Friday, March 26th, 2004





Good morning.  It’s Friday, March 26, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing. 

Comcast Corporation has signed an agreement with Vulcan Programming Inc. to acquire TechTV, Inc.  Once the deal is done, Comcast will merge it’s own video games and gamer lifestyle network G4 with Tech TV.  The combined networks will be available to 44 million cable and satellite subscribers.  Charles Hirschhorn, Founder/CEO of G4 will head up the new combined network.  Echostar will have an equity interested in the merged channels, and as such as agreed to carry the new channel on its DISH Network for subscribers of the America’s Top 120 package.

ABC Family has announced a major acquisition deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution whereby ABC Family will pick up a several series, movies and specials.  The deal includes the off-net rights to Smallville (from Warner Bros. Television) as well as JKX: The Jamie Kennedy Experiment.  Both will make their debuts on ABC Family this Fall 2004.  ABC Family also took care of its renewal of Full House as part of this package.  Movies in the package include You’ve Got Mail, Miss Congeniality, The Perfect Storm and Twister.

The newly launched African American cable network TV One (January 2004) has acquired the first fifteen seasons of It’s Showtime at the Apollo from Western International Syndication.  TV One will schedule the show to air M-F at 12n and again at 7pm, as well as various times on the weekends.

Following its April 6th airing, Fox will pull Cracking Up from the schedule and reserve the final 5 eps for a summer airing. Has the show been cancelled?  No.  According to Variety, it will be back this summer.

WE: Women’s Entertainment has named Media Storm LLC in South Norwalk, Connecticut, its agency of record, managing the network’s media planning and buying responsibilities. Media Storm will create national, regional, and local multi-media campaigns for WE aimed at growing ratings while increasing brand awareness and sampling   Media Storm, founded 4 years ago by former cable executives, Tim Williams and Craig Woerz, is a strategic media advertising agency.

New in Casting/Development/Production:

  • ABC‘s comedy project The Furst Family (Granada/Touchstone) has added John Francis Daley to the cast which includes French Stewart and Laurie Metcalf.  And William Devane joins the cast of We are Family (Touchstone) about a man and his father (Devane) who both have babies at the same time.  Lining up for David E. Kelley’s The Practice spinoff (David E. Kelley Prods./20th) are James Spader, Rhona Mitra, and newly added William Shatner as the senior partner of the law firm.  Also expected to join this cast are Fay Masterson and Lake Bell, who’s characters will be introduced in the final episodes of The Practice. 
  • WB‘s Miles to Go (fka Commando Nanny) (Warner Bros.) based on the real life experiences of exec prod Mark Burnett when he was a nanny in Beverly Hills, has added Kristin Bauer to the cast
  • UPN‘s comedy Second Time Around (C to the B Prods/Paramount) has added Melissa De Sousa and Brian White to a cast that already includes Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker.  In the net’s female buddy comedy pilot Bad Girl’s Guide (Flame/Paramount) Sophina Brown has been added.
  • NBC has added two more cast members to its untitled Heline & Heisler comedy (NBC Studios) – Tom Poston and Darius McCrary.

So you say you’re a fan of Karen Sisco and LA Dragnet and wonder if you’ll ever get a chance to see the unaired episodes?  Rest assured – yes you will and on USA Network.  The network has picked up the shows from Universal Television Network, and on April 21 USA will begin airing the first of five unaired LA Dragnet episodes at 10p; and the three unaired Karen Sisco eps start on April 31, also at 10p.  Feeling better?

For the show that has withstood more cast changes than any other in history, Law & Order may just be undergoing yet another one before it begins its 15th season.  Rumors abound that Jerry Orbach may be ready to hang up his shield as Detective Lenny Briscoe.  Orbach has been with the show for 12 years.  Now I should also tell you rumors further suggest Orbach is just jumping to the next Wolf show – L&O: Trial by Jury.

CBS is planning a reality series in hopes of identifying the America’s next domestic goddess.  The net has ordered up 10 eps from producers LMNO Prods Eric Schotz and Bill Paolantonio, according to Variety.  The show will take 12 wannabes, put them in a New England farm house where they will live together and compete against one another in various domestic challenges.  At the same time, NBC’s Today show is currently running a contest wherein viewers send in tapes hoping to be named Domestic Goddess.

ABC will add another cast member to the series Alias – Mia Maestro will join the cast for the final three eps this season,a nd return as a regular next season, in the role of Jennifer Garner’s sister.

Bruce Nash, President of Nash Entertainment, is making a move from reality shows to a movie based on another reality – The South won the war.  According to Variety, a two hour pilot and outline for the remaining four eps has been ordered by USA Network and is set in current day.  The premise is based on the book If the South Had Won the Civil War by MacKinlay Kantor.   Elsewhere Nash is working on a scripted series that takes place behind the scenes at a reality program production company, for FX.

Here is a quick look at some of Discovery Networks Digital Channels plans for the upcoming 2004-05 season:

  • Discovery’s newest network, FitTV, will start the next season with several new shows including Yoga Booty Ballet, Personal Trainers, Urban Fitness TV, Interval Training, Bodies In Motion, Secrets of Superstar Fitness, Cathe Freidrich’s Workouts and In Shape with Sharon Mann.  FitTV programming genres are designed around cardio training, body conditioning, lifestyle, nutrition and performance sports.
  • The Science Channel will debut18 specials and series in the new season.  The new 4th quarter 2004 series include 100 Greatest Discoveries, Failure Analysis (investigation into what went wrong in 3 tragedies), Ultimate Cars, Mission – Inventions, Science of the Deep, A Species Odyssey and Discoveries This Week.  What the Ancients Knew and Human Computer premiere in the 1st quarter of 2005.  Second and 3rd quarter 2005 brings the premiere of Hot Rocks: The Geology of Civilization, Miracle of Life, Science of Yard Chores, Miracle Planet, Science of Backyard Projects and Vision: Impossible.
  • Discovery Times Channel‘s line-up for the new season includes a new series of documentaries under the umbrella title Discovery Times Screening Room and a talk show, The Political Dish.  The Screening Room will include documentary features on Word Wars, Disciples, Kasparov and The Machine.  Campaign Essentials will continue through 2004.  Discovery Times has also forged a partnership with the National Television Academy (NTA) to telecast the 25th Annual News and Documentary Emmy Awards in September.
  • The Discovery Home & Leisure Channel will relaunch as Discovery Home Channel on March 29th with a new target mission.  Discovery Home Channel will start the new season with a complete facelift: new logo, name, graphics and mission.  Programming highlights include Kylie Kwong: Cooking with Heart and Soul, Houselift, No Repair Man Needed and Picture This. 
  • Discovery Wings Channel will highlight new programs in the 2004-2005 season such as Med-Air, A Year in The Life of the Blue Angels, Secret Mission at Dien Bien Phu and Aerospace.
  • BBC America will go with program blocks in the upcoming season – Mystery Monday, Tuesday is all about makeovers, Wednesday is sitcom night, Thursday is cutting edge humor (i.e., The Office), and Retro Fridays featuring cult 1960’s and 70’s BBC programming.

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of Mar 8-14, 2004 ranked by HH Rtg
Wheel of Fortune (King World)                 8.9 AA  
Jeopardy (King World)                   7.5 AA
Seinfeld (Sony)                         6.5 AA / 7.9 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                  6.2 AA / 7.4 GAA
Oprah (King World)                      6.1 AA / 6.2 GAA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       6.1 AA / 6.2 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    5.5 AA / 6.1 GAA
Dr. Phil (King World)                   5.1 AA / 5.1 GAA
Judge Judy (Paramount)          5.1 AA / 7.7 GAA
That 70’s Show (Carsey-Werner)  4.0 AA / 5.0 GAA
Source Nielsen Media Research

Top 10 M-F Syndicated Strip Series for the week of Mar 8-14, 2004 ranked by A18-49
Seinfeld (Sony)                         4.4 AA / 5.4 GAA
Friends (Warner Bros.)                  4.3 AA / 5.1 GAA
Everybody Loves Raymond (King World)    2.9 AA / 3.2 GAA
That 70’s Show (Carsey-Werner)  2.7 AA / 3.4 GAA
Wheel of Fortune (King World)           2.7 AA
Entertainment Tonight (Paramount)       2.6 AA / 2.6 GAA
Oprah (King World)                      2.5 AA / 2.5 GAA
Will & Grace                            2.2 AA / 2.6 GAA
King of the Hill (20th)                 2.1 AA / 2.3 GAA
Jeopardy (King World)                   2.1 AA
Source Nielsen Media Research

According to a research brief from the Center for Media Research, broadband services among multicultural consumer is up over the past five years.  After tracking the growth in multicultural households for the five year time frame, the State of Broadband Urban Markets has found digital cable is now in 29% of all urban households, exceeding the 27% national number.  Among African Americans penetration has reached 35%, and among English-oriented Latino households digital cable is now in 30% of the households.  Satellite penetration in urban markets has reached 15%, mirroring the national number.  The major draw for many of these multicultural homes is the culturally relevant programming content.  Research indicates:

  • Almost four in ten (37%) African-Americans watch African-American-oriented programming,
  • Half (48%) of Latinos (Spanish-dominant and English-oriented, combined) watch Spanish-language programming and
  • 10% of Asians view programming oriented to Asian-Americans.
  • Mainstream media– many cable networks in particular– rank high on the list of “favorite channels” among the Latino, African-American and Asian consumers surveyed.
  • Source:  Center for Media Research, MediaPost Comm.

Top 5 Broadcast Spanish Language Primetime Programs for the week of March 15-21, 2004
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Thu 8p)            19.8 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Wed 8p)            19.8 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Mon 8p)            19.8 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Cristina (Mon 10p)                      19.5 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Mariana de la Noche (Tue 8p)            19.4 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Amar Otra Vez (Mon 7p)                  18.5 NHTI HH Rtg
UNIV    Don Francisco Presenta (Wed 10p)        18.2 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 March 15-21, 2004
Fox     American Idol (Tue 8p)          9.3 NHTI HH Rtg
Fox     American Idol (Wed 830p)        8.5 NHTI HH Rtg
Fox     Simpsons (Sun 830p)             7.1 NHTI HH Rtg
UPN     WWE Smackdown (Thu 8p)  7.0 NHTI HH Rtg
NBC     Friends (Thu 8p)                        6.9 NHTI HH Rtg
NBC     Fear Factor (Mon 8p)            6.9 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  March 15-21, 2004 – highest rated primetime network programs in African American TV homes according to Nielsen Media Research
FOX     American Idol (Tue 8p)                  18.9 HH Rtg
FOX     American Idol (Wed 830p)                            17.5 HH Rtg
ABC     My Wife & Kids (Wed 8p)                 17.1 HH Rtg
UPN     Eve (Mon 830p)                          16.7 HH Rtg
ABC     My Wife & Kids (Wed 830)                15.3 HH Rtg
UPN     Girlfriends (Mon 9p)                    15.3 HH Rtg
UPN     America’s Next Top Model 2 (Tue 9p)     14.5 HH Rtg
UPN     The Parkers (Mon 8p)                    14.4 HH Rtg
UPN     Half & Half (Mon 930p)                  13.8 HH Rtg
UPN     All of Us (Tue 8p)                      12.9 HH Rtg
Source Nielsen Media Research

Do you care about Simon Cowell’s finger?  Me either.

Once again Fox ruled the night on Wednesday with a 6.3/16 A18-49, out delivering #2 CBS who averaged a 4.7/13 for the night according to Nielsen Media Research.  Following at #3 was NBC with a 3.6/9, and then ABC 3.2/8, WB 1.1/3, UPN 0.7/2.  At 8pm Fox owned the hour with a 7.3/20.  Breaking that down, That 70’s Show earned a 5.8/16, while Idol followed with an 8.8/23, clearly outweighing the Survivor All Stars clip episode (6.2/17).  At 9pm Fox again won the hour with The O.C.’s 5.3/13, ahead of CBS’ comedy hour (King of Queens 5.0/12; The Stones 3.5/9) and ABC’s 4.2/10 for Secrets of Extreme Makeover.  At 10pm Law & Order earned a 5.2/15, ahead of a repeat of CSI 3.6/10, and well ahead of ABC’s Kingdom Hospital (2.3/6).

Wednesday, March 24, 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     8.4/13  That 70s Show 7.2/12, American Idol 12.1/19, The O.C. 7.2/11

CBS     7.9/13  Survivor: All Stars (OTO) 9.7/16, The King of Queens 8.3/13, The Stones 6.3/10, CSI [r] 6.8/12

NBC     7.1/12  The Apprentice [r] 3.6/6, West Wing 7.5/12, Law & Order 10.4/18

ABC     5.5/9   My Wife and Kids [r] 5.5/9, My Wife and Kids [r] 5.8/9, Secrets of Extreme Makeover 6.9/11, Kingdom Hospital 4.0/7

WB      1.9/3   Smallville [r] 1.9/3, Smallville [r] 1.8/3

UPN     1.3/2   Enterprise [r] 1.2/2, Enterprise [r] 1.4/2

A18-49  FOX 6.3/16, CBS 4.7/13, NBC 3.6/9, ABC 3.2/8, WB 1.1/3, UPN 0.7/2


Theatrical Movies Work on Network Television!


ABC’s #1 program for the week
With Total Viewers and Men 18-49 & 25-54!

ABC’s #2 movie season-to-date
(2nd only to the premiere of Castaway)
with HH, Total Viewers, A/M18-49 & 25-54!

Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution
Your #1 Source for Great Movies!

Source: NTI Explorer, 3/15/04-3/21/04 or as noted.  Program rank ties Primetime Thursday with total viewers.  US Ratings.

Friday Fun Fact:  Roy Rogers’ favorite of the 100 movies he made was My Pal Trigger.

The History Channel presents This Day in History: 
1953 – Dr. Jonas Salk announces on national radio that he has successfully tested a vaccine against polio.

Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question:  Who is Mamie Dubcek who refers to herself as a Slavic Mutt?  THE SOLOMON’S LANDLORD ON 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN.  Kudos to:  Gary Stein-Good Morning America/NY; Steve Daniloff-WEWS; Robin Kenwood-ITN Networks/NY; Ed Goode-Connelly Partners/Boston; Phillip Stockwell-Nexstar Bcsting/Dallas; Eric Merrill-GSD&M/Austin; Lucie Prann-The Richards Group/Oklahoma City; Nick Beyer-Starz Encore/Englewood; Rick Touhy/Chicago; Richard Storrs-Creative Television Marketing/Burbank; Lisabeth Grace/LA; Alex Petrelli Jr.-KBHK/San Francisco; Jesse Dienstag-Hall & Partners/LA; Skip Mindell-OMNI-TV/Toronto.

Today’s Trivia Question:  Where were all of these items found:  A mood ring, a pet rock, the Undercover Women of James Bond Playboy issue, and letters by four young teenagers people all predicting where they’d be when they grew up.  (
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.)


Did words ever change your life? Share YOUR story!

In the bestselling book The Right Words at the Right Time, Marlo Thomas gathered stories from celebrities and luminaries about words that changed their lives. Now Marlo invites YOU to share your story for possible inclusion in a new volume of The Right Words at the Right Time.

For details, see the paperback edition or visit

Later — Cyn

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis
03/26/04    5:18am
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JOB OPENING:  SR. PRODUCER, PGMING/PROD., Noggin/The N. EIC/ Prod. 5 yrs exp. supervising &/or writing/producing/developing current series for tween/teens. Ext. scripted/reality TV exp. Net exec exp a +. Reply: (3/30)

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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT:  Friday, March 26, 2004



Court TV
The Investigation Channel
Source: Nielsen Media Research Custom Analysis (NPower) Minute-by-Minute program minutes vs non-program minutes, November 2003. Mon-Sun 8p-11p.

COURT TV:       Forensic Fridays
ABC             George Lopez, Married to the Kellys, Hope & Faith [r], Life with Bonnie, The DA
CBS             NCAA Basketball (OTO)
FOX             Playing It Straight, Wonderfalls
NBC             Dateline NBC, Law & Order: Criminal Intent [r]
PAX             MGM Night at the Movies: Garbo Talks, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             Game Over, Game Over [r], Top Model [r]
WB              Reba, Reba [r], Grounded for Life, The Help
TELE            Prisonera, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Mariana de la Noche, Bajo la Misma Piel, Casos de la Vida Real: Edicion Especial

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