News Briefs: Martin Wants Review of Media Ownership Rules

Jan 23, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin last Friday said he hopes to launch a review of the agency’s media ownership rules this year-if he can forge a consensus among the commissioners on how to proceed. During an impromptu briefing with reporters, Mr. Martin said he tried to get the ball rolling against the rules last year but was unable to get a consensus among the two Republican and two Democratic commissioners at the agency on how to proceed. It’s widely anticipated that a third Republican commissioner will be appointed to the agency this year, giving Mr. Martin the vote he needs to command an agency majority.

‘Daniel’ Pre-Empted in Additional Market

NBC’s “The Book of Daniel” has taken another pre-emptive hit from a Nexstar Broadcasting-owned affiliate refusing to carry the midseason series about a pill-popping priest (Aidan Quinn) whose Episcopal flock includes a surfeit of black sheep. The show, which debuted Jan. 6, has only two episodes remaining. “Daniel” will be pre-empted on KNWA-TV and KFTA-TV, which are based in Fayetteville, Ark., and operate together to serve the northwest part of the state. Blake Russell, the VP and general manager of the stations, posted a statement on the KNWA/KFTA Web site that said the decision to stop carrying the series was made “after viewing the latest episode and continued passionate feedback from our community.” Equity Broadcasting-owned UPN affiliate KFDF-TV will pick up the remaining three installments of “Daniel” and carry it on Friday nights in the market, an NBC spokeswoman said. The pre-emption in Arkansas means that a total of eight NBC affiliates, four of them owned by Nexstar, are not carrying “Daniel” and that 2.41 percent of the U.S. TV universe will be unable to see the series.

CBS Corp. Rebrands Paramount Television

CBS Corp. has officially rebranded Paramount Television, creating CBS Paramount Television to oversee television production, distribution and syndication for the company. The CBS Paramount Television division is made up of CBS Paramount Network Television, CBS Paramount Domestic Television and CBS Paramount International Television, as well as syndication distribution company King World Productions.

NBCU Agrees to Buy Longmont’s KDEN-TV in Denver

NBC Universal last week said it has agreed to purchase Denver station KDEN-TV from Longmont Channel 25 and Longmont Broadcasting, giving NBCU Television Stations Group its 17th Spanish-language station. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the completion of the KDEN acquisition, Telemundo will reach 100 percent of the Hispanic households in the Denver market, in which NBCU has operated low-power Telemundo stations KMAS-TV and KSBS-TV.

Amazon.com Sets Maher Series

Amazon.com said Thursday it plans to launch an original weekly series, “Amazon Fishbowl With Bill Maher.” The show will premiere June 1 and appear on the online bookseller’s Web page live on Thursday nights. The program is sponsored by UPS and will feature authors, actors and musicians whose work is available for sale on Amazon.com. A preview of the show, featuring Rob Thomas and Stephen King as guests, will appear on the site Tuesday.

‘Masterminds’ a Firm Go for Fall 2006

New Line Television has cleared the Court TV series “Masterminds” for a weekend syndication run in more than 60 percent of the country, including 18 of the top 20 markets, giving the show a firm go for fall 2006. Clearances include 10 Fox-owned stations in the top markets, including WNYW/WWOR-TV in New York, WFLD/WPWR-TV in Chicago, WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, WFXT-TV in Boston and Dallas’ KDFW/KDFI-TV. Cox Television has also cleared “Masterminds” on WSB-TV in Atlanta, WFTV/WRDQ-TV in Orlando, Fla., and WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh. In addition, the WB 100+ Station Group has cleared the series.