CBS Slates Summer Reality Block
CBS is creating a two-hour Tuesday reality block this summer with “Big Brother 5” and “The Amazing Race 5.” Both shows will get 90-minute premieres on Tuesday, July 6. “Big Brother” will debut from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. before settling into its regular Tuesday 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot the following week. “Amazing Race” will premiere immediately after “Big Brother” from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Subsequent episodes will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m., starting July 13.
“Big Brother” will also air Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. starting July 8 and Saturdays from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting July 17. The Thursday episode will be live and will feature the eviction of a member of the house.
CBS also has reality show “The Will” from “Bachelor” creator Mike Fleiss slated for summer, but has yet to announce a premiere date.
NBC Details Summer Plans: NBC will rollout a big chunk of its summer programming during the week of June 7. Dating show “For Love or Money” kicks off the week on Monday, June 7, with a two-hour premiere from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., before settling into its regular 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot the following week. Twelve episodes are slated to air.
The second edition of “Last Comic Standing” returns on Tuesday, June 8, with a two-hour premiere from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The 14-episode series will normally air from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesdays. “Who Wants to Marry My Dad?” returns on Monday, June 14, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. “Marry My Dad” is a six episode series.
New reality show “The Next Action Star,” which follows a search for the next action hero, premieres Tuesday, June 15, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. The series is slated to air 10 one-hour episodes. The two winners of “Next Action Star” will star in a Silver Pictures movie, “Hit Me,” which NBC will air on Wednesday, Aug. 11, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
“Come to Papa,” a sitcom holdover from last fall, will finally make it on the air starting on Thursday, June 3, from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Charter Ready to Sell Cable System: Charter Communications, continuing to pare down its debt load, said Friday it plans to sell another nonessential cable system before the end of the second quarter and is taking several marketing measures designed to boost revenue and stem subscriber losses.
In a filing submitted Friday to the Securities and Exchange Commission, St. Louis-based Charter declined to identify the location or buyer of the system involved in the pending sale. But the company did say that when combined with the systems sold last month to Atlantic Broadband Finance, Charter will have removed from its books 253,000 analog video customers, 96,000 digital video customers and 51,000 high-speed data customers.
Meanwhile, Charter said it is stepping up its marketing efforts in the first quarter with new branding and promotional campaigns designed to reduce the number of subscribers leaving the company. While the company did not provide details of how much more it would be spending, it did say that the goal of the initiatives is to boost revenue through deeper market penetration and increase the average revenue per customer.
With those marketing efforts under way, Charter said it expected revenue to rise 3 percent in the first quarter compared with a year ago, and forecast that first-quarter subscriber losses would be between 10,000 and 15,000, compared with 49,000 losses in 2003. Digital subscriber growth was projected to be 60,000 to 65,000 vs. a year-earlier contraction of 32,000. High-speed data growth is on track to mirror 2003 levels, when the total grew by 125,000.
‘Apprentice’ Soars for NBC: NBC’s “The Apprentice” beat CBS’s “CSI” in adults 18 to 49 for the first time ever last night. “Apprentice” scored a 9.8/24 in adults 18 to 49 to “CSI’s” 9.4/23, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. NBC hasn’t won the 9 p.m. time slot with regular programming against “CSI” since Feb. 7, 2002. “CSI” still beat “Apprentice” in total viewers with 26.4 million to “Apprentice’s” 20.2 million.
After a two-week move to Wednesday nights due to NCAA Basketball Championship tournament coverage, “Survivor” returned to Thursdays with stellar results. “Survivor” finished first in its 8-9 p.m. time slot among adults 18 to 49 with an 8.2/23 and total viewers with 21.6 million. NBC finished second in both measures with a “Friends” rerun and a fresh “Will & Grace” combining for a 5.7/16 in adults 18 to 49 and 13.5 million viewers.
At 10 p.m. “ER” won the time slot among adults 18 to 49 with a 9.3/25 to “Without a Trace’s” 6.0/16 for CBS. However, the total viewer race was much tighter, with “ER” pulling 19.3 million viewers and “Trace” attracting 18 million viewers. That is “Trace’s” best-ever competitive performance to “ER” in total viewers.
Against tough competition at 8 p.m. Fox’s “Tru Calling” had its best performance yet in adults 18 to 49 with a 2.1/6 and total viewers with 5.2 million. “Tru” tied with ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” repeat for third place in adults 18 to 49. The news wasn’t so good for “Wonderfalls,” which made its Thursday night debut. Against “Apprentice” and “CSI,” it managed to pull only a 1.1/3 in adults 18 to 49 and 3 million viewers, which is worse than its Friday night performances.
For the night, NBC won adults 18 to 49 with an 8.2/22, followed by CBS (7.8/21), ABC (2.3/6), UPN (1.7/4), Fox (1.6/4) and The WB (1.1/3). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 22 million, followed by NBC (17.6 million), ABC (6.6 million), UPN (4.7 million), Fox (4.1 million) and The WB (2.8 million).
SAG Awards Date Set: The 11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be held Saturday, Feb. 5, 2005, two weeks earlier than they were staged this year. The ceremony, which will take place at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center, will be telecast by TNT for the eighth year in a row. The show will be produced by Jeff Margolis Productions in association with the Screen Actors Guild for the seventh year in a row.
Perez Named NBC Executive VP of Communications: Anna Perez, who has imposing Hollywood and Washington connections, was named executive VP of communications for NBC in a surprise move announced Thursday afternoon. Ms. Perez will join the company, which will double in size with NBC’s pending merger with Vivendi Universal, on May 1.
Ms. Perez, 52, recently ended a two-year stint at the White House, where she worked with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice as head of her office of media, communications and speech writing.
She replaces Patricia Steele, who left Sony Music in September 2002 to take the top NBC communications job and who will work on the transition to Ms. Perez before considering options inside and outside NBC.
From 1998 to 2001, Ms. Perez was general manager of corporate communication at Chevron Corp. Previously, she was VP for California government relations at The Walt Disney Co. and head of media relations at Creative Artists Agency.
“Anna Perez is a most accomplished communications professional,” said Bob Wright, GE vice chairman and NBC chairman and CEO, in making the announcement. “Her passion for excellence and her strategic capabilities have earned her the respect of her colleagues in government, business and the media. She knows our business and the environment we compete in every day. We’re thrilled to have her leading our talented communications team.”
Areas reporting to her will include media relations, executive communications, internal communications, corporate philanthropy and community relations.
“There couldn’t be a more exciting time to join NBC, as it prepares to become one of the world’s largest and most dynamic media companies,” Ms. Perez said. “I am honored to be joining such an experienced management team and look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
GSN Bets on Ponies: GSN will air a six-episode reality series about horse racing, the network announced Friday. Titled “The American Dream Derby,” the series gives six racing fans a chance to own, train and race a thoroughbred.
“Horse racing has always been a part of America’s culture, but with the recent popu
larity of ‘Seabiscuit’ and the tremendous success of reality programs allowing contestants to ‘live the dream,’ the time is right for this series,” said GSN President and CEO Rich Cronin.
For the final race, viewers in states where it is legal will be able to place bet online for the race.