News Briefs: Academy Taps Conan O’Brien to Host Emmys

May 22, 2006  •  Post A Comment

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has selected Conan O’Brien to host this year’s Primetime Emmy Awards on NBC. Mr. O’Brien hosted the event four years ago, the last time NBC aired the show. Ken Ehrlich will return to executive produce the show for a third time and will be joined by Jeff Ross, who executive produces “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” The 58th Annual Emmy Awards will be held earlier than usual, Aug. 27, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

Writers Want Say in Product Integration

In the middle of the network upfront presentations last week in New York, the Writers Guild of America East jumped into the issue of how products are integrated into television scripts, saying writers, producers and showrunners need to have a say in how those advertising deals are struck-and, potentially, a piece of the action. Producers of hit shows including “Desperate Housewives,” “Law & Order: SVU” and “ER” said they want to ensure their storytelling isn’t marred by inappropriate product placement. That will help keep audiences tuning in and receiving more exposure to advertisers’ goods, the producers said at a press conference. Concerns over viewers’ using digital video recorders to skip commercials had advertisers and networks striking product integration deals during the upfront, and writers and actors aren’t getting a voice in those talks, said Patric Verrone, president of WGA West. “We believe this is not acceptable,” Mr. Verrone said. The writers are seeking a dialogue with the networks and studios on the issue, he said.

CW Nails Down Affil Pacts in Top 50 Markets

The CW announced 11 more affiliation deals last week, including four with Clear Channel Television, that raise its clearances to more than 90 percent of the TV homes in the country, including all of the top 50 TV markets. The newly signed affiliates include WLYH-TV, the Clear Channel-operated UPN affiliate in Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa. (the 41st-largest TV market in the country); and Clear Channel-owned UPN affiliate WLMT-TV in Memphis, Tenn. (44); digital WB affiliate KMTR in Eugene, Ore. (121); and digital WB affiliate WWTI-TV in Watertown, N.Y.(178). Also signed up were a Schurz Communications-owned combo of two low-power stations and one digital channel simulcasting and operated by NBC-affiliated KYTV-TV as one CW affiliate with the call letters KCZ in Springfield, Mo. (77); Cox-owned cable-only WB affiliate WBMN in Macon, Ga. (20); and a digital channel operated by Diversified Communications-owned CBS affiliate WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine (151).

MTV Likes Lopez’s ‘Moves’

MTV has ordered “Moves,” a music reality series executive produced by Jennifer Lopez, who will also appear in cameos throughout the season. The eight-episode series, which is scheduled to premiere next winter, will follow six dancers as they struggle to achieve their dreams in the world of competitive dance.

George Crile, CBS News Producer, Dead at 61

George Crile III, an award-winning news producer and best-selling author, died May 15 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 61 and had been diagnosed in November 2005. Mr. Crile, the husband of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia President Susan Lyne, worked for more than a quarter-century for CBS News, first for the “CBS Reports” documentary unit starting in 1976. In 1986 he moved to “60 Minutes” as a producer. One of Mr. Crile’s most famous reports was “The Uncounted Enemy: A Vietnam Deception,” which was broadcast on CBS Reports in 1982 and spawned a three-year legal battle. Vietnam commander Gen. William Westmoreland sued over the story, which broke news on manipulation of enemy troop strength reports by the military. The suit was dropped after CBS issued a statement saying it never intended to impugn Gen. Westmoreland’s patriotism. Gen. Westmoreland claimed it was an apology, which CBS vehemently denied. Donations in Mr. Crile’s memory can be made to The George Crile III Fund at the Cleveland Clinic, P.O. Box 931517, Cleveland, Ohio 44101.