Monday, March 29th, 2004





Good morning.  It’s Monday, March 29, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing. 

Currently in the midst of the cable network upfront presentation season, and on the verge of the broadcast network upfront presentation, Jeff Zucker gave advertisers a head’s up on Friday as to what they may expect next season from the Must See network.  Returning next season will be Las Vegas, The Apprentice and in all likelihood Crossing Jordan.  On the reality side, Joe Average is likely to make a comeback, in fact Jane Average or Plain Jane is currently in development.  You already know Joey will slide into the Friends time period, with the rest of Thursday remaining in tack.  Overall, NBC will be looking at 90m of new programming on Tuesday nights, an hour on Wednesday, 30m on Thursday (Joey), and an hour on Fridays.  Mondays will likely be Fear Factor, Las Vegas and Average Joe, Saturdays (NBC’s repeat night) and Sundays remain as currently scheduled.  A goodly chunk of NBC’s fall schedule will make its primetime debut the week immediately following the Summer Olympics, that is August 29.

Summer launches is the name of the game this year and coming to WB this summer is Summerland from Aaron Spelling and sitcom Blue Collar with Jeff Foxworthy.  You know Fox has made several moves toward a year-round programming initiative, and in fact Gail Berman says the upfront presentation this May will be the new shows won’t wait until fall or after the baseball season, but rather some will kick in as early as June with more launches all summer, including North Shore and the as yet untitled Method Man/Redman series.

Couple of quick programming notes:  Beginning this week, Fox will switch the Friday night Wonderfalls with Thursday night’s Eden.  Elsewhere, on April 14, ABC will move the Thursday night 9pm show Extreme Makeover to Wednesday night’s at 10p, coming out of the new The Bachelor series.  Making way for Extreme Makeover is Kingdom Hospital, which will be sent to the Thursday 9pm death knell time period starting this week.

Mark Burnett is preparing to launch yet another series – again in the world of unscripted dramas.  The pilot for this CBS project is called Recovery, the recovery of kidnapped children, says Variety.  Relying on the prowess of various former military, intelligence and law enforcement vets, the show tracks down stolen children – two cases per episode.  CBS has not made a firm commitment on the show as yet, but assuming Burnett can deliver two solid stories every week, its probably a good bet Les Moonves is all over this one.

New in Casting/Development/Production:

  • ABC‘s comedy project Hot Mama (Warner Bros.) starring Gina Gershon, has cast Nick Lachey as a struggling actor who’s a gofer for the wedding planner (Gershon).
  • UPN‘s comedy project Bad Girl’s Guide (Flame/Paramount) is current in negotiations with Jenny McCarthy to star. The show focuses primarily around three women who run a website and busily hand out “live large” advice.
  • NBC has found Joey’s little sister.  Drea De Matteo landed the role in Warner Bros. new sitcom Joey, which is about Joey movie west and living with his sister who is a hairdressers living with her son.  This casting will not interfere with De Matteo’s role as fiance Adriana on The Sopranos – she will finish out the final ten episodes.

You remember this story in the news — mom at a birthday party, sees a little her that looks like her own (who allegedly died in a fire as an infant six years prior), snips a bit of her hair and has it tested for DNA, and finds out it is indeed her child.  Child is rescued from kidnapper/mother, and returned to her real mom.   Delimar Vera’s parents have sold the rights to their daughter’s story to Larry A. Thomas Organization of Beverly Hills (made for movies incl The Beat Goes On: Sony & Cher Story) for a movie and/or a book.  The financial terms were not disclosed except to say there is a six figure payment due now, and a six figure payment due when production on the movie begins.

Tonight at 9pm on PBS is the debut of new 7-hour series called The New Americans, from the same folks who brought you Hoop Dreams about 10 years ago, Gita Saedi, Gordon Quinn and Steve James.  The New Americans follows people arriving into this country, how they adjust and how we adjust to them, over a period of four years.  The stories include people from Nigeria, India, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, who have arrived at the US shores by very different motivations and with aspirations of achieving different goals, whether its to escape persecution or achieve athletic fame and everything in between.   This special is co-presented by Latino Public Broadcasting and the National Asian American Telecommunications Association.

On first blush, you gotta wonder if this is a good thing.  WB has ordered a script for an original network movie, well a remake based on the original movie Blue Lagoon, and produced by Sony Pictures TV, says Variety.  The script will come from Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zaden and Neil Meron, says Variety, who claims this Blue Lagoon will be “really original and fresh, and something we know will be classy.” 

Weekend Box Office Estimates – March 26-28, 2004
Scooby Doo 2 (Warner Bros.)                    $30.7 million – opening weekend
Ladykillers (Buena Vista)                             $13.0 million – opening weekend
Passion of the Christ (Newmarket)            $12.5 million – 5 wk total $315.0m
Dawn of the Dead (Universal)                    $10.3 million – 2 wk total $43.9m
Jersey Girl (Miramax)                                 $8.3 million – opening weekend
Taking Lives (Warner Bros.)                      $6.5 million – 2 wk total $21.7m
Starsky & Hutch (Warner Bros.)                $6.3 million – 4 wk total $76.9m
Hidalgo (Disney)                                         $5.4 million – 4 wk total $56.2m
Eternal Sunshine (Focus)                          $5.4 million – 2 wk total $16.7m
Secret Window (Sony)                               $5.4 million – 3 wk total $40.6m
Source: Box Office Mojo

NBC was the winner of record on Thursday night among A18-49, posting an overall 8.1/22 for the night according to fast affiliate ratings from Nielsen Media Research.  CBS was #2 for the night with a 3.7/10, followed by UPN 2.1/6, FOX 2.0/5, ABC 1.5/4, WB 1.3/3. At 8pm NBC’s Friends countdown repeat along with Will & Grace posted an easy win (7.5/21), more than doubling #2 CBS (3.6/10).  At 9pm an original episode of The Apprentice 10.8/27 was three times more powerful than NCAA Basketball on CBS (3.6/9).  At 10p NBC again dominated with ER’s 6.0/17, CBS 3.8/11 and ABC’s final hour of Figure Skating Championships (just not the same big draw as when they were beating each other with sticks) 1.4/4.

By a single tenth, NBC won the night on Friday night according to Fast Affiliate Ratings from Nielsen Media Research.  NBC averaged a 3.5/11 A18-49, over CBS 3.4/11, which was ahead of ABC 2.4/8, FOX 1.4/5, WB 1.3/4, UPN 0.7/2.  At 8pm CBS led the way with  a 3.4/12 for NCAA Championship Basketball, two share points ahead of NBC’s first hour of Dateline, and three share points ahead of ABC’s first hour of TGIF.  At 9p NBC and CBS were in a dead tie (3.6/11) with ABC two share points behind for the second hour of TGIF. At 10p NBC stepped it up a notch and averaged a 3.9/13 for a repeat of L&O: CI, besting CBS’ 3.2/11, and ABC’s third outing out of four of The D.A. (2.0/6).

Fox had Saturday night by a ten with a 3.1/10 A18-49 rating according to fast affiliate ratings from Nielsen Media Research, just a notion ahead of CBS’ 3.0/10, and further ahead of NBC 2.4/8 and ABC 1.6/5.  At 8pm CBS with the UConn game was well ahead (as was UConn) averaging a 4.0/14 for the hour, over Fox’s 3.1/11 for Cops and Cops.  The two nets tied at 9pm with CBS’ 3.1/10 and Fox 3.2/10.   At 10p NBC’s final hour of its movie won with a 2.8/9, followed by the final hour of ABC’s figure skating (2.3/7).

Donald Trump, you’re fired!  Here’s how I see it.  Last Thursday’s episode, Trump has the remaining Apprenti gather in front of the noted fountain in the lobby of  Trump Tower.  He waxes poetic of this fountain’s magnificence, which he says is visited by thousands of people from far and wide, who then also visit the lobby shops.  Sounds like a good story.  Friday I found myself in the vicinity of Trump Tower with a little time to kill, and decide to go see the magnificence of this fountain. The lobby was filled with people, many with cameras.  And there in the distance was the fountain …. draped and dry in the midst of a cleaning.  Three German tourists stood there dejected, having seen The Apprentice the evening before in their hotel room, and chose to use a precious vacation day to come visit. They asked me to take their picture in front of the fountain’s black drapery. You’d think, of all people, Donald Trump could get the cleaning crew to take care of this household chore any time other than the day after he features it on primetime television.

Casting Call:  Fine Living Network‘s series Radical Sabbatical is looking for men and women in NY/LA, between age 20 and 65, who are about to leave their steady 9-5 job to pursue their lifelong passion.  If you fall under this category, and you’re serious, email them at
and include your name, contact information, age, current job, reason why you’re leaving your current job and what you hope to accomplish in your new pursuit.  Also if you have a photo of course, that’s a good thing to include.  Good luck!

Kathy Reiner, Cascade Entertainment’s CFO, resigned effective late February. Kathy will stay on in a financial consulting capacity as needed and until a replacement has been named.  She will assist Cascade with investor relations, financial analysis, and reporting obligations.  Kathy worked both with Cascade Entertainment and the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians. 

MGM has upped Mark B. Crowley to EVP/Labor Relations.  Mark will be the company’s chief negotiator of 60+ MGM collective-bargaining agreements with organizations in the US, Canada and the UK and the chief corporate spokesman regarding them.  He will report to William A. Jones, Senior EVP and Secretary, and will be based in LA. 

Fisher Communications, Inc. has announced the hiring of Paul Anovick as VP/Director of Sales for Fisher Broadcasting Company.  Paul will work with the GMs and Sales Managers, analyzing the station markets, and implementing strategic sales plans for each of the Fisher Broadcasting O&Os.

Correction:  Karen Sisco will make its USA Network debut on March 31 at 10p (not April 31st partly because there is no April 31st).

Thursday, March 25, 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

NBC     11.6/19 Friends 11.0/18, Will & Grace 10.7/17, The Apprentice 14.5/22, ER [r] 9.5/16

CBS     7.2/12  NCAA Basketball (OTO) 7.2/12 Due to the nature of live sports, the CBS ratings are approximate.

ABC     5.0/8   Primetime Thursday 5.3/8 , World Figure Skating Championships: Day 1 (OTO) 4.8/8

FOX     3.3/5   Tru Calling 3.9/6, Forever Eden 2.8/4

UPN     3.3/5   WWE Smackdown 3.4/5

WB      2.0/3   Steve Harvey’s Big Time 2.4/4, Like Family 1.8/3, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment 2.0/3, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment [r] 1.9/3

A18-49  NBC 8.1/22, CBS 3.7/10, UPN 2.1/6, FOX 2.0/5, ABC 1.5/4, WB 1.3/3

Friday, March 26, 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

NBC     7.3/13  Dateline NBC 7.0/13, Law & Order: Criminal Intent [r] 7.8/15

CBS     6.2/11  NCAA Basketball (OTO) 6.2/11

ABC     4.7/9   George Lopez 5.3/10, Married to the Kellys 4.6/8, Hope & Faith [r] 4.9/9, Life with Bonnie 4.4/8, The DA 4.5/8

WB      2.3/4   Reba 2.6/5, Reba [r] 2.7/5, Grounded for Life 2.2/4, The Help 1.8/3

FOX     2.2/4   Playing It Straight 2.1/4, Wonderfalls 2.3/4

UPN     1.3/2   Game Over1.2/2, Game Over [r] 1.2/2, Top Model [finale-r] 1.3/2

A18-49  NBC 3.5/11, CBS 3.4/11, ABC 2.4/8, FOX 1.4/5, WB 1.3/4, UPN 0.7/2

Saturday, March 27, 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     5.1/9   Cops 4.8/9, Cops 5.3/10, America’s Most Wanted 5.1/9

CBS     5.8/11  NCAA Basketball 6.6/12, The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacle 3.3/6 (1030-11p)

NBC     3.6/7   NBC Movie: A Knight’s Tale 3.6/7

ABC     5.4/10  World Figure Skating Championships: Day 2  5.4/10

A18-49  Fox 3.1/10; CBS 3.0/10, NBC 2.4/8, ABC 1.6/5




In its 12th run, Comedy Central’s #1 Movie this Season
with HH, Total Viewers & ALL 18-49 Demos!

Also, A Top 20 Cable Program for the Week with A18-49, beating originals:  Queer Eye, The Last King
& Touching Evil !

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

Source: NHI Explorer, 3/15/04-3/21/04 or as noted. Sun, 8-10PM.  Cvg 000s. Ad-supported cable only.

The History Channel presents This Day in History: 
1971 – William Calley, a lieutenant in the U.S. army, is found guilty of murder in a court martial for the 1968 massacre of more than 500 unarmed civilians in the South Vietnamese village of My Lai. Initially sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor, Calley eventually had his sentence reduced to ten years and was paroled in 1974, three years after his conviction.

Answer to Friday’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. Time Capsule on Wings  Kudos to:   Karen Neal-TNT/Atlanta; Richard Walsh-OMD/NY; Chris Fagan-Cameo Group/NY; David Rosenthal-Connecticut Cable Adv; Marge Pistulka-Empower MediaMarketing/Chicago; Heather Hargrave-Baton Rouge; Richard Storrs-Creative Television Mktg/Burbank; Jim Murphy-San Francisco; Bryan Howard-Fox Sport Net/LA; Stan Justice-Litton Entertainment/Manhattan Beach.


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Today’s Trivia Question:   Who am I?  I am a real person.  I was a stage manager during the Golden Age of television, and I have lived in screen legend Harold Lloyd’s beach house.  You may know me as either an author, a reporter or perhaps from my hosting duties on a primetime television show that investigates the crimes of the rich and famous. Who am I?  (
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
03/29/04   4:10am
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JOB OPENING:  PUBLICIST, IFC/NY: Execution of strategic plans to raise awareness for IFC’s on-air programming, talent, executives and brand. Write/pitch to consumer media. Apply:

JOB OPENING:   WRITER/PRODUCER On Air Promos, Oxygen Media/NY: 5+ yrs exp. Spv/write/produce/direct promo & branding campaigns. Strong creative a must. Reel & Resume: Human Resources, Oxygen Media, 75 Ninth Ave, 7th Fl,  NY NY10011  (4/3)

JOB OPENING:   ASSOC. DIR, STRATEGIC RESOURCES-ZenithOptimedia/NY. Oversee research strategy/design tools/new biz. 7+ yrs research exp, agency pref; Nielsen systems/optimization tools/DDS. Mgmt exp.
EOE  (4/2)

JOB OPENING:  ACCT. MGR. NETWORK DISTRIB. & SERVICES, NY/Eastern Region. Secure cable carriage, build/secure relationships, oversee execution of Affil. Mktg proj. Click here for full posting. Resumes: 

JOB OPENING:  RESEARCH DIRECTOR, FX Network/NY Ad Sales. Strong analytical skills/strategic thinker. Resp for new qual/quant research; Nielsen systems -Apply: under Fox Sports Net  (4/2)

JOB OPENING:   NSM, WB affiliate-Louisville, KY. National Sales experience/strong desire to win/ strong analytical/math skills & strength to hold the Rep firm responsible for business required. Travel. Resume:
  EOE  (4/1)

JOB OPENING: AD SALES RESEARCH ANALYST/Discovery Networks-NY: Min 2 yrs research exp. Knowledge of Nielsen/MRI required, strong communication & computer skills necessary.  Send resume/cover letter:

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SITUATION WANTED: SENIOR MARKETING/AD/PROMO EXEC seeks consulting work in NYC. 18 yrs. exp. in entertainment, licensed products, retail and online  Paramount, MTV, Scholastic.

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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT:  Monday, March 29, 2004

The Investigation Channel

95% Audience Retention (#1 in cable)
YOUR SPOT = Great ROInvestigation

Return to this spot every Tuesday to play our trivia contest & win great prizes!
Click here for source.

       The I-Zone, Forensic Files, The Investigators
ABC             Movie:  The Haunting, 20/20
CBS             Yes Dear [r], Still Standing [r], Raymond [r], Two and a Half Men [r], CSI: Miami
FOX             Bernie Mac Show, Cracking Up, That 70s Show [r], That 70s Show [r]
NBC             Fear Factor [r], Las Vegas [r], Average Joe: Adam Returns
PAX             AFV, AFV, Early Edition, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             Half & Half, Eve, Girlfriends, Half & Half
WB              7th Heaven [r], Everwood [r]
TELE            Prisonera, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Mariana de la Noche, Bajo la Misma Piel, Cristina

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