News Briefs: Celebrities Set for Next Round of ‘Stars’

Dec 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

ABC has released the names of the celebrities participating in the second installment of the dance reality series “Dancing With the Stars”: actresses Tia Carrere and Lisa Rinna, journalist Giselle Fernandez, actor and former talk show host George Hamilton, WWE wrestler Stacy Kiebler, 98 Degrees band member Drew Lachey, ESPN correspondent Kenny Mayne, Oscar winner Tatum O’Neal, three-time Super Bowl standout Jerry Rice and rap performer Romeo. Each celebrity will be paired with a professional ballroom dancer and judged by a panel of experts. In a change from the summer installment, ABC is adding a half-hour results show that will be televised the following evening, with one couple eliminated each week. “Stars” returns Thursday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. (ET) with a two-hour premiere, and the results show debuts Jan. 6 at 8 p.m.

Report Slams Marketing of Junk Food to Kids

If broadcasters and cable TV operators don’t voluntarily agree to put a damper on the marketing of junk food and high-calorie beverages on children’s TV programming, Congress should approve legislation forcing the industry to clean up its act. That was a key conclusion in a report released last week by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. According to the report, the industry spends $10 billion a year to market food and beverages to children, with most of the emphasis on “high-calorie, low-nutrient products.” The institute recommended that the industry take several steps, including agreeing to use popular TV characters to promote only healthy foods. In addition, the group recommended that the industry work with watchdog groups to develop an industrywide rating system to “convey the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in a consistent and effective fashion.”

Network Ad Spending Down Slightly

Ad spending on network television totaled $16.2 billion for the first three quarters of 2005, down 1.9 percent from the same time period last year, TNS Media Intelligence reported last week. Spending on cable TV was up 12. 2 percent to $11.5 billion; syndication spending was up 6.2 percent to $3 billion; and spot TV was down 8.7 percent to $11.2 billion, according to TNS.

CBS, Verizon in Cellphone Content Deal

“Late Show With David Letterman,” “CSI,” “Survivor” and CBS News broadcasts are joining the movement toward cellphones under a deal announced Wednesday by CBS and Verizon Wireless’ V Cast service. Rolling out this month is a broad array of programming from CBS, including features such as “The Early Show,” highlights from “Late Show” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson,” prime-time preview clips, “making-of” segments and specially produced clips from sister studio Paramount’s “Entertainment Tonight.”

Twentieth’s ‘Cristina’s Court’ a Firm Go

Twentieth Television has given a firm go to its syndicated judge strip “Cristina’s Court” for a fall 2006 launch. The show will be hosted by Cristina Perez, former host of Telemundo’s court show “La Corte de Familia.” “Cristina’s Court” has been sold to Twentieth’s sister company Fox Television Stations group as well as to multiple major-market Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, representing 55 percent of the United States.

New Strips Up for Thanksgiving Week

All three of the nationally rated first-season strips were up for the third full week of November sweeps, with Twentieth Television’s “Judge Alex” again outpacing the other debuting first-run shows in households. For the week ended Nov. 27, the syndicated courtroom strip “Alex” scored a 2.4 national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. Besides hitting a series high in households, “Alex” was up 4 percent over the previous week. Warner Bros.’ “The Tyra Banks Show” and NBC Universal’s “Martha” tied for the week when both shows hit a 1.9. “Martha” was up 6 percent for the week, while “Tyra” grew 12 percent to hit a series high. Weekly ratings for all three strips were based on a four-day average, with Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day) taken out of the average due to pre-emptions.