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News Briefs

Mar 29, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Writers, Producers Schedule Talks
The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers announced last week that negotiations for a new contract will begin April 5. “We are prepared to meet with the companies and bargain in good faith,” said Daniel Petrie Jr., who was recently elevated to president of the Writers Guild of America West. J. Nicholas Counter III, AMPTP president, said, “While there is much work that lies ahead, we are eager to sit down with the WGA and negotiate the important industry issues as expeditiously as possible to bring about a mutually satisfying contract.” At the first meeting, the two sides are expected to trade proposals for what should be in the new contract. The current contract, covering both the western and eastern writers guilds, expires at the beginning of May.
Nielsen to Split Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite Reports
At MTV Networks’ request, Nielsen Media Research will begin reporting Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite as if they were separate networks. While they share a single channel, they are programmed separately and sold to advertisers separately, and reach very different audiences, according to MTV. The change begins March 29.
DIC Creating Kids Health PSAs
DIC Entertainment is creating a series of 30-second public service announcements that promote health and exercise and include safety tips for kids. The ads will air on the syndicated DIC Kids’ Network. DIC is making the PSAs in response to growing national concern for kids health, according to DIC officials. The PSAs will feature Inspector Gadget from the company’s flagship property and will target the importance of participating in various activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Topics will include sports, food and getting adequate sleep. “DIC is committed to addressing these issues by educating and providing a positive environment for our series airing on DIC Kids’ Network,” said David Ozer, senior VP of domestic television. “We have had an amazing reaction already from our advertisers, who want to be associated with positive messaging.”
Lifetime Acquires Rights to `Frasier’
Lifetime Television has acquired the exclusive cable syndication rights for “Frasier” from Paramount Domestic Television. Lifetime will begin showing 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,” said Lynn Picard, executive VP and general manager of Lifetime Television, in a statement.
Spader Gets New `Practice’
James Spader has signed to star in ABC’s spinoff of “The Practice” next fall. He will reprise the character of Alan Shore, an ethically challenged attorney. The new drama will follow his character to a high-end civil law firm.
Brothers to Launch Stand-Up Net
Two brothers who made millions during the dot-com boom are attempting to launch a Chicago-based stand-up comedy cable network. Joseph and Avi Fox, founders of the online brokerage firm Web Street Inc., announced Stand-Up Comedy Television (SCTV), a 24-hour cable channel that will launch in 2005. Original programming will be shot at the network’s “studio stages” in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Phoenix. No carriers have been announced.