Friday, April 30th, 2004





Good morning. It’s Friday, April 30, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing.

The Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ABC affiliates will not air tonight’s special Nightline wherein Ted Koppel will read off the names of those killed in action in Iraq.  The group posted a statement on its website which in part reads:

Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq. [SBG’s emphasis]
There is no organization that holds the members of our military and those soldiers who have sacrificed their lives in service of our country in higher regard than Sinclair Broadcast Group. While Sinclair would support an honest effort to honor the memory of these brave soldiers, we do not believe that is what “Nightline” is doing. Rather, Mr. Koppel and “Nightline” are hiding behind this so-called tribute in an effort to highlight only one aspect of the war effort and in doing so to influence public opinion against the military action in Iraq. Based on published reports, we are aware of the spouse of one soldier who died in Iraq who opposes the reading of her husband’s name to oppose our military action. We suspect she is not alone in this viewpoint. As a result, we have decided to preempt the broadcast of “Nightline’ this Friday on each of our stations which air ABC programming.”  – statement on the Sinclair website.

The Sinclair preemption of Nightline will effect seven markets – St. Louis, Columbus, Springfield MA, Pensacola, Winston-Salem, Charleston WV, Asheville. ABC issued its own statement which read in part that tonight’s broadcast is an “an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country.”  And in an interview with Poynteronline, Koppel said, “Just look at these people. Look at their names. And look at their ages. Consider what they’ve done for you.”  As a program note – ABC will extend tonight’s broadcast from 30m to 40m to include all 600+ names of Americans killed in Iraq, be it KIA or otherwise.

Do you remember the name Uri Geller?  He used to bend spoons on the Mike Douglas show, among other places and other seemingly unbendable things.  Well, he has written a book called Nobody’s Baby and it’s about a fictional reality show wherein the couples vye for the adoption rights to a newborn baby.  As such, he says he will attempt to take legal action to stop ABC from airing its scheduled episode of 20/20 tonight which is about a real woman in the difficult position of trying to decide which one of five families she wants to adopt her baby.  (Open adoptions are done this way. Have you been watching Friends?  Same idea – simplistically presented, but same idea.)  Unfortunately earlier this week their was a promo for tonight’s 20/20 Be My Baby piece wherein the woman’s decision was likened to a reality show.  Since then, the promotion has been pulled and ABC has issued a formal apology.  Getting back to Geller – not Monica, Uri.  His book has not been published except by chapters on the internet.  He has also applied to the US Patent and Trademark office in an effort to prevent any television producer or network from producing a reality show with this theme and vows he will speak to his lawyers regarding the 20/20 piece as he ‘owns the idea.’  His patent is pending.

The Network Upfront Discussion Group (NUDG) met with broadcast and cable network representatives yesterday in an effort to make some changes in the current upfront model – from timing to pricing.  It was anticipated the agency and advertiser reps would make a big play for cutting price increases, given the amount of noise from these two sectors this year (just like every year, not that there’s anything wrong with that).  And yet, the closed-door session’s focus remained primarily on the manner in which the upfront is conducted (traditionally a figurative whistle is blown, and they all negotiate and deal well into the night for as many days as it takes until the job is done), and when it is conducted.  According to Bob Liodice, Pres of Assoc. of National Advertisers, pricing apparently could not be discussed due to anti-trust concerns. The agency/advertisers are looking for all to agree on an end-of-business time when all negotiations would stop, resuming in the morning; and raised the issue of changing the timing on the process from spring to a timeframe that better fits with the agency/advertisers budgeting process. At the end of the day, no definitive decisions were made or agreed upon, and no follow up meeting was scheduled.

MTV is teaming up with producer Bruce Nash (Nash Entertainment – For Love or Money, TBS’s new Outback Jack, among numerous others) for a new reality show called Wanna Come Inside?  According to Variety, MTV has ordered up 20 eps, and the show debuts on July 12.  The show has two studly types, who will each be assigned a not-so-studly guy who could clearly use some input, and then the two newly madeover guys are sent out on blind dates. At the end of the date, the studly guy who’s madeover guy is asked by his date if he’d like to come inside, wins.  Elsewhere at MTV, another new series, a game show, this one from FremantleMedia called Your Face or Mine where the players try to predict what others will think of their appearance. Your Face or Mine kicks off on June 14. 

Univision will debut a new primetime drama series on Tuesday, May 4 at 10p called Al Filo de la Ley (At the Edge of the Law) (Plural Entertainment/Grupo Prisa).  The show is set in a lawfirm that handles primarily the toughest immigration, labor, discrimination and civil and criminal cases, many stories ‘ripped from the headlines’.  Jorge Aravena stars in the ensemble series along with Natalia Ramirez and Ximena Rubio.

Tonight’s Season Finales:
WB – Run of the House at 9:30 pm
ABC – The Big House at 8:30 pm

PAX TV is launching a new game show series on May 17 at 8pm called On the Cover.  Three contestants battle wits over pop culture factoids and photographic images from the covers of many of today’s most popular magazines, CDs and DVDs, trying to guess who is On the Cover.  The 30m show will air weeknights Mon-Thu.

Soapography is a new series slated for SOAPnet – a kind of biography series of soap stars. According to Hollywood Reporter, the show is scheduled to premiere in June, airing in early fringe on the weekends. SOAPnet is currently available in 37 million homes.

24/7 cable network Reality Central is getting into the search for interns kick.  Candidates will participate from their hometown or college, completing various assigned tasks.  The winner will receive a trip to LA to meet the folks at Reality Central, and if the winner is a graduating senior, will also be offered an entry level job in the Reality Central Marketing or Production depts.  To apply, check the Reality Central website at Deadline is May 6.

The Howard Dean Show?  Could be.  According to Variety, the former presidential candidate along with Larry Lyttle who would act as exec prod, along with Gerald Rafshoon, is talking with the folks at Paramount this week.  Lyttle says not to look for another talk show on politics, but rather Dean is “a little bit of Howard Beale, a little Dr. Phil and a little Donahue all rolled into one.”  

Lifetime has added a new cast member to is drama series Missing – Mark Consuelos (former All My Children star and husband of Kelly Ripa) will play an FBI agent. The series has also added Vivica A. Fox to the lineup this season.  The new and second season of this show is set to debut in July.

EchoStar and Turner have reached an ‘agreement in principle’ which will cover Echostar’s carriage of CNN and Cartoon Network.  You’ll recall these two appeared to be destined to replay the Viacom/Echostar scene from a couple of months ago. And just in the nick of time – the Turner carriage deal (given an extension from the end of 2003) would have expired tonight at midnight.

Do you remember Bill Clinton’s first appearance on MTV?  MTV has continued its tradition as the voice of the new/next generation’s political views, and will launch its first PRElection, a collaboration between MTV, Rock the Vote, New Voters Project, and Cingular Wireless.  The project is part of the Choose or Lose: 20 Million Loud campaign, which hopes to motivate 20 million 18-30 year olds to take an active role and vote in November’s election.  PRElection was approved by the Federal Election Commission this month.  Registration is May 3 through September 20, and prizes can be won online.  The national online vote will be held September 20 through October 1 on Cingular Wireless customers can vote via text messaging.  Choose or Lose will incorporate audience discussions, issue updates, surveys/polls and possibly presidential candidate online remarks into its campaign.

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of April 12-18, 2004 ranked by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (King World)                 8.6 AA  
Jeopardy (King World)                   7.1 AA
Oprah (King World)                      6.9 AA / 7.0 GAA
Seinfeld (Sony)                         6.0 AA / 7.1 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                  5.6 AA / 6.6 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       5.2 AA / 5.3 GAA
Dr. Phil (King World)                   5.1 AA / 5.2 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    5.1 AA / 5.7 GAA
Judge Judy (Paramount)          4.9 AA / 7.3 GAA
Millionaire (BVT)                       3.7 AA / 3.9 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of April 12-18, 2004 ranked by A18-49
Seinfeld (Sony)                         3.9 AA / 4.7 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                  3.8 AA / 4.4 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    2.7 AA / 3.0 GAA
Oprah (King World)                      2.7 AA / 2.7 GAA
That 70’s Show (Carsey-Werner)  2.4 AA / 2.9 GAA
Wheel of Fortune (King World)           2.4 AA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       2.4 AA / 2.4 GAA
Will & Grace (Warner Bros.)             2.0 AA / 2.3 GAA
Jeopardy (King World)                   1.9 AA
Judge Judy (Paramount)          1.9 AA / 2.8 GAA
King of the Hill (20th)                 1.8 AA / 2.0 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research

Top 5 Broadcast Spanish Language Primetime Programs for the week of April 19-25, 2004
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Tue 8p)            21.7 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Wed 8p)            21.2 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Bajo La Misma Piel (Tue 9p)             20.8 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Mon 8p)            20.0 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Bajo La Misma Piel (Wed 9p)             20.0 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Fri 8p)            19.7 NHTI HH Rtg
Source Nielsen Media Research
Note NHTI Ratings are based on 10.57 million Hispanic TV Homes

Top 5 Broadcast English Language Primetime Programs in Hispanic TV Homes for the week of April 19-25, 2004
NBC     Friends (Thu 8p)                                8.7 NHTI HH Rtg
Fox     American Idol (Tue 8p)                  8.2 NHTI HH Rtg
NBC     Friends (Thu 830p)                      7.7 NHTI HH Rtg
Fox     American Idol (Wed 830p)                7.6 NHTI HH Rtg
UPN     WWE Smackdown (Thu 8p)          6.8 NHTI HH Rtg         
Source Nielsen Media Research
Note NHTI Ratings are based on 10.57 million Hispanic TV Homes

African American television homes in the US represent 12,870,000 households. Here are the rankings for the week of April 19-25, 2004 – highest rated primetime network programs in African American TV homes according to Nielsen Media Research
FOX     American Idol (Tue 8p)                  18.0 HH Rtg
FOX     American Idol (Wed 830p)                16.1 HH Rtg
ABC     My Wife and Kids (Wed 8p)               14.1 HH Rtg
ABC     My Wife and Kids (Wed 830p)             12.7 HH Rtg
UPN     Girlfriends (Mon 9p)                    12.0 HH Rtg
UPN     Eve (Mon 830p)                          12.0 HH Rtg
UPN     Half & Half (Mon 930p)                  11.3 HH Rtg
CBS     CSI (Thur 9p)                           11.2 HH Rtg
UPN     All of Us       (Tue 830p)                      10.5 HH Rtg
CBS     Without a Trace (Thur 10p)              10.3 HH Rtg
Source Nielsen Media Research

Another strong night for Fox with an overall 5.7/16 A18-49 rating, ahead of ABC 4.1/11, NBC 4.1/11, CBS 2.6/7, WB 1.9/5, UPN 1.1/3 according to Nielsen Media Research.  At 8pm Fox trounced the competition first with That 70’s Show  (4.5/15) and then with another 30m ep of American Idol which does not seemed to have suffered from last week’s voting controversy, posting a whopping 8.9/25 (W18-34 10.4/21).   The closest competitor for the hour was from NBC with its OTO Life’s Funniest Moments special (2.8/8). At 9pm it was a virtual tie between Fox’s The O.C. (4.7/12) and ABC’s The Bachelor (4.8/12), with The West Wing ranking third (3.8/10).  At 10p NBC led with a 5.6/15 for Law & Order, followed closely by ABC’s Extreme Makeover (5.0/13) and more distantly by CBS’ 48 Hours (2.8/7).

Mark Silverman has been named to the newly created position of SVP/GM of ABC Cable Networks Group.  Mark will work closely with and report to Anne Sweeney, Co-Chairman Media Networks, The Walt Disney Company and President, Disney-ABC on the Group’s operations.  He previously held the same position at ABC Family.

Ken Foote was named Director/Programming for KTVT/KTXA (Viacom Television Stations Group) in Dallas.  He hails from down the street – he was PD at KDFW for the past eight years.

Barbara Bellini was upped to VP of Discovery Networks International’s (DNI) UK based Business Affairs Division.    Barbara will be responsible for production management and program sales representation to senior management, including program agreement negotiations and acquisition strategies.  She will report to Dara Altman, EVP/Business Affairs, Production Management and Program Financing and Distribution.  Barbara previously held the President’s position at Explore International. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2004. Fast Affiliate Household Ratings for all Networks. Fast affiliate numbers which reflect time period data, not program data, and can change slightly once the finals come in, particularly for LIVE programming (i.e. Football). Source Nielsen Media Research. Time Period Averages Only. [p] = Premiere; [o] = Original; [r] = Repeat

FOX     8.1/13  That 70’s Show 6.4/11, American Idol 12.8/21, O.C. 6.7/10

NBC     8.0/13  NBC Special: Life’s Funniest Moments 5.2/9, The West Wing 7.6/12, Law & Order 11.3/19

ABC     6.6/11  My Wife and Kids 4.7/8, My Wife and Kids [r] 4.7/8, The Bachelor 7.6/12, Extreme Makeover 7.6/12

CBS     6.1/10  60 Minutes II 6.1/10, The King of Queens [r] 6.2/10, Still Standing [r] 5.6/9, 48 Hours 6.2/10

WB      2.7/4   Smallville 2.7/5, Angel 2.7/4

UPN     1.9/3   Star Trek: Enterprise 2.1/4, I’m Still Alive 1.8/3

A18-49  FOX 5.7/16, ABC 4.1/11, NBC 4.1/11, CBS 2.6/7, WB 1.9/5, UPN 1.1/3



#1 Time Period Choice with

A Top 15 Primetime Program
8 of the past 11 weeks!

Available exclusively from
Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution

Source: NTI Explorer, 4/25/04 or as noted. TP: Sun 8-9pm.  New drama rank based on HH.  US Rating. 

Friday Fun Fact:  
In ancient Rome, it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose.

The History Channel presents This Day in History:
1975 – The Vietnam War ends as the government in Saigon announces an unconditional surrender to the Vietcong. North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1976.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  In whose offices would you find the Aardvark I?  CONTROL‘s computer system on GET SMART.  Kudos to: Jeff Grimshaw-American Ingenuity/Washington DC.  Tough one I guess.

Today’s Trivia Question:    What was Miss Hathaway’s favorite hobby?  (click here to respond to the  trivia question and please be sure to include with your answer your name, company, city and time zone. Only the second four correct responses from each time zone will be listed in tomorrow’s kudo list.)


In 2004 HGTV earned its

Highest-rated quarter – ever!
In prime time

Highest-rated month – ever!
16 consecutive months of audience growth

Highest-rated week – ever!
1.0 HH prime-time rating for the week of April 5 -11

For contact information, visit

Source:  Nielsen Media Research, AA (000), HHLDS, coverage AA%, HHLDS, M-Sun 8-11p, 3/30/98-4/25/04.  Qualifications available upon request.

Later — Cyn

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis
04/30/04  5:32am
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COURT TV: The Investigation Channel

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Great ROInvestigation

What was the first movie adaptation of the novel Red Dragon ?
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COURT TV:       
Forensic Fridays
ABC             George Lopez, The Big House [season finale], Hope & Faith, Hope & Faith [r], 20/20
CBS             Joan Of Arcadia, JAG, CSI: Miami [r]
FOX             Fox Movie: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
NBC             Dateline NBC, Third Watch
PAX             MGM Night at the Movies: Love Field
UPN             Movie: Driven
WB              Reba, What I Like About You, Grounded for Life, Run of the House [season finale]
TELE            Prisonera, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Mariana de la Noche, Bajo la Misma Piel, La Escuelita VIP, La Casa de la Risa

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