Amazon Launches Download Service

Sep 11, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Amazon introduced its widely anticipated television and movie download service Thursday, posing a new threat to Apple’s iTunes, which pioneered the market for online delivery of TV shows last year. Amazon said the Amazon Unbox service includes thousands of TV shows, movies and other video from more than 30 partners. Users can download TV shows such as CBS’s “CSI” and “Numb3rs” and Fox’s “24” and “Prison Break,” as well as classics including all 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek.” Amazon has struck deals with A&E, Cartoon Network, Discovery Channel, FX, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, HGTV and Fine Living. TV series are priced at $1.99 per show.-DAISY WHITNEY

Appeals Court Stays Indecency Ruling

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday stayed a Federal Communications Commission ruling that four television broadcasts featured profanity violated decency standards and gave the agency two months to consider broadcasters’ rebuttals. The FCC had requested a delay after having second thoughts about one part of the procedure it followed in March in making an omnibus ruling on a number of indecency complaints intended to set guidelines on what is and isn’t allowed on TV. In the four cases the FCC ruled as “indecent” comments made on ABC’s “NYPD Blue,” CBS’s “The Early Show” and the 2002 and 2003 Billboard music awards shows on Fox, but while naming stations airing the shows, didn’t fine them. Normally the FCC asks the stations cited to respond before a fine is issued, but the FCC didn’t seek comments because there was not a fine. The stations said they weren’t provided due process.-IRA TEINOWITZ

MTV Orders `Talent Show’

MTV has ordered 20 episodes of a talent series for contestants who think they can dance, sing and act. The series, “Little Talent Show,” will premiere Sept. 18 and run Monday-Thursday at 6 p.m. with reruns on Friday. Each episode will start with seven performers of varying talent who will demonstrate their skills in three rounds. They will be judged by a rotating panel of celebrities. “`Little Talent Show’ combines all the elements and excitement from the other television talent shows, but takes it one step further by celebrating everyone-from the most talented to the most talent-challenged,” said Lois Curren, executive VP of programming for MTV.-JAMES HIBBERD

FX Picks Up Izzard Drama

FX has picked up British comedian Eddie Izzard’s new drama for 13 episodes. With a working title of “The Riches” (formerly “Low Life”), the series stars Mr. Izzard and Minnie Driver as the parents of con-artist family. When they find another family killed in a car accident, Mr. Izzard’s clan assumes their identities and settles down in the suburbs. The pilot order was announced in December. FX President and General Manager John Landgraf sent the first cut back for re-shoots to lighten the show’s tone. “The Riches” will be the first family drama for FX, a channel known for its dark anti-heroes. The series will debut in second quarter of 2007.-JAMES HIBBERD

O’Dell Re-Ups With `Access Hollywood’

Co-anchor Nancy O’Dell has signed a new long-term contract to remain with NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution’s syndicated newsmagazine “Access Hollywood.” Ms. O’Dell was part of the on-air team that originally launched “Access” 10 years ago and now is paired with Billy Bush as the show’s co-anchor team. She first joined the show when it launched in 1996 as weekend co-anchor and weekday correspondent. Ms. O’Dell was promoted to co-anchor in 1999. The announcement was made Thursday by “Access Hollywood” executive producer Rob Silverstein. “Access Hollywood” is produced by NBC and distributed by NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution.-CHRISTOPHER LISOTTA