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Apr 7, 2004  •  Post A Comment

BBC: Paul Lee Not Leaving

Network CEO Paul Lee is not leaving BBC America — that’s the word at the network in response to published reports that he tops the list to succeed former ABC Family president Angela Shapiro.

“He’s definitely not leaving,” said one spokesperson.

ABC Cable Networks Group president Anne Sweeney, who has oversight of ABC Family, has been searching for months to find a replacement for Ms. Shapiro, who left the network in October. Mr. Lee has helped raise BBC America from its launch as an unknown entity in 1998, to cable cult favorite in recent years, to semi-mainstream success with last year’s two Golden Globe wins.

Minow Asks FCC to Mandate Political Time on Stations: Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton Minow formally asked the agency Wednesday to adopt rules requiring broadcasters to provide free time for local political races in their communities.

Under the proposed rule, radio and TV stations would be required to earmark 20 minutes a day to “significant local races” during the 30 days before a general election, with five of the minutes in prime time. In his petition, Mr. Minow-together with former FCC General Counsel Henry Geller-said a requirement is needed because recent studies have shown that many broadcasters are giving political campaigns short shrift. “The broadcast licensee, as a public trustee, has a special obligation to present political broadcasts, including serving as an effective local outlet in this respect,” the two former agency officials said in their request. Said a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters, in response, “Way too often, broadcasters offer time to politicians and they don’t take advantage of it.”

Spike TV Brings ‘Extreme Elimination’ to USA: Spike TV will air a special stateside version of its comic hit “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.” The series typically takes 1980s footage from Japanese game shows and overlays irreverent English audio commentary. For the special, titled “MXC Almost Live,” Spike TV tapped Florida college students to re-create some of the challenges from the show and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk will serve as a coach. The show will air on Thursday, April 22.

Cartoon to Launch New Season of ‘Harvey Birdman’: Cartoon Network will launch a new season of “Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law” April 18 at 11:30 p.m., as part of the network’s Adult Swim block. Nine new episodes have been produced, and guest stars include The Jetsons, Doggie Daddy and Augie Doggie.

TBS Acquires First-run TV Rights for ‘Runaway Jury’: Turner Broadcasting System Inc. acquired the exclusive first-run television premiere rights for the Twentieth Century Fox film “Runaway Jury.” The movie will appear on TNT and TBS Superstation beginning March 2006.