Thursday, April 29th, 2004





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

Comcast Corporation withdrew its $59.9 billion offer for Walt Disney Corporation yesterday.  Comcast’s original unsolicited February 11 bid to trade 0.78 Comcast shares for every Disney share fell through as Disney’s shares rose.  Disney had rejected the bid as too low less than 1 week after it was submitted. Next for Comcast – could be Adelphia, or perhaps there is some interest in MGM?  Meanwhile, back at Disney, the Board of Directors once again confirmed its faith in Michael Eisner, with this statement” “The board continues to have complete confidence in Michael Eisner, Bob Iger and the senior management team and in their strategic growth plan to continue to strengthen the company’s position.”

Tonight’s Season Finales:
Tru Calling on Fox at 8pm
Will & Grace finale part 1 of 2 at 9pm on NBC
Steve Harvey’s Big Time at 8pm on the WB
Jamie Kennedy Experiment at 9p on the WB

Programming NoteWB will debut its summer drama series Summerland on Tuesday, June 1 at 8pm with a two hour premiere. Thereafter the show will air weekly on Tuesdays at 9p, with an encore airing Mondays at 9p.  Summerland stars Lori Loughlin who plays a single woman who suddenly has to take in her sister’s children after her sister’s untimely death.

King World made this statement official yesterday:  “King World Productions announced today that the daytime series, Living it Up! with Ali & Jack will not return for a second season.  Production on the current season will wrap on May 27, and episodes will continue to air until September 10.”  Here’s the question.  If I remember correctly, King World signed two year deals for this show – what will they slide in for Year II, or will KW void the second year?

There will be a meeting today held in NYC of the Network Upfront Discussion Group with a core group of ad agency execs including reps from Mindshare, Carat, MediaVest, OMD, Magna Global and Starcom; a core group of advertisers including GM, Ford, P&G, Sears and Unilever; and a group of broadcast network execs from ABC, CBS, WB, Fox and UPN (NBC will not be attending), as well as reps from cable nets Court TV, Turner’ and Warner Bros. syndication arm.  According to the New York Times, the agenda is to discuss the business of the Upfront business, and how the current way of doing upfront business might be improved.  For instance – is it really necessary to do this in a frenzied manner, everyone out of the gate in a mad dash to get the deals done, working 24/7, or does it make more sense to at least limit deal making to business hours. And is spring really the best time of year to do this,or should it be later in the summer or even early fall. 

Vern Yip, the Atlanta-based designer from Trading Spaces, is getting his own gig.  NBC is delving into the world of home makeover in a new limited series called Design Intervention with designer of choice – Yip, according to Hollywood Reporter. In this show, Yip won’t work solely with homeowners, but will have a team of experts who will take over where the homeowners left off.  The show is looking at a June launch.

New in Development / Production / Casting:

  • FX has a drama series in development called The Gentleman (20th TV, a likeable, charming mid-west salesman who also kills people, and the IRS agent who’s trying to track him, according to Daily Variety. Writer on the project is Sheldon Turner (The Longest Yard), and produced by Jennifer Klein.  Scott Foley (Felicity) is reportedly on the radar to star.

Perhaps you’ve heard this year’s Kentucky Derby may ‘look’ a little different that previous years.  Perhaps you haven’t heard.  Seems the jockeys would like to put endorsement logos on their hats and pants — basically horseback ads racing around the track – and the officials and Churchill Downs say no way.    Arguments were heard on Tuesday in a US District Court.  On the jockey side, attorneys argue banning the riders from wearing ads on their silks is a violation of their first amendment rights. On the flip side, the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority’s ‘traditions of turf’ policy bans all form of logos or adverts from appearing anywhere other than the official Derby sponsors, as determined by the Authority.  That means no ads on silks. It also means no patches for the Jockey’s Guild, which the jockeys say is to raise awareness for disabled riders.  At other venues around the country, jockeys are permitted to wear various endorsements on their backs.

Last weekend Food Network launched its new series, Iron Chef America, previewing the series with a behind the scenes special, and then premiering three episodes over the course of Friday/Saturday/Sunday.  The networked cumed more than 12 million viewers over the course of the weekend, with the three episodes ranking as the top 3 most watched shows in the net’s history. The highest rated was the Sunday night 10p 4-chef tag team which averaged 1.3 million viewers

Radio commentaries from the Trumpster?  Yep.  Beginning in June, Premiere Radio Networks will begin to syndicate :60 and :90 second radio commentaries from Donald Trump, in daily installments called Trumped!  Trump will discuss pretty much whatever Trump wants to discuss. 

Elsewhere in the world of Trump …. Donald Trump’s Atlanta casino, Trump Hotel & Casino has signed a multiyear deal with ESPN to air the US Poker Championship.  Four one hour shows will air in January and February 2005 on ESPN.  Elsewhere in the world of ESPN, Mike Ditka joins the all-sports net as an analyst for NFL Football, which makes so much more sense than his being an analyst for figure skating.  Ditka will provide his insights to ESPNEWS’ Monday Quarterback and appear on NFL Live and Monday Night Countdown as well as SportsCenter during the NFL season.  One final note from ESPN — the net has cast Tom Sizemore in the role of Pete Rose for ESPN next original movie, Hustle.

Beginning May 2 at 9pm, Spike TV will air the fist of five episodes of Spike 52: Greatest Drivers.  The new limited series features profiles of some of racing’s most noted drivers, from the beginning of racing to current day notables including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Petty.

Fox led the pack on Tuesday night with American Idol and delivering an overall 7.5/21 A18-49 rating according to Nielsen Media Research.  NBC followed with a 4.0/11, ahead of ABC 3.1/8, CBS 2.3/6, WB 1.8/5, UPN 0.9/2.  At 8pm American Idol dominated with a 10.0/29 (11.6/33 among W18-34), well ahead of #2 NBC which posted a 2.5/7 for  a combination of Friends/Frasier repeat hour.  At 9pm Fox held its lead with 24’s 5.1/13, up by two share points over NBC’s 4.2/11 for Frasier/Scrubs. At 10p NBC was in front with a 5.2/13 for Law & Order: SVU, followed by NYPD Blue on ABC (3.7/10) and CBS’ Judging Amy (2.7/7).

Nigel Cox-Hagan was upped to SVP/Creative Group and Consumer Marketing for VH1.  He will oversee off-channel branding and consumer outreach including marketing and advertising addition to the network’s on-air and digital image.  Nigel will report to Christina Norman, VH1’s President.
Bob Greene was named SVP/Advanced Services for Starz Encore Group LLC (Starz).  In this newly created position, Bob will oversee the development of motion picture broadband delivery for Starz.  He will report to Robert B. Clasen, Starz President/Sales and Marketing.
Rich Higgins was named VP/Advanced Technology for Stargus.  He will be oversee the expansion of the company’s existing VoIP product line and build on its role of supporting several US and European VoIP roll-outs.  Rich previously worked at Time Warner Cable as Director/Telecommunications Engineering. 
Kimi Serrano was upped to VP/Southwest Region for Sony Pictures Television.  She will oversee the sales of first-run and off-network syndicated series as well as Sony’s Dallas office.  She is based in Dallas and reports to Steve Maddox, SVP/Southern Region.

Lenore Washington-Graham was upped to VP/Strategic Resourcing for Scripps Networks.  In this newly created position, Lenore will focus on the recruitment, retention and promotion needs of employees from diverse backgrounds through industry, community and public development and service interests.  She will hold her present position of Affiliate Marketing Director until May.

Lauren Stein has been upped to Director/Primetime Series, NBC Studios.  The announcement was made by Angela Bromstad, EVP/NBC Studios, to whom Lauren will report.  Lauren will oversee such primetime series as American Dreams and Crossing Jordan, and will be involved in the development of new drama series. 

Jacqui Gold Grunfeld has been named VP/Business Affairs at NBC Studios.  Jacqui will report to Beth Roberts, SVP/Business Affairs, and will be responsible for negotiating development and production agreements for above-the-line creative talent, overall deals, talent hold deals, co-productions, and deals for the option/acquisition of life story rights and literary properties.

Scott Matthews has been named VP/News of FOX’s O&O station WNYW/New York and WWOR, Fox’s UPN station  The announcement came from Jim Clayton, VP/GM of the duopoly.  Scott makes the move to the NY pair from WTXF/Philadelphia where he had been VP/News since 2001.

Correction:  The Canadian Antiques Roadshow is expected to make its network debut on CBC in the upcoming season, not CBS has mentioned here yesterday. 

Tuesday, April 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     10.5/17 American Idol 13.9/23, 24 7.0/11

CBS     7.7/12  Navy NCIS 7.6/12, The Guardian 7.2/11, Judging Amy 8.3/13

NBC     7.0/11  Friends [r] 4.6/8, Frasier [r] 4.8/8, Frasier 8.3/13, Scrubs 6.3/10, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 8.9/14

ABC     5.3/8   8 Simple Rules [r] 4.1/7, I’m with Her 3.8/6, According to Jim 5.4/8, Less than Perfect 5.6/9, NYPD Blue 6.5/10

WB      3.0/5   Gilmore Girls 3.1/5, One Tree Hill 2.9/4

UPN     1.6/2   One on One 1.6/3, All of Us 1.8/3, Rock Me Baby 1.4/2, Girlfriends 1.4/2

A18-49  FOX 7.5/21, NBC 4.0/11, ABC 3.1/8, CBS 2.3/6, WB 1.8/5, UPN 0.9/2


Movies Work on Cable!

Starring Samuel L. Jackson

TBS’ #1 Program for the Week with
Homes, M/W/A 18-49 & 25-54
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Call us today to discuss great movies for your network!

Source: NTI Explorer, 4/19/04-4/25/04.  Cvg Ratings.

The History Channel
presents This Day in History:
1992 – Los Angeles breaks out in riots after four white police officers are acquitted of the beating black motorist Rodney King. By the time the riots ended in early May, fifty people had been killed, four thousand injured, and 12,000 arrested. Property damage was estimated at one billion dollars.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:    Of this character’s Top Ten Rules, the top three were: Be neat; Be courteous and polite; and Always obey your parents.  Who is this guy?  The top three ‘rules’ for this character were:  ROY RODGERS.  Kudos to:  Greg Janover-King World/NY; Nicole Thornton-Nancy Glass Prods/Bala Cynwyd; Stephanie Barchi-Hallmark Channel/NY; Will Fessenden-MediaPower/Portland ME; Lorrie Shilling-Centennial CO; Bart Sciarabba-NCC/Chicago; Jennifer Erkskin-Waterman Entertainment/Montecito; Susan Goldberg-Beverly Park Prods/LA; Cary Miller-Verance/LA; Lakshmi Thirumalai-MGM/LA; Jesse Dienstag-Hall & Partners/LA.

Today’s Trivia Question:    In whose offices would you find the Aardvark I?  (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.)


Who knew?

Oxygen is in 52 million homes.

Now you know Oh!

Source: Nielsen Media Research, May 2004 Universe Estimate

Later — Cyn

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis
04/29/04  5:31am
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COURT TV: The Investigation Channel

Increased A18-49 Audience in the I-Zone
Great ROInvestigation

Who played juror #8, the only juror to cast a not guilty vote in 12 Angry Men ?
Click this spot to enter to win a DVD Player

COURT TV:       
The I-Zone, Forensic Files, Body of Evidence, The Investigators
ABC             Extreme Makeover: Home Edition [r], Kingdom Hospital, Primetime Thursday
CBS             Survivor: All Stars, CSI, Without a Trace
FOX             Tru Calling [season finale]
NBC             Friends, Friends, Will & Grace [Part 1 of 2 season finale], ER
PAX             AFV, AFV, Early Edition, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             WWE Smackdown
WB              Steve Harvey’s Big Time [season finale], Steve Harvey’s Big Time [r], JKE [season finale], JKE
TELE            Prisonera, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Mariana de la Noche, Bajo la Misma Piel, Aqui y Ahora

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