News Briefs: Bush to Nominate McDowell to FCC

Feb 6, 2006  •  Post A Comment

President Bush on Friday announced his intention to nominate Robert McDowell to a Republican vacancy at the Federal Communications Commission. Mr. McDowell is currently senior VP and assistant general counsel for the trade group CompTel. If confirmed as the FCC’s fifth commissioner, Mr. McDowell will give FCC Chairman Kevin Martin a Republican majority at the agency. Mr. McDowell, who was counsel to the Bush-Cheney Florida recount team in 2000, has been endorsed by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee.

NBC Taps Pitts to Exec Produce ‘Weekend Today’

Lynn Pitts will become executive producer of the weekend editions of “Today,” NBC News President Steve Capus announced last Thursday, the same day CBS News announced Ms. Pitts’ husband, Byron, was elevated to national correspondent at that network. Ms. Pitts’ assignment, which fills the hole left when Alex Wallace was promoted to NBC News VP in January, takes effect Feb. 8. Ms. Pitts previously worked for 23 years at CBS.

Warner Bros. Promotes Rowe

Scott Rowe has been promoted to senior VP of corporate communications for Warner Bros. Entertainment. Mr. Rowe had been VP of corporate communications since 1999. He first came to Warner Bros. as manager of publicity for Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution in 1994.

NBC Plans Online Music Series

This summer NBC will premiere an online-only series for NBC.com in which bands and recording artists will compete for a record deal with a veteran music producer. In “StarTomorrow,” an interactive music competition, viewers will select the band or artist that wins a recording contract with Casablanca Records executive Tommy Mottola. Unlike Fox’s broadcast series “American Idol,” only viewers will play a role in selecting the winner to the “StarTomorrow” competition. The series will be produced by The Mottola Co., 25/7 Productions and 3 Ball Productions.

ABC Announces Premieres, Return of ‘Commander’

ABC has set premiere dates for two new reality series and two debuting dramas as well as given a firm date for the return of the presidential drama “Commander in Chief.” ABC previously announced that “Commander,” which has been declining in the ratings, will be off for the month of March to make room for the new comedy “Sons & Daughters.” But the drama will return to Tuesdays at 9 p.m. (ET) starting April 18. On Monday, March 6, reality series “Supernanny” returns at 9 p.m. followed by the premiere of medical reality series “Miracle Workers” at 10 p.m., replacing “The Bachelor,” which will have completed its latest run. Getting a “Desperate Housewives” sendoff, the new relationship drama “What About Brian” will premiere in the “Grey’s Anatomy” 10 p.m. time period Sunday, April 2, before moving to its regular time period Monday, April 3, at 10 p.m., replacing “Miracle Workers.” On Thursday, March 18, the Simon Cowell-produced “American Inventor” debuts with a two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. before settling into its 9 p.m. time period March 23. To make room for the debuting crime drama “The Evidence” on Wednesdays at 10 p.m., the sci-fi drama “Invasion” will be benched starting March 22, with a return sometime in April.

ABC Wins Four SAG Awards

ABC won four Screen Actors Guild awards Jan. 29, including wins for outstanding performance by an ensemble for both comedy and drama series. The casts of the drama “Lost” and the one-hour comedy “Desperate Housewives” took home ensemble nods. “Housewives'” Felicity Huffman also won an award for female actor in a comedy series for her role as Lynette Scavo. Sandra Oh won the network’s fourth SAG Award-best female actor in a drama series-for her work on “Grey’s Anatomy.” HBO took home two awards, both in the TV movie or miniseries category, for Paul Newman’s work in “Empire Falls” and for S. Epatha Merkerson’s performance in “Lackawanna Blues.” Kiefer Sutherland won for best male actor in a drama series for Fox’s “24,” while Sean Hayes won for best male actor in a comedy series for NBC’s “Will & Grace.”