Friday, February 18th, 2005


Warner Bros.’ Supernatural Thriller
Starring Keanu Reeves

“It’s a smart ride – and smart-looking too.” – Time

“Original.  Action packed and mind-blowing.” – Fox-TV

Available Exclusively from Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution



Good morning. It’s Friday, February 18, 2005, and this is your first early morning briefing.

Fox led the second Wednesday in the February sweep with a 7.7/19 A18-49 rating according to final numbers from Nielsen Media Research.  ABC was #2 for the night with a 4.8/12, followed by CBS 3.3/8, NBC 3.2/8, WB 1.7/4, UPN 1.2/3.  ABC’s Lost was a clear cut winner at 8p, delivering a 6.7/18 for the hour, its closest competition coming from Fox with an 4.0/11 from 8-9p.  American Idol kept and built on its lead-in, earning a 11.5/27 at 9p, well ahead of #2 Alias on ABC (3.9/9). CBS’ CSI: NY won the 10p hour with a 4.9/13, over NBC’s Law & Order 4.3/11 and ABC’s Wife Swap 3.6/9.

February Sweep to date (2/3-2/16/05) per Nielsen Media Research data:
A18-49:  Fox 8.0/20 (+95% vs. same period in February 2004), CBS 3.9/10 (-15%); ABC 3.6/9 (+16%); NBC 3.6/9 (-27%); WB 1.4/3 (-13%); UPN 1.2/3 (-29%)
Total Viewers: Fox 19.6 million (+108% vs. same period in February 2004), CBS 12.2m (-18%); NBC 10.0m (-19%); ABC 9.8m (+12%); WB 3.4m (-14%); UPN 3.1m (-20%).

Fox‘s latest midseason series Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show will debut on Sunday, March 13 at 930p (this show was originally looking at a Sunday 7p time period).  And Fox’s comedy midseason series Life on a Stick premieres on Wednesday, March 23 after American Idol.

Casting / Development / Production:

  • CBS has ordered an untitled comedy pilot from Jerry Bruckheimer and Mash McCall (Warner Bros. TV/Bruckheimer TV) is about an adult family – mom, dad and three kids, where the mom has just left dad.   CBS has also ordered a pilot for a comedy project starring comedian Susie Essman (20th/Paramount Network TV), about a woman (Essman) a recent bride, marrying into a ready-made family.
  • Fox‘s untitled wedding chapel comedy project from Spelling TV – a brother/sister team who own a Las Vegas wedding chapel – has signed on Thomas Carter to direct, hot off his most recent film Coach Carter.
  • FX has ordered two pilots to series, each with a 7-episode order, both produced in-house.  Starved focuses on a group of men with eating disorders. It stars Eric Schaeffer, who will also write and direct.  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars Rob McElhenney (who also writes and directs the series), about a group of four friends who own and operate a neighborhood bar.  Both series are expected to go into production in the next 6-8 weeks, with premieres set for this summer.
  • ABC has cast Mandy Patinkin in its drama pilot Quantico (Touchstone TV); he joins previously cast Shemar Moore, Matthew Gubler and Lola Glaudini.  Quantico is centered at the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, with Patinkin as the leader of the team unit.  Elsewhere at ABC, the net has cast Ever Carradine in its drama pilot Commander in Chief (Touchstone TV), as the president’s press secretary.  In this series, the President of the United States is the country’s first woman president. This casting has not lifted the network’s cast-contingent order.  And in the drama project In Justice (Touchstone TV), Daniel Cosgrove and Constance Zimmer have joined the ensemble cast. The project is about a group of lawyers who help the wrongfully accused/convicted.
  • CBS has cast Zachary Levi in its comedy project Three (Paramount Network TV) about a married couple and their newly divorced friend, played by Levi.
  • UPN has added Elize Du Toit and D.B.Woodside to its drama pilot Triangle (Paramount Network TV/Shore View Ent).  You’ll recall this story is about a doctor whose wife disappeared while they were on their honeymoon in the Caribbean, and the man decides to live there and set up practice. 

Sundance Channel
will bring back The Al Franken Show for a second season in response to audience demand.  The television version of the weekday radio program on Air America Radio will premiere on Monday, June 6 and air weeknights thru to the end of the calendar year.  The first season of the show ran on Sundance from last September thru November 5, 2004.

Good Morning America is making inroads in the morning program viewing audience, not so subtly creeping up on Today.  For the week of February 7, GMA averaged 5.62 million viewers with a 2.2/15 A25-54 demo audience.  Today show for the same week averaged 5.89 million viewers and a 2.4/16 demo among A25-54.  CBS pulled in 3.05 million viewers and averaged a 1.2/8 A25-54.  As compared to the same week a year ago, GMA was up 17% in the demo, Today was down by 12% and CBS Early Show was down by 11% in the demo.

E!‘s reality series Dr. 90210 will return for a second season with 13 new 60m eps, starting Monday, February 28 at 10p. Only this season, the show will be an hour long instead of 30m. This show takes a look behind the scenes of some of Beverly Hills cosmetic surgery offices and into the lives of the doctors themselves.

Okay, here are some hard numbers to chew on.  19% of the US TV viewing population are still using rabbit ears. And nearly 50% of those homes have an annual income of under $30,000.  At the moment, only 12% have digital TV sets at home.  Providing all of the over-the-air free TV homes with converter boxes allowing them to view digital TV would cost between $460 million and $2 billion – depending on the cost of the box and who gets them (based on income levels).  If convert-to-digital boxes were provided to those who currently have cable/satellite, the price tag then shoots up to $1.8 billion to $10 billion.  Currently, the conversion from analog to digital for broadcasters has a soft completion date of December 2006, provided 85% of the country can receive digital TV.  That 85% rule has given some pause, since the likelihood of getting there by end of 2006 is perhaps remote (here in Connecticut, there are some town that don’t even have cable yet). All of these numbers came to light as some lawmakers are considering introducing a bill that would eliminate the need to get to 85% before the conversion happens.  To do that, Congress says there must be assurances that those still using antennas won’t just go dark.  Thus the costs of the conversion boxes. And therein lies the rub.

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of January 31-February 6, 2005 ranked by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (King World)                  9.8 AA  
Jeopardy (King World)                           7.9 AA
Oprah (King World)                        7.7 AA / 7.8 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    7.5 AA / 9.5 GAA
Seinfeld (Sony)                            6.3 AA / 7.7 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                    5.8 AA / 7.4 GAA
Dr. Phil (King World)                     5.5 AA / 5.6 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       5.3 AA / 5.4 GAA
Judge Judy (Paramount)           5.2 AA / 8.0 GAA
Inside Edition (King World)              3.8 AA / 3.8 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research;

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of January 31-February 6, 2005 ranked by A18-49
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    4.5 AA / 5.6 GAA
Seinfeld (Sony)                            4.1 AA / 4.9 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                    4.0 AA / 5.1 GAA
Oprah (King World)                        3.1 AA / 3.2 GAA
Wheel of Fortune (King World)                  2.9 AA
Jeopardy (King World)                     2.3 AA
Malcolm/Middle (20th)                     2.3 AA / 2.6 GAA
That 70’s Show (Carsey-Werner)  2.3 AA / 2.8 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       2.2 AA / 2.3 GAA
Dr. Phil (King World)                     2.1 AA / 2.1 GAA
King of the Hill (20th)                   2.1 AA / 2.6 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research

Note for you die-hard Survivor fans – will bring back its internet talk show SURVIVOR LIVE with hosts Jenna Morasca (she won the Amazon edition of Survivor) and Dalton Ross.  The show begins today at 2pm.

The online black market for hit US shows’ episodes is thriving according to new research data from web monitoring company Envisional.  Their figures show a 150% increase in pirated television shows over the past year.  Envisional found that 70% of the piracy occurred through the use of BitTorrent software.  The UK heads up the pirating list with a 20% share of the international TV piracy total amount followed by Australia and then the US according to  The top 10 (don’t we love top ten lists!) pirated US television shows in rank order are….24, Stargate Atlantis, The Simpsons, Enterprise, Stargate SG-1, The O.C., Smallville, Desperate Housewives, Battlestar Galactica and Lost.

MGM Home Entertainment Group has upped Ian Sutherland to EVP/International Theatrical Distribution and Marketing, announced David Bishop, president of the group. Ian joined MGM in 2000 as SVP/International Marketing and Distribution, overseeing the theatrical distribution and
marketing of MGM/UA films and coordinating and working with the company’s international distribution partner, Twentieth Century Fox International.  As EVP, his responsibilities will be the same.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005. FINAL Ratings for all Networks – program averages.  Source: Nielsen Media Research.  [p] = Premiere; [r] = Repeat

FOX     10.5/16  That 70’s Show 5.4/9, The Simple Life 5.6/9, American Idol 15.5/23

ABC     7.7/12   Lost 11.0/17, Alias 6.4/10, Wife Swap 5.5/9

CBS     7.3/11   60 Minutes 5.9/9, King of Queens 6.6/10, Yes Dear 5.9/9, CSI: NY 9.6/16

NBC     6.9/11   Medium [r] 4.8/7, The West Wing 6.8/10, Law & Order 9.3/15

WB      2.2/3Smallville 3.0/5, Jack & Bobby 1.4/2

   UPN     1.8/3    Road to Stardom 2.0/3, Kevin Hill 1.6/2

A18-49  Fox 7.7/19, ABC 4.8/12, CBS 3.3/8, NBC 3.2/8, WB 1.7/4, UPN 1.2/3

Friday Fun Fact:  RKO stands for Radio-Keith-Orpheum, formed by the merger of RCA and the Keith-Orpheum theater chain in 1921.

The History Channel presents This Day in History:
1929 – The winners of the first Academy Awards are announced. “Wings” wins best picture, Emil Jannings best lead actor, and Janet Gaynor best lead actress.
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  Who has a bird of prey tattooed on his or her shoulder?  BUFFY THE VAMPIRE’S, and spinoff star, ANGEL.  Kudos to:  Michelle Randall-Fine Living network; Sara Gross-MTV Networks/NY; Kerri Huyck-KIDK/Idaho Falls; and Carol Howes Wright-Shaw Research/London.


Court TV: The Investigation Channel has got the POWER .

A new episode of Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice

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Today’s Trivia Question: A break from the usual – here’s a movie question:   In the 72 years of the Academy Awards existence, only three films have swept all five categories in Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor and Actress, and Best Writing. They are  It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), and what is the third? (click here with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone with your answer. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)

Later — Cyn
02.18.05  4:58am

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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT: FEBRUARY 18, 2005:  February sweep 2/3/05 – 3/2/05

ABC              8 Simple Rules, 8 Simple Rules, Hope & Faith, Less than Perfect, 20/20
CBS              Joan of Arcadia, JAG, NUMB3RS
FOX              Bernie Mac, Bernie Mac, Jonny Zero
NBC              Dateline, Third Watch, Medical Investigation
PAX              America’s Talented E/I, MGM Movie: Mystic Pizza
UPN              Star Trek: Enterprise, Road to Stardom [r]
WB               What I Like About You, Reba, Reba, Blue Collar TV
TELE             La Mujer en el Espejo, Gitanas, Te Voy a Ensenar a Querer
UNIV             Rubi, Amor Real, Camino a Premio Lo Nuestro (OTO)

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