News Briefs: Rep. Upton Urges FCC to Eliminate Ownership Rule

Feb 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

House telecommunications subcommittee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., said last Thursday that he has urged the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate a rule that bars owners of daily newspapers from buying broadcast stations in their markets. In a speech sponsored by the Media Institute in Washington, Rep. Upton said that the regulation, originally intended to ensure that the public had access to diverse media sources, is no longer needed in an era when most enjoy access to multiple sources of information on TV and the Internet.

CBS Sets March 13 Premiere for ‘Christine’

CBS will premiere its midseason comedy “The New Adventures of Old Christine” Monday, March 13, at 9:30 p.m. (ET) and will move the current time-period holder “Courting Alex” and previous time-period holder “Out of Practice” to Wednesdays. After being benched to make room for “Alex,” “Practice” will return Wednesdays at 8 p.m. starting March 22. “Practice” will replace “Still Standing,” which will be completing this season’s run of original episodes. “Alex,” which also starts Wednesdays on March 22, will air at 8:30 p.m., replacing “Yes, Dear.”

NBC Shuffles Tuesday, Brings Back ‘Joey’

The former Thursday night comedy and “Friends” spinoff “Joey” will return to NBC’s schedule with original episodes starting Tuesday, March 28, at 8 p.m. (ET). “Joey” replaces the reality series “Fear Factor,” which is slated to return to the network’s schedule in the summer. Repeat episodes of “Joey” will air at 8:30 p.m. March 7, 14 and 21, with repeats of the hospital comedy “Scrubs” taking over the time period March 28. “Scrubs,” which has been running two original episodes in the 9 p.m. hour block on Tuesdays, will run only in the 9 p.m. half-hour to make room for the debuting midseason comedy “Teachers,” starting March 28.

Reality Game Show ‘Unan1mous’ for Fox

Fox is launching a reality game show, “Unan1mous,” in which nine strangers will be locked in a bunker until they unanimously vote on which one of them is worthy of a $1.5 million prize. The show will premiere Wednesday, March 22, at 9:30 p.m. (ET). The longer it takes the group to reach a unanimous decision, the less money there will be to win. If the contestants take too long, they will be left with nothing. Each of the contestants must convince the others to vote only for him or her by revealing personal facts and secrets or by lying. As the game progresses, contestants will be eliminated as potential winners of the cash prize but will continue to live in the bunker and to vote. “Unan1mous” is produced by 3 Ball Productions.

Coleman, Davis Named NATPE Co-Chairs

Emerson Coleman, VP of programming for Hearst-Argyle Television, and Stephen Davis, president of mobile and online media for InfoSpace, have been elected by the National Association of Television Program Executives board of directors as co-chairmen of NATPE. Mr. Coleman and Mr. Davis, who is serving his third year as NATPE co-chair, will oversee NATPE’s Executive Committee, which is responsible for supervising the preparation of the association’s annual budget, advising NATPE’s board of directors and making recommendations on all of the organization’s business. Mr. Coleman replaces John Weiser, president of distribution for Sony Pictures Television, who served as a co-chair for two years.

EchoStar President Neuman Resigns

Michael Neuman has stepped down as president and chief operating officer of EchoStar Communications after eight months on the job, the satellite company said last Tuesday in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. No reason was given for Mr. Neuman’s resignation. He had been with EchoStar since June 2005, filling a position that had been vacant for more than a year following the retirement of Michael Dugan in April 2004 for personal reasons. Mr. Dugan remained a board member and last November was named EchoStar’s chief technical officer. Mr. Neuman’s duties will be split between Vice Chairman Carl Vogel and Mr. Dugan.