest move toward overhauling the network. Ms. Sweeney integrated the marketing duties for the channel into the network group, leaving ABC Family senior VP, marketing and promotion, Regina DiMartino without a job. For now, marketing chores are being handled by John Rood, VP, brand marketing, at ACNG. Ms. Sweeney has hired headhunting firm Carlsen Resources to aid in the search for a new president for ABC Family. The new president will decide whether to name a dedicated marketing executive, insiders said. ABC Family president Angela Shapiro left ABC Family when the network was made a part of the ABC Cable Networks Group last year.
Syndies Steady in First Full Sweeps Week
The first full week of the February sweeps saw little movement in the syndication ranks, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Feb. 15. Only three talk shows, including Twentieth Television’s rookie “On-Air With Ryan Seacrest,” saw growth. “Ryan” was buoyed by a one-day ratings spike Wednesday, Feb. 11, when an appearance by Britney Spears aired. The episode registered an all-time single-episode high of 1.6 in national household ratings as well as an all-time weekly high for the series with a 1.2, up 9 percent for the week. The show was the only rookie to show growth for the week. The other talk shows to jump were King World’s “Dr. Phil,” with a 5.7 for the week, up 2 percent; and Universal’s “Maury,” up 3 percent to a 3.1.
Stewart’s Most Serious Charge Dropped
The federal judge presiding over the trial of Martha Stewart last week threw out the most serious charge against Ms. Stewart, just as prosecutors and defense attorneys were preparing to give their closing arguments and the case was expected to be handed to a jury for deliberations. U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum dismissed the securities fraud charge against Ms. Stewart, which claimed Ms. Stewart lied about her sale of shares in ImClone Systems to help prop up the stock of her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
NBC Enterprises Inks Isaac Mizrahi Deal
NBC Enterprises has signed designer and television personality Isaac Mizrahi to an overall development deal, NBC Enterprises President Ed Wilson announced Friday. Mr. Mizrahi is developing with Marisa Gardini and Larry Brezner a potential series for national syndication with NBC Enterprises. For the past three years Mr. Mizrahi has been hosting “The Isaac Mizrahi Show” on Oxygen Network.
`Sex and the City’ Sets Record
The final episode of HBO’s “Sex and the City” on Sunday, Feb. 22, drew the highest ratings in the series’ history. Within the premium network’s universe, the show registered a 21.8 rating and 28 share, representing 10.6 million viewers. The finale is the most-watched program on cable this year and is the most-watched show on HBO since the season four premiere of “The Sopranos” in 2002.
Bashir Reportedly Headed to ABC News
Martin Bashir, the ITV and former BBC personality whose TV reports on Michael Jackson and Princess Diana were licensed by ABC, has been “poached” by ABC News for $1 million a year, according to a report last week in The Guardian. The British newspaper said Mr. Bashir is expected to make the switch when Barbara Walters relinquishes her “20/20” anchor-correspondent role next fall. An ABC News spokesman declined to comment except to say that Mr. Bashir is “a talented journalist who would be a great addition to any newsroom.”
George Foreman Reality Series Shopped
On the heels of news that NBC is developing a boxing reality show with Mark Burnett, Crystal Spring Productions last week announced its own project featuring two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman. The as-yet-untitled series involves a group of heavyweights living and training together under the coaching of Mr. Foreman.
Harvey to Outdoor Life President
Comcast named Gavin Harvey president of its Outdoor Life Network, keeping the executive in the family by shifting him from E! Networks. He most recently served as executive VP, marketing, and brand director at E! Networks. OLN is owned by Comcast, and E! Networks is majority-owned by Comcast.