A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM LIFETIME TELEVISION
LIFETIME TELEVISION IS IN ITS PRIME
Five Consecutive Months of
Source: Nielsen Media Research, 11/1/04-11/28/04 vs. 11/3/03-11/30/03, 11/29/04-12/26/04 vs.12/1/03-12/28/03, 12/27/04-1/30/05 vs. 12/29/03-2/1/04, 1/31/05-2/27/05 vs. 2/2/04-2/29/04, 2/28/05-3/27/05 vs. 3/1/04-3/28/04).
Good morning. It’s Thursday, April 14, 2005, and this is your first early morning briefing.
The Tribune Co. owns three media entities in the Hartford-New Haven market, WTIC, WTXX and The Hartford Courant, a daily newspaper. At issue is the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership of the three, and that issue has been bandied about the FCC since 2001 and in the Federal Court system for the last 12+ months. In 2001 the FCC ordered Tribune to sell either WTXX (a weak WB affiliate in the market) or The Hartford Courant, and then granted extensions that it be sold by 2002. Tribune attempted to comply by selling the station, but did not find a suitable buyer for the station, and petitioned the FCC for a permanent waiver. The FCC responded to that petition yesterday. But step back just a bit … A month ago, a Federal judge, responding to a lawsuit filed by a private citizen who has a domestic connection with a competing newspaper in the area, ordered that Tribune sell WTXX immediately. Then, yesterday, the FCC stepped in and granted another temporary waiver for Tribune to hold onto the station and sell by 2007, a year which corresponds with the station’s license renewal. The waiver is designed to give Tribune time to bolster the station so it can stand on its own when sold. The Memorandum of Opinion and Order by the FCC reads in part: “The Commission itself already has determined that WTXX is at a real risk of failure if it operates alone. A forced sale of the station – when its combination with WTIC-TV has produced benefits for the public, and when Tribune has attempted to sell both as a package – would appear to serve the public interest less than allowing the Courant-WTXX combination to continue for the temporary period authorized herein. At the end of the extension period, should Tribune still not be in compliance with the rules then in effect.”
Elsewhere at the FCC, the Commission would like to remind broadcasters and cablers of the FCC rules requiring the sourcing of paid Video News Releases (VNRs) when aired. VNRs are provided to news outlets, use actors to portray reporters and include suggested scripts for news anchors to introduce the video. According to the FCC Public Notice, the sourcing rules are “grounded in the principle that listeners and and viewers are entitled to know who seeks to persuade them” with their news and information. The rule also says that the provider of the VNR must disclose to the news outlet the parties involved in the production. This is nothing new – these rules have been around for decades. What has brought this to the forefront is the thousands of complaints received by the FCC about VNRs produced by the government pushing various controversial issues, and packaging them as news. In his statement, Commission Michael J. Copps said in part, “Recently tens of thousands of citizens contacted the FCC demanding an investigation into the failure of broadcasters to disclose their use of government-generated “news” stories. They were right to do so. … In this era of huge corporate media, it has gotten just about impossible to tell the difference between news and entertainment or to differentiate between legitimate information and propaganda. Knowing the source of a story can help viewers and listeners judge its substance.” Commission Jonathan S. Adelstein said in his statement: “… the Commission of course takes no position on recent controversies surrounding the appropriateness of the government creating and developing VNRs more generally. Congress has long prohibited agencies from using appropriated funds for propaganda.” He then added, “Today, we are putting broadcasters and others subject to our rules on notice that we intend to enforce our rules vigorously.”
Season Finale Dates: Fox
* NEW ORDERS / DEVELOPMENT / PRODUCTION *
Spike TV will launch a new weekly 30m series in conjunction with Major League Baseball Productions called Maximum MLB. The show airs on Saturday mornings during the baseball season at 10am, and premieres on April 16. Each episode showcases a sensational series from the previous week.
UPN will launch its new series featuring Britney Spears and husband Kevin Federline’s on May 17 at 9p, kicking off with a 1-hr premiere episode. The following week, UPN’s new comedy series, The Bad Girls’ Guide (Paramount Network Television/Palm Tree Prods/Flame Television) launches on May 24 at 930p, after the Britney and Kevin lead-in. The Bad Girls’ Guide stars Jenny McCarthy and was inspired by the book by Cameron Tuttle.
Lifetime has ordered six 60m eps of an new drama series Beach Girls, based on the novel by Luanne Rice. The project is about three girls who meet up every summer and vow their friendship will last a lifetime. Jump ahead several years, and one of the three has passed away, and this summer her widower and daughter come to the beach. Tentative premiere date is July 25.
SCI FI: PRODUCTION UPDATES
* CASTING UPDATES *
* MORE GOOD STUFF *
Time Warner CEO Dick Parson was the attendee of honor at Si TV’s upfront last night singing the praises of the 1-year old English-language Latino network. Si TV’s Co-founder/Chairman Jeff Valdez received a special honor from New York City with the naming of April 13, 2005 as Si TV Day in the metro area by NYC Latin Media & Entertainment Commission on behalf of Mayor Bloomberg’s office. Si TV’s nine fresh shows for its 2005-2006 season reflect a more edgy and irreverent feel. Its Speak English-Live Latin! motto is integrated into its returning programs including Across the Hall, The Drop, Inside Joke, Circumsized Cinema, Latino Laugh Festival, American Family, Resurrection Blvd., Dark Angel, Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner, The Rub, Styleyes, Urban Latino, Urban Jungle, the Not So Foreign Filmmakers Showcase and several others. Si TV is promising to deliver 3-4 new shows every 4 months as part of its future programming plans. The new shows for the upcoming season include:
–Contributed by Ariana Rawls/Cynopsis: MCE for Cynopsis
* EXECUTIVE MOVES *
Cheri Carter has been named Executive Director of the PBS Foundation, reporting directly to PBS President/CEO Pat Mitchell, who also serves as the President of the PBS Foundation Board. She will begin work at PBS headquarters in Alexandria, VA on May 2. In her new role, Cheri will have primary responsibility for directing the activities of the PBS Foundation, which will seek, cultivate and receive extraordinary and major gifts and grants at the national level. Ms. Carter will work collaboratively with the PBS Foundation Board and member stations to expand PBS’ philanthropic donor base.
Karen Hill has been named VP/Employment & Development, Paramount Pictures. She will be responsible for recruitment, employee relations, and leadership development, supporting the Paramount Motion Picture Group, reporting to Paul Richardson, SVP/Human Resources.
Over at Paramount Television, Cassie Thomas has been named VP/Human Resources. She will report to Tony Ambrosio, SVP/Human Resources, CBS. A 20-yr veteran in HR, seven of those with Paramount, Thomas will be responsible for all TV Human Resources matters, including network, domestic and international.
* RATINGS *
Tuesday – A18-49 Analysis: Fox‘s combo of American Idol and House continues to dominate the A18-49 viewership on Tuesday nights, and most recently scored an 8.7/23 demo rating, according to final numbers from Nielsen Media Research. CBS followed with a 3.7/10, and behind CBS was NBC 2.7/7, ABC 2.6/7, WB 1.2/3, UPN .8/2. At 8p Idol drew in a 10.7/30 A18-49 rating, trouncing the competition which could only manage a high of 2.9/8 for NCIS on CBS. House kept up the pace at 9p on Fox with a 6.6/16, though Amazing Race rallied with a 5.1/12. The Office on NBC continues to unimpress, posting a 2.4/6 at 930p, on par with its lead-in Scrubs. At 10p a repeat of L&O:SVU delivered a win for NBC with a 4.2/11, Judging Amy followed with a 3.2/9, and Blind Justice posted a 2.9/8.
FINAL HOUSEHOLD RATINGS: Tuesday, April 12, 2005, for all Networks – time period averages. Source: Nielsen Media Research.
FOX 12.8/20 American Idol 14.8/24, House 10.8/16
CBS 8.3/13 NCIS 8.9/14, Amazing Race 8.1/12, Judging Amy 7.9/13
ABC 4.9/8 My Wife & Kids 3.8/6, George Lopez 3.6/6, According to Jim 5.6/9, Rodney 5.4/8, Blind Justice 5.5/9
NBC 4.6/7 Will & Grace [r] 2.5/4, Scrubs [r] 2.2/3, Scrubs 3.7/6, The Office 3.6/5, Law & Order: SVU [r] 7.9/13
WB 2.0/3 Gilmore Girls [r] 2.2/4, One Tree Hill [r] 1.9/3
UPN 1.5/2 All of Us [r] 1.3/2, Eve [r] 1.4/2, Veronica Mars 1.6/2
A18-49 Fox 8.7/23, CBS 3.7/10, NBC 2.7/7, ABC 2.6/7, WB 1.2/3, UPN .8/2
The History Channel presents This Day in History:
Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question: Here Come the Brides – Jason Bolt signs a deal with the devil, aka Aaron Stempel, to borrow money to keep the lumber business thriving. He then goes to Massachusetts and picks up 100 potential brides and brings them back to Seattle in an effort to keep the lumbermen interested in staying on at the lumber mill. There one very big catch in the deal with Stempel, tied to the bride wannabes. What is it? IF ANY OF THE BRIDES LEAVE IN THE FIRST 12 MONTHS, STEMPEL CAN CALL IN HIS LOAN AND THE BOLT BROTHERS LOSE THE MOUNTAIN. Kudos to: Rohan Crawford-Callaway Partners/Atlanta; Erin Gaughan-Dew Action Sports Tour/NY; John Giaccio-Telerep/NY; Elizabeth Barker-Initiative/NY; Alesia Redding-South Bend Tribune/South Bend; Lorrie Shilling-AZN Television/Centennial CO; Alan Perris-Metts Consulting/LA.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM COURT TV
Frequently asked questions for celebrities:
‘Who’ are you wearing?
Not even the stars are above the law. Celebrity Justice airs Thursdays at 11:30PM E/P.
Visit our website at www.courttvmediakit.com. (We don’t care who does your hair – we can’t see you.)
Later — Cyn
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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT: APRIL 14, 2005:
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