News Briefs: NBCU Sells Mullally Strip in Top Markets

Oct 24, 2005  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal has cleared its fall 2006 talk strip hosted by Emmy-winning “Will & Grace” star Megan Mullally to the NBC owned-and-operated stations in the top three markets. The daytime talk strip has been cleared by WNBC-TV in New York, KNBC-TV in Los Angeles and WMAQ-TV in Chicago. The terms for the daytime strip follow a standard one-hour, five days a week cash-plus-barter deal for stations, said Barry Wallach, president of NBC Universal Domestic Television. WNBC-TV is expected to have a one-hour scheduling hole to fill in fall 2006, when the station stops running Paramount’s courtroom strip “Judge Judy.” A creative team for the show has yet to be named, but Mr. Wallach said the strip will be a classic “daytime talk variety program with Megan’s unique personality put to it.”

Murdoch Defends ‘Poison Pill’ Strategy

News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch said Friday that he and the News Corp. board had shareholders in mind when they extended by two years the company’s poison pill provision, saying the move was designed to prevent buyers from snapping up shares without paying a premium for them. “This was to protect the small shareholder from being tricked into giving up control of the company at a low price,” said Mr. Murdoch, speaking at the company’s annual shareholders meeting in New York. The poison pill issue has become a bone of contention in some quarters of News Corp.’s shareholder base, and it is one element in the closely watched negotiations that are taking place between Mr. Murdoch and Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, who a year ago bought up enough shares in News Corp. to boost Liberty’s stake to 18 percent.

Spike Lands All Six ‘Star Wars’ Films

Spike TV has acquired the rights to the six “Star Wars” movies in a package valued at an estimated $65 million to $70 million, the network announced last week. In April 2008, Spike will have the advertiser-supported television premiere of the final film in the George Lucas saga, “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith.” Two of the other films-“Attack of the Clones” and “The Phantom Menace”-will get their basic cable premieres on Spike. Those films have already appeared on Fox.

Trio Takes Over as ‘Nightline’ Anchors

ABC News made it official last week, confirming that Martin Bashir, Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran will begin new roles Nov. 28 as co-anchors of “Nightline.” Ms. McFadden and Mr. Bashir will remain based in New York, where “Nightline” will originate live from ABC News’ Times Square studios. The two will continue their other duties, Ms. McFadden as anchor and reporter for “Primetime” on Thursdays and Mr. Bashir as reporter for “20/20” on Fridays. Mr. Moran will continue as chief White House correspondent until he is replaced.

Free CBS Audio Downloads on iTunes

CBS will provide free audio downloads of selected CBS programs on the iTunes Music Store. The podcasts include news, entertainment and sports programming on television, radio and CBS Digital Media sites (CBS.com, CBSNews.com, UPN.com and CBSSportsLine.com). The content is being made available via the iTunes Podcast Directory and on CBS Digital Media sites, and will be showcased in customized iTunes pages promoting the full offering of CBS podcasts for each CBS Digital Media property.

Univision Taps Kenny for Network Sales

Judy Kenny has been named executive VP in charge of day-to-day network sales for Univision. She previously served for eight years as senior VP and New York manager for Univision, TeleFutura and Galavision after serving one year as VP of Univision network sales for New York. Prior to joining Univision, Ms. Kenny spent eight years at the ABC Television Network selling news, late night, early morning, network sports and prime-time television.