Thursday, December 9th, 2004





Good morning. It’s Thursday, December 9, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing.

NBC won Tuesday night by a nose with an overall 4.3/11 A18-49 according to final national data from Nielsen Media Research.  ABC was a close second with a 4.0/11, followed by CBS 3.7/10, Fox 2.2/6, WB 1.5/4 and UPN .9/2. Like so many of the other holiday specials thus far this month, Charlie Brown Christmas on ABC won its time period with a 4.8/13, ahead of NBC’s Biggest Loser (3.9/10) and CBS’ NCIS (3.4/9).  At 9p Amazing Race stepped up with a 4.6/12, pacing ahead of both According to Jim (4.2/11) and Rodney (3.8/10).  House on Fox increased it’s Billionaire leading by 3 share points, posting a 2.7/7. WB’s premiere of High School Reunion pulled a modest 1.6/4 among A18-49, but among W18-34 it popped a 2.4/6.  At 10p, Law & Order SVU dominated with a 5.5/15, while NYPD Blue and Judging Amy tied with a 9 share.

“Broadcasters will probably never win another sweep” says TBS/TNT Chief Research Officer, Dr. Jack Wakshlag at his annual end of year research presentation for press yesterday. For the November sweep, ad supported cable finished with a 51.7 share of primetime viewing, while the combined effort of the 7 broadcast networked finished at 46.3 HH share.  Thus far this season (9/20-12/5) cable is pacing at 51.0 primetime HH share, ahead of broadcast’s 46.4 HH share.  And for the 2004 calendar year, Wakshlag’s early projections (12/29/03-12/5/04) put ad supported cable at 52.9 HH share in prime, vs. broadcast’s 43.0.  In Wakshlag’s words, ‘the end of an era.’

Casting / Development / Production

  • MTV has ordered up a second season of its reality drama series Laguna Beach  The Real Orange County for a debut next summer 2005.  Production is scheduled to begin this month.  The first season’s finale episode delivered 2.9 million total viewers
  • Wayne Brady is developing a comedy project for NBC set in the world of personal injury lawyers, per Hollywood Reporter.  The pilot script will be written by Saladin Patterson (Frasier) who has been collaborating with Brady on the idea for some time.
  • A&E has ordered a series based on the travel of Robbie Knievel, Evel’s son, called Kaptain Knievel.  The series is expected to be on the A&E schedule in first quarter 2005.
  • David Rodgers will join the cast of NBC’s newest installment of Law & Order: Trial by Jury, where he will play a recurring role.
  • Additional cast members to Fox’s Prison Break project include Sarah Wayne Callies, Peter Stormare, Amaury Nolasco and Marshall Allman.
  • Fox has given a script commitment to a comedy project from Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein together with Lorne Michaels, set in a Times Square police precinct (Broadway Video/NBC Universal).

While surely no one would recommend you go this route, it does seem a relatively short stint in jail can actually improve your career.  Consider this:  Martha Stewart goes to jail, her company down from previous years, her syndicated series cancelled.  Before she gets out, her company stock is back up to $24.43, and deals have been struck for a new syndicated show to debut in Fall 05 (NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution) as a one hour LIVE series with audience and guests, produced by Mark Burnett and airing on the NBC O&Os.  The will be live, and incorporate all things Martha does best – cooking, entertaining, etc.  Martha gets out of jail in March, and then is under house arrest for another five months.  Behind bars she is not permitted to do any work related to her outside business, but under house arrest she will be able to work on the show development.  As for a primetime series with Burnett – it is in the early stages of development and at this point nobody’s talking much.

E! will debut a new reality series on February 1 with an up close and personal on the Gastineau women – mother and daughter, aptly titled Gastineau Girls.  Mom is the ex of NFLer Mark Gastineau, Brittny his daughter.  They are described by E! as a cross between Gilmore Girls and the women of S#x and the City, both hob nobbing in the NY society scene and looking for love.  The show is from True Entertainment for E!, and the network has ordered 10 episodes.

Dick Clark, 75, suffered what he calls a mild stroke and is currently in a Los Angeles hospital, expected to make a full recovery according to a hospital spokesperson.  The question now is, will he be able to do the New Year’s Eve show for ABC, New Year’s Rockin’ Eve?  In a short statement, Clark offered:  “The doctors tell me I should be back in the swing of things before too long so I’m hopeful to be able to make it to Times Square to help lead the country in bringing in the New Year once again.”

Hallmark Channel has reached the 65 million homes mark, an increase of nine million homes just this year. Among the most recent additions are markets served by Comcast, Time Warner, Adelphia, NCTC members and Midcontinent, among others.  The network is also carried on DirecTV and Echostar services.

Zone Vision’s Reality TV channel will launch 178 hours of programming in 2005-2006 in the US as well as the UK, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Asia, Australia and Africa.  The programming, all produced and distributed by Toronto based Breakthrough Entertainment, includes several series: Little Miracles, Exchanging Vows, Med Students, and Patient Files, all making their US debuts on Reality Channel with a 3-month exclusive window.  Reality TV first launched in Europe in late 1999, and is available in the US on the Dish Network satellite platform.
Cynopsis Question for you:  If you had to chose just one, what would you consider to be THE media story of 2004? Send in your answer to me
, and check back tomorrow for the results.

CORRECTION:  The Aviator (Miramax) has a scheduled release of 12/17; however it will go wide on Christmas Day.

Clarification:  A couple of clarifications and a correction in yesterday’s story regarding the syndicated series Missing from Telco Prods.   The show has featured well over 500 people, and of those, more than 100 – mostly children – have been found.  The show, currently in its second season, is in the process of renewing for Year 3, and thus far has cleared approx 65% of the country, including NY, LA and Chicago.  That number will likely come up by close of NATPE 05.

Kevin Walsh has been upped to VP/Broadcast Sales, Northeastern Region for 20th Television, reporting to Ken Doyle, SVP/Northeastern Region in NYC. Kevin will be responsible for 20th’s off-net and first run syndication.

Jon Kroll has been upped to EVP at New Line Television, overseeing programming and development.  He reports to Jim Rosenthal, President. Jon joined New Line a year ago and started pumping out reality based programming including Amish in the City.  Also newly hired at New Line is Sydney Levin as VP/Alternative Programming.  Sydney reports to Jon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2004. FINAL Ratings for all Networks – program averages.  Source Nielsen Media Research. Time Period Averages Only. [p] = Premiere; [o] = Original; [r] = Repeat

CBS     8.4/13  NCIS 9.5/15, Amazing Race 7.5/11, Judging Amy 8.2/13

NBC     7.1/11  Biggest Loser 6.3/10, Scrubs 4.8/7, L&O: SVU 9.3/16

ABC     6.9/10  A Charlie Brown Christmas 7.4/12, According to Jim 7.0/11, Rodney 6.3/10, NYPD Blue 6.6/11

FOX     3.3/5   The Rebel Billionaire 2.4/4, House 4.3/7

WB      2.4/4   Gilmore Girls 2.5/4, High School Reunion [p] 2.3/4

UPN     1.7/3   All of Us 2.0/3, Eve 2.0/3, Veronica Mars 1.4/2

A18-49  NBC 4.3/11; ABC 4.0/11, CBS 3.7/10, Fox 2.2/6, WB 1.5/4 and UPN .9/2



Season to Season:
+16% W18-34
+12% W18-49
+4% W25-54

Available exclusively from
Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution

Source: NTI Explorer, Premiere-to-date 9/20-12/05/04 & 9/22-12/07/03.  % US Rtg Gain

The History Channe
l presents This Day in History:
1958:  Continuing the paranoid McCarthyite campaign against domestic communism, retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H.W. Welch, Jr., establishes the John Birch Society, dedicated to the exposure of communist agents in the United States.  The Birch Society grew from an initial membership of 11 to almost 100,000 members in the 1960s.

Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:   Who worked at the Buy the Book Store?  ELLEN on the ELLEN show (ABC).  Kudos to the entire free world — hundreds of you got this one.  Holy smokes.

Today’s Trivia Question: Who am I?  I’m a small town guy – like to play checkers, do impressions for my friends, eat pancakes (won a pancake eating contest once by eating 57 pancakes in one sitting), go hunting and fishing. I sing in the town choir and manage the kids little league baseball team.  I worked at my dad’s company, which I eventually bought.  I like to shoot the breeze with all my friends in town, sitting on someone’s front porch.  Who am I?  (click here with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone with your answer.  Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)


Viewers know The Smoking Gun is first on the scene when there are dopey celebs to be mocked, wildly unflattering mugshots to be jeered, and hot, hip gossip to be dished.

Court TV presents “The Smoking Gun Year-End Special 2004”
Tonight at 10.

Court TV. The Investigation Channel.

Later — Cyn
12.09.04  5:17am

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ABC             Extreme Makeover, life as we know it, Primetime Live
CBS             Survivor, CSI, Without a Trace
FOX             The O.C., North Shore
NBC             Joey, Will & Grace, The Apprentice, ER
PAX             AFV, AFV, Diagnosis Murder, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             WWE Smackdown
WB              Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer (OTO), 6th Annual Family Television Awards (OTO)
TELE            La Mujer en el Espejo, Gitanas, Te Voy a Ensenar a Querer
UNIV            Rubi, Amor Real, Aqui y Ahora

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