Monday, January 19th, 2004





Good morning. It’s Monday, January 19, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing coming to you from the NATPE Convention in Las Vegas.

NBC blew the socks off Wednesday night in the A18-49 demo thanks to Donald Trump and Friends.  NBC delivered an awesome 10.1/25 demo rating for the night according to Nielsen Media Research.  CBS was #2 with a 7.0/18, distantly followed by ABC 2.4/6, UPN 1.8/.4, Fox 1.7/4, WB 1.1/3.  At 8pm NBC began with Friends’ 12.8/34, opposite a repeat of CSI (10.4/16).  The Apprentice aired from 830-930p and delivered a 10.1/24 for the hour, with the final half hour beating the first half hour of an original ep of CSI (10.2/24 vs. 9.3/22).  CSI picked up considerably in its second half hour (11.1/26).   At 10p ER earned a 9.9/26, while CBS’ Without a Trace earned a 5.9/15 and Prime Time on ABC a 3.5/9.

UPN has announced two new reality series currently in development – The Player is a search for the smoothest operator; and a second is currently known just as Untitled Amish Project (Stick Figure Prods/New Line).  The latter focuses on a religious coming of age event, rummspringa, which basically is a time when young Amish men and women leave their communities to explore the world until such time as they make a lifelong decision – to return to the Amish community, or not. Most return. Some not. The show will follow five of these young adults as they live in the big city with five ‘mainstream’ adults.  And UPN has renewed WWE Smackdown for another season.

Upcoming Premieres:
Fox:  American Idol and My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance both debut tonight. 

ImaginAsian TV (iaTV), a new 24/7 Asian-American channel from ImaginAsian Entertainment, Inc., is set to launch in August 2004.  Headed by CEO Michael Hong and based in NYC, the fully ad-supported general entertainment network will offer a mix of Asian programs airing in the US for the first time, as well as original programming.  All in-language programs will be subtitled and for those airing in primetime, they will also be introduced by English speaking hosts who will also provide commentary.  ImaginAsian TV has made its first major distribution carriage agreement and is in latter-stage negotiations with major MSOs around the country.  Additionally, through an initial agreement with Equity Broadcasting Corp., ImaginAsian TV has gained access to more than 1.6 million households.  The network’s initial carriage line-up includes KTVY (Channel 7) in Las Vegas, Nevada, KIMG (Channel 23) in Ventura, California and KKTU-DT in Denver, Colorado.  Discussions are ongoing for several additional major markets.

On a similar front, WorldAsia Television (WA-TV) is scheduled to launch some time in mid-2004. WA-TV will offer English language Asian-themed programming targeting both Asian Americans and others interested in Pan-Asian entertainment.  Heading up this effort is Michael Tsang, founder of WorldAsia. For more information on this channel, check out


  • CBS:  Four freshman series have received the official nod for renewals into next season – Navy NCIS, Two and a Half Men, Cold Case and Joan of Arcadia – no surprises there.  Coming up later on this season, CBS also announced start dates for Century City (March 6 at 9p), The Stones (March 17 at 930p) and an all new made-for Helter Skelter is scheduled to air on May 16. And finally, Survivor fans take note – CBS has renewed the show for a 9th and 10th season. 
  • Fox:  Fox again reiterated its plans to launch new programs throughout the calendar year, rather than wait for the official start to the broadcast season in May.  This isn’t really new for Fox who has for the last few years launched programs in early August, and then following baseball in late October. Last week NBC’s announced it too would not be a slave to the broadcast season and will launch its fall season on the heels of the Summer Olympics; ABC said it would also be looking at freshening its schedule on a year round basis as needed. Fox officially says it will expand its development season to a 52 week year.  The idea is to compete more directly with cable who launch shows year round as needed, as well as have fresh programming year round.  No word yet on whether Fox will renew The Simple Life, according to producers at Bunim-Murray.  The concern seems to be that this show will fizzle in its second go around, much like Joe Millionaire.  If the show does come around agai9n, one plan on the drawing board is to send the girls on vacation with a family, to all those regular places people take their families on vacation – Hershey PA, Yellowstone, to see the world’s biggest string ball, etc.  Shows soon to be seen on Fox include Forever Eden (March 1 at 9p), Cracking Up (March 8 at 830p) and Wonderfalls (March 12 at 9p).

The WB has renewed Charmed for a seventh season (2004-05), according to Hollywood Reporter.

Game Show Network, now known as GSN – the network for games, has three new projects in development with Mindless Entertainment (producers of WB’s The Surreal Life):  Extreme Dodgeball, National Lampoon’s Greek Games featuring college frats and sororities, and a third project thus far still top secret.

NATPE Notes:

  • Western International Syndication has packaged together four action hours for cable syndication.  Called Thunderpack, it includes Conan the Barbarian (22 x 60m), The Immortal (22 x 60m), Starhunter (22 x 60m) and The New Adventures of Robin Hood (52 x 60m). 
  • Tribune Entertainment has renewed Mutant X and Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda for their respective fourth and fifth seasons.  Tribune also announced its co-production deal with Gurin Company and George Schlatter Prods for a Fall 2005 start for Real People, based on the network series which aired back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The show will either air as a 60m weekly, or M-F 30m strip, or both.
  • DebMar Studios, Mort Marcus/Ira Bernstein’s new shop, has cleared South Park in 40% of the country including 8 of the top 10 markets: KCAL/LA, WCIU/Chicago, WSBK/Boston, and KBHK/San Francisco, according to Variety. The show is sold on a cash +1.5m basis for its 111 episodes, as well as 30 new eps that will be produced for Comedy Central over the next two years.  If you wondering about language, the show will be edited to address that problem, tho there are a little more than a dozen that are beyond fixing.  If you’re a fan, you know which eps those are.  The show begins in syndication Fall 2005, airing as a strip for a four year term, with an additional year if the show is picked up by Comedy Central beyond the two new seasons.
  • NBC Enterprises Jane Pauley has been cleared in 95% of the country including the NBC O&Os.  Also on the slate for NBC is syndication rights for Fear Factor, and reportedly a cable deal is imminent.
  • Buena Vista‘s Tony Danza show has cleared 45% of the country including the ABC O&Os.
  • Paramount‘s spinoff of Entertainment tonight, The Insider has been picked up in 85% of the country thus far including the CBS O&Os

Every year at NATPE there are a handful of people, projects, presentations, that just stand out for their originality, big-ness, smarts.  Here are a couple I came across during the first day of the 2004 conference: 

  • Tribune Entertainment‘s Dreamworks movie package featuring 34 titles including Saving Private Ryan, Shrek, Chicken Run, The Legend of Bagger Vance, Minority Report, Gladiator, Galaxy Hunt among others.  Straight barter, two windows with the first window for the first title opening 9/2006 for The Peacemaker.  The likelihood is Dreamworks and Tribune will do a deal for a second package, although nothing official yet.
  • Shaun Murphy.  This 6’4″ Australian is working on saving the world in Eco-Trekker.  Shaun and his dog Sparky are currently on a trek from San Francisco to Washington DC and back again, traveling by all sorts of modes of transportation, some identifiable, some not so much, and all without any use of fossil fuels to power his man moving machines.  And while all the ecological issues are certainly worthwhile, the reason to watch this show will be its star – delightfully Australian, charming and funny, sure to attract attention.  Eco-Trekker is currently in production and being shopped by Teal Media Group.

Weekend Box Office Estimates – January 16-18, 2004
Along Came Polly (Universal)                      $27.6 million – opening weekend
Big Fish (Sony)                                            $10.4 million – 6 wk total $37.9m
Torque (Warner Bros.)                                $10.3 million – opening weekend
LOTR: Return of the King (New Line)         $10.2 million – 5 wk total $326.8m
Cheaper by the Dozen (Fox)                       $ 8.8 million – 4 wk total $111.9m
Cold Mountain (Miramax)                             $ 7.0 million – 4 wk total $65.0m
Something’s Gotta Give (Sony)                   $ 6.0 million – 6 wk total $100.9m
My Baby’s Daddy (Miramax)                        $ 3.7 million – 2 wk total $12.4m
The Last Samurai (Warner Bros.)               $ 3.1 million – 7 wk total $102.0m
Calendar Girls (Disney)                               $ 3.1 million – 5 wk total $17.1m
Source: Box Office Mojo

If you’ve been wondering where Rob Corona is these days, you can find him in the Tribune Entertainment booth – as VP/Cable Sales. Official word will come out on this hire next week from Tribune, but in the mean time if you’re in Vegas, stop by Tribune and say hello.

John Staffen has been named Executive Creative Director at Arnold, New York, making the move from OMD which he left last October.

Robert Riesenberg will head up a new unit at Omnicom Group, as President/CEO, reporting to Daryl Simm, CEO/Omnicom Media Group.  The unit has been created to produce and develop new programming. Riesenberg makes the move from Interpublic’s IMG Entertainment where he produced several programs including the movie Door to Door for TNT and Mark Burnett’s The Restaurant for NBC.

Mark DeVitre has joined Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution as VP/Sales, reporting to Eric Frankel, President.  Mark makes the moves to WBDCD from Fox Movie Channel where he was SVP/GM.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004. Fast Affiliate 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

CBS     13.1/20 CSI [r] 10.4/16, CSI 17.6/26, Without a Trace 11.4/18

NBC     13.0/20 Friends16.6/26, The Apprentice 12.4/19, Will & Grace 9.6/14, ER 13.6/22

ABC     4.8/7   Threat Matrix 3.7/6, Extreme Makeover [r] 4.3/6, Prime Time 6.5/11

UPN     3.3/5   WWE Smackdown 3.3/5

Fox     2.8/4   Tru Calling 2.8/4, Simple Life Reunion [r] 2.8/4

WB      2.1/3   Steve Harvey 2.5/4, All About the Andersons 2.4/4, JKX 2.1/3, Run of the House 1,.4./2

A18-49  NBC 10.1/25, CBS 7.0/18, ABC 2.4/6, UPN 1.8/.4, Fox 1.7/4, WB 1.1/3


Starring Samuel L. Jackson


TBS’ #1 program of the week!

Movies work on Cable!
Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution

Source: NHI Explorer, 1/5/04  1/11/04. Tue, 8-10PM.  Rank based on W/A 18-34 and M/W/A 18-49.  US AA Rtg.  TBS rank ties Ripleys w/W18-34, Seinfeld w/W18-49, The Score w/M18-49 and A18-49.

The History Channel presents This Day in History:
1907 – The first film reviews appeared in “Variety” magazine.

Answer to Friday’s Trivia Question: Who’s office was located at 123 Main Street (on W Street at the corner of 34th Street)?  CONTROL, on Get Smart.  Kudos to:  Richard Walsh-OMD/NY; Howard Konig-Cooper & Hayes/Miami; Matt Meachem-Tribune Media Services/Glens Falls; Melody Lang-Adelphia Media Sales/Orlando; Brenda Kardock-The WB 100+ Station Group/Burbank; Karen Oberhofer-IMP/Seattle; Brett Colbert-Warner Bros/Burbank; Jerrie Bryant-Discovery Channel/Burbank.

Today’s Trivia Question: This occasional series bad guy was nicknamed River Nile Nut by the good guys.  What was this bad guy’s “real” name?  (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.)

Later — Cyn

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis
01/19/04   5:07AM PT
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Court TV
The Investigation Channel

COURT TV:       
Extreme Evidence, Masterminds, Chasing Freedom (p)
ABC             ABC Monday Night Movie: Meet the Parents, InStyle Celebrity Weddings (OTO)
CBS             Yes Dear, Still Standing, Raymond, Two and a Half Men, CSI Miami
FOX             American Idol [p], My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance [p]
NBC             Fear Factor (2 hrs), Average Joe: Hawaii
PAX             AFV, Early Edition, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             The Parkers, Eve, Girlfriends, Half & Half
WB              7th Heaven, Everwood
TELE            Amor Descardo, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Velo de Novia, Te Amare en Silencio, Cristina

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