News Briefs: Reilly’s Duties Broadened

Nov 21, 2005  •  Post A Comment

In what could be interpreted as a vote of confidence in embattled NBC Universal Entertainment President Kevin Reilly, his boss, Jeffrey Zucker, said last week that Mr. Reilly is being given additional responsibility for reality programming, specials and long-form programming on NBC. Those areas had been under the purview of Jeff Gaspin, president of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, digital content and cross-network strategy, who now is spending more of his time working on NBCU Television’s digital platforms. While NBC’s prime-time schedule under Mr. Reilly remains a trouble spot, Mr. Zucker said Mr. Reilly’s job is secure. He added that NBCU expects a turnaround to take up to three years.

ABC Sets Midseason Monday Schedule

ABC will replace “NFL Monday Night Football,” which is in its last season on the network, with a new comedy, a sophomore half-hour and a veteran reality franchise. Starting Jan. 9, ABC will run the debuting comedy “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” at 9 p.m. (ET), followed by the returning single-camera half-hour “Jake in Progress” at 9:30 p.m. At 10 p.m. ABC will bring back its dating reality series “The Bachelor.” The reality series “Wife Swap” will remain on Mondays at 8 p.m.

Samuels In at Paramount

Kathy Samuels, a senior producer for “Access Hollywood,” is joining Paramount Domestic Television as a senior VP of programming, a newly created position. Ms. Samuels will take over development responsibilities previously held by Kristin Peace, who recently joined TV Guide Channel. Ms. Samuels will also work on current series. She will report to Terry Wood, president of creative affairs and development for King World and Paramount Domestic Television.

Cisco to Buy Scientific-Atlanta

Computer networking giant Cisco Systems agreed Friday to acquire cable set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta for $6.9 billion in a deal that both companies said is an effort to capitalize on the convergence taking place among video, voice, data and mobile technologies. Cisco will pay $43 per share for Lawrenceville, Ga.-based Scientific-Atlanta. Scientific-Atlanta will become a unit of Cisco’s routing and service provider technology group.

NBCU to Offer Content Through File-Sharing

NBC Universal said last week it will begin offering Universal movies, including “Ray,” “The Motorcycle Diaries” and “Meet the Fockers,” and NBCU TV content such as “Jerry Springer: Uncensored” and “Blind Date” through Peer Impact, a peer-to-peer file-sharing service. Content will be made available for Peer Impact members to download and play back on their computers for a fee, which has yet to be set. NBCU and Peer Impact parent Wurld Media will split the revenue generated by the alliance, but NBCU declined to disclose financial terms of the deal.

Kalouria to Head MSLO TV Operations

NBC Entertainment Daytime Senior VP Sheraton Kalouria is taking over the television operations of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. The move will reunite Mr. Kalouria with MSLO President and CEO Susan Lyne, to whom he will report. Mr. Kalouria succeeds Heidi Diamond, who resigned as president of MSLO’s TV unit in early August.

Microsoft, CableLabs in PC Deal

Microsoft and CableLabs have inked a deal to make Microsoft’s Media Center PCs digital-cable-ready in time for next year’s holiday season. As part of the deal, Media Center PCs will allow consumers to watch cable programming, including high-definition channels, on the PC and devices networked to it. Such integration eliminates the need for a set-top box.