News Briefs: Michaels to Join ‘Sunday Night Football’

Feb 13, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Al Michaels, as expected, will join NBC Universal Sports as play-by-play announcer on “NBC’s Sunday Night NFL Football,” the network confirmed last week. In return for ESPN’s letting Mr. Michaels out of his contract, NBC agreed to sell ESPN the cable rights to telecast the Friday night rounds of the next four Ryder Cup matches for $12 million. In addition, NBC agreed to a broader exchange of footage that will allow ESPN to air more highlights from The Olympics, Notre Dame football and the Kentucky Derby. ESPN also obtained for parent The Walt Disney Co. the rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, an early cartoon character created by Walt Disney that belonged to Universal Pictures. ESPN said NBC also agreed to air a promo for ESPN’s “MNF” during its Sunday night football telecasts. (NBC said that was part of its rights agreement with the NFL.)

CBS to Premiere ‘The Unit’ in March

CBS will premiere its new action drama “The Unit” Tuesday, March 7, at 9 p.m. (ET). To make room for the new show, the ninth installment of the reality series “The Amazing Race” will move to 10 p.m. “Unit” follows a covert team of special forces operatives that takes on undercover missions around the globe while their wives protect their husbands’ secrets back at home. The drama is a 20th Century Fox Television production. Screenwriter and playwright David Mamet and Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”) are executive producing.

Nielsen, Comcast to Test VOD System

Nielsen Entertainment and Comcast said Wednesday they have agreed to conduct a trial of Nielsen’s On Demand service, which measures and reports aggregate, anonymous video-on-demand usage data. The companies expect the test to begin in the first quarter. Ad buyers have cited the difficulty in getting VOD usage data as hindering growth in VOD advertising.

CBS Leads in Daytime Emmy Nods

The big leader in Daytime Emmy nominations announced Wednesday is CBS, with a total of 59, 44 of them coming from the network’s “The Young and the Restless” (18), “Guiding Light” (14) and “As the World Turns” (12). Topping the nominations for talk shows are syndie “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” with 11 nods and ABC’s “The View” with 10 nominations. The 33rd Annual Daytime Emmy Awards winners will be announced during a live, three-hour broadcast from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Friday, April 28, starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC. A complete list of nominees can be found at emmyonline.tv.

CBS Shelves ‘Love Monkey’

CBS is putting its new Tuesday midseason drama “Love Monkey” on indefinite hiatus after only three airings. “Monkey,” which stars Thomas Cavanaugh as a music producer who starts his own New York-based record label, will be pre-empted by a repeat of “NCIS” on Feb. 14 and a rerun of “CSI” on Feb. 21. The five remaining episodes of “Monkey’s” initial order have not been rescheduled.

Bush Requests CPB Budget Cuts

Telling public broadcasters to tighten their belts, President Bush announced last week that he wants to slash the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s federal appropriation for fiscal 2007 from $400 million to $346.5 million. In addition, the president’s federal budget proposes to zero out an additional $65 million that public broadcasters had requested to help pay for digital TV conversion and the costs of upgrading public broadcasting’s satellite interconnection system.

Sony Clears ‘Beakman’ in 65 Percent of U.S.

Sony Pictures Television has cleared its live-action children’s series “Beakman’s World” in 65 percent of the country, including the Fox owned-and-operated stations, for a fall syndication run.