News Briefs: Viacom Requests Review of FCC Kids TV Rules

Oct 10, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Following through on network threats to fight the Federal Communications Commission’s new children’s TV rules, Viacom last Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington to review the agency’s regulations. The owners of the Big 3 TV networks previously warned the FCC that they would sue to overturn the rules unless the agency eases them dramatically (TelevisionWeek, Oct. 3). The networks are particularly concerned that the new agency regulations, slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2006, will put severe restrictions on their ability to attract children to their Web sites, where FCC regulations-including one prohibiting selling or pitching by children’s TV program hosts-don’t currently apply.

2006 National Show Moves to Atlanta

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association has pulled its 2006 National Show out of Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans and is moving it to Atlanta, the organization announced last week. The NCTA’s 55th annual get-together is now set to take place April 9-11 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The NCTA said it has committed to hold the 2008 National Show in New Orleans. The 2007 event is slated for Las Vegas.

Dick Wolf Dramas in Play

NBC has ordered 13 episodes of a new legal drama series from prolific “Law & Order” producer Dick Wolf for midseason 2005-06, and Court TV has picked up the off-network rights to Mr. Wolf’s canceled drama series “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.” The new one-hour series, “Conviction,” is not part of the “Law & Order” franchise. NBC and sister studio NBC Universal Television Studio, which is producing “Conviction” with Wolf Films, described the show as a “character-oriented story focusing on young assistant district attorneys in New York who are confronted with tough, high-profile cases that challenge their limited experience.” Casting has not been finalized for the series, which will be shot on the sets used last season for “Trial by Jury.” Court TV’s “Trial” acquisition includes one episode that has never aired. Court TV plans to televise “Trial” on Saturdays beginning in December in a two-hour 7 p.m. block.

HBO Names Moloshok to Head Media Ventures

HBO has named Jim Moloshok to the newly created position of president of media ventures, the company announced last week. Mr. Moloshok will be responsible for exploring new opportunities for HBO, focusing on the areas where content and technology intersect. Mr. Moloshok previously was senior VP of entertainment and content relationships for Yahoo! Mr. Moloshok will report to Carmi Zlotnik, executive VP of original programming, business development and new media.

King World Makes Ray Deal Official

Marking the first new syndicated series to come out of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions since “Dr. Phil,” author and Food Network personality Rachael Ray has finalized a deal to star in a New York-based talk strip to be distributed by King World Productions and produced by King World in association with Harpo. The move was expected (TelevisionWeek, Sept. 19). Ms. Ray will continue to appear on Food Network, where she hosts a number of cooking and travel shows. The weekday one-hour strip will be available for fall 2006.

Mullen Resigns From Tribune Co.

Tribune Co. announced Friday that Pat Mullen, president of its broadcast group, has resigned. A successor will be named later, the company said. Mr. Mullen, 50, was appointed president of Tribune Broadcasting in 2003. In the interim, Tribune Broadcasting Group VPs John Reardon and John Vitanovec are expected to report directly to Tribune Co. Chairman and CEO (and former Tribune Broadcasting President) Dennis FitzSimons. Mr. Mullen is extremely well liked in the industry but sources said he appeared to be a casualty of performance challenges confronting Tribune Co. overall and the economic challenges confronting the broadcasting business in particular.