News Briefs: ‘Head Cases’ First Cancellation of Season

Sep 26, 2005  •  Post A Comment

“Head Cases” became the first cancellation of the 2005-06 prime-time season last Thursday, when Fox canceled it after only two episodes. The 9 p.m. Wednesday (ET) show, produced by 20th Century Fox Television, co-starred Chris O’Donnell and Adam Goldberg as mismatched lawyers forced to work together after they are released from a mental institution. “Head Cases” opened Sept. 14 with a 2.3 rating in the 18 to 49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research. It dropped to a 1.3 in the demo last week.

Programming VPs Goode, Brand to Leave Lifetime

A month after Lifetime hired Susanne Daniels as its new president of entertainment, two senior programming executives are leaving the network. Kelly Goode, senior VP of programming, is leaving after eight years at the network, and Bill Brand, senior VP of reality programming, also is leaving. Ms. Daniels is expected to bring in new executives to fill the posts. A Lifetime spokesman said the network does not comment on personnel matters, but added, “We thank Kelly and Bill for their service to Lifetime and wish them well.”

Leavitt Leaving ATAS Posts

After serving for three years as president and chief operating officer of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and its foundation, Todd Leavitt is stepping down from the organization. He will remain in his present capacity for the near future to help the academy transition his replacement, according to an announcement by ATAS Chairman and CEO Dick Askin and ATAS Foundation Chairman and CEO Steve Mosko. The announcement did not specify when a new president and COO will be named, but the academy “will develop a succession plan,” a spokesperson said. Mr. Leavitt told the academy’s board of governors he wishes to return to the commercial sector of the television industry and pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, ATAS said.

Discovery Networks Centralizes Production

Discovery Networks U.S. has centralized its program production operations under Clark Bunting, the company said last week. Instead of each of Discovery’s networks having its own production department, production teams will be organized by key content genres. Mr. Bunting, one of Discovery’s original employees, was named president of Discovery Networks U.S. production.

Verizon Signs Disney for Distribution of FiOS

Telephone giant Verizon Communications continued to rack up carriage agreements ahead of the official launch of its television service FiOS, inking a distribution agreement last week with The Walt Disney Co. The deal involves carrying 12 cable networks as well as granting Verizon retransmission consent for ABC’s owned-and-operated television stations. The cable channels include ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN, Toon Disney and SoapNet.

‘Nip/Tuck’ Premiere Sets FX Record

The season premiere of FX’s “Nip/Tuck” last Tuesday drew a 4.4 household rating and 5.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, making it the most-watched episode of any series in the network’s history, despite airing during a premiere week for the broadcast networks. “Nip/Tuck” attracted 3.7 million adults 18 to 49, beating shows on ABC, UPN and The WB. Ratings for the premiere of “Nip/Tuck” have increased in each of its three seasons. The special 90-minute episode was presented with limited commercial interruptions by Sony Pictures, which aired trailers for several of its films.

CNBC Chairman Thomas-Graham Departs

CNBC Chairman Pamela Thomas-Graham stepped down last week to join clothing company Liz Claiborne as group president, CNBC owner NBC Universal said last week. The company does not plan to replace Ms. Thomas-Graham, as the position was created specifically for her, an NBCU spokeswoman said. Ms Thomas-Graham’s departure comes after six years at NBC, most of it in top positions at CNBC.