News Briefs: Fox Picks Up Two Series for 2006-07

May 1, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Fox made two series pickups last week, giving the green light to Sony’s marriage comedy “‘Til Death” and 20th Century Fox TV’s political thriller drama “Vanished.” Both shows have been given 13-episode commitments for the 2006-07 season. “‘Til Death,” created by Josh Goldsmith and Cathy Yuspa, stars Joely Fisher, Brad Garrett, Kat Foster and Eddie Kaye Thomas in a comedy that profiles two couples-one recently married, the other long-term-at different stages in their respective marriages. “Vanished” was created by Josh Berman and follows a political conspiracy that surrounds the mysterious disappearance of a U.S. senator’s wife. Ming-Na, Gale Harold, Chris Egan and Rebecca Gayheart star.

NBC Renews Three Dramas

NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly announced 2006-07 season pickups last Friday for three dramas: “Medium,” “Crossing Jordan” and “Las Vegas.” The announcement came a day after Mr. Reilly said he was renewing all three “Law & Order” dramas for 2006-07.

House Committee Passes Franchising Bill

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted 42-12 last week to approve legislation that will make it easier for telephone companies to launch pay TV services. Before the vote, the committee rejected several proposed amendments by Democrats, including one aimed at beefing up provisions that are intended to discourage cable TV operators and phone companies from using their power over their broadband networks to discriminate among Internet content providers. The bill would essentially clear the way for phone companies to roll out video services without having to meet the local franchising obligations that apply to incumbent cable TV operators. But under the bill, cable TV operators that face wireline competition could also switch to the same national franchising process the bill creates for phone companies. In a statement, The National Cable & Telecommunications Association said the bill represented “continued progress” but that the NCTA still had significant concerns about some provisions. But phone industry representatives praised the measure.

Four LIN Stations Sign With MyNetworkTV

MyNetworkTV has signed affiliation agreements with four LIN TV-owned stations in key markets, raising clearances for the network stations to 109 markets representing 68 percent of the U.S. TV universe. The new LIN affiliates include current UPN affiliates WNDY-TV in Indianapolis (the 25th-largest market in the country); WCTX-TV in Hartford and New Haven, Conn. (28); and cable-only WXSP in Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich. (39); and WB-affiliated KNVA-TV in Austin, Texas (53). The network will launch Sept. 5.

The CW Signs More Affiliates

The CW announced last Tuesday that it has signed exclusive long-term affiliation agreements with stations representing 1.96 percent of total U.S. TV households, bringing The CW’s national coverage to more than 85 percent of the country. The newly signed affiliates include UPN affiliate WGSA-TV in Savannah, Ga.; WB affiliate WTLH-TV in Tallahassee, Fla.; KSBY-TV in Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-San Luis Obispo, Calif., the digital affiliate of the market’s NBC station; and KAZW-TV in Yakima-Pasco-Richland-Kennewick, Wash., the DT station for the market’s Azteca affiliate. The latest round of deals includes securing four Montana stations owned by Cordillera Communications that are all DT stations of the CBS affiliates in their respective markets and two Smith Media stations that are DT stations of ABC affiliates in Juneau and Utica.

Guilds Make Mobile Deals for ‘Lost’

The Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America and Directors Guild of America have reached a precedent-setting deal with Touchstone Television to expand their contracts to cover mobile-phone episodes for the hit ABC series “Lost.” The agreements establish groundwork for future deals covering mobile content and new technology.