Thursday, February 17th, 2005



Good morning. It’s Thursday, February 17, 2005, and this is your first early morning briefing.

ABC‘s midseason drama Grey’s Anatomy will premiere on Sunday, March 27 at 10p.  The show focuses on a team of five surgical interns and their supervisors.  Grey’s Anatomy will air for four weeks, replacing Boston Legal which will return on Sunday, April 24 with all new eps for the remainder of the  season.

Fox‘s American Idol / House combination on Tuesday won the night with an overall 8.6/22 A18-49 rating according to final numbers from Nielsen Media Research.  NBC was #2 but by just two tenths of a rating point over CB, and ABC was close on CBS’ heels: NBC 3.3/8, CBS 3.1/8, ABC 3.0/8, WB 2.1/5, UPN 1.1/3.  American Idol dominated at 8p with an 11.5/30 demo rating, slaughtering the competition. #2 at 8p was CBS’ NCIS with a 2.8/7, and WB’s Gilmore Girls (2.3/6). At 9p Fox’s House held 46% of its leadin among A18-49, and when you’re starting with a 30 share, that’s significant.  House earned a 5.6/14, ahead of CBS’ Dr. Phil 9p special (3.5/8) and ABC’s According to Jim (3.7/9) and Rodney (3.4/8).  At 10p Law & Order SVU was well in front with a 5.6/15, while NYPD Blue and Judging Amy each earned an 8 share.

No goals.  No icing.  No cross-checking penalties.  What’s a hockey fan to do?  The NHL officially cancelled the 2005 hockey season after the League and the players’ union were not able to come to terms.  The net net of the cancellation (get it? net net? never mind), is several gaping holes in the sports schedules at NBC, ESPN2 and several Fox regional sports networks. NBC has another 9-1/2 hours that was to be filled with hockey, and will return those hours (and thus the quandry of how to fill them) back to affiliates. ESPN2 (and ESPN filling the post-season hockey playoffs schedule) will program the slots with a variety of programming including skiing and figure skating.  Fox regional sports nets have been and will continue to fill hockey slots with basketball, poker, and a handful of college hockey games.  As for next year – assuming there is a hockey season next year – ESPN has an option to renew at $60 million for 40 regular season games and the post-season games, which may well be re-negotiated before they exercise that option in early April. NBC had a deal for this season which was a profit-sharing agreement with the NHL for its limited number of games.  Fox regional sports networks will likely look to renew particular for those northern markets where hockey is a big deal, i.e., Detroit and Buffalo.  As to the southern markets, tough call.

Tonight’s Premieres:
CBS:     Survivor: Palau at 8p

Casting / Development / Production:

  • ABC has been busy casting a few of their upcoming pilots: William Baldwin joins the JJ Abrams drama pilot Pros and Cons (Touchstone/Bad Robot). I know, a familiar name in primetime, but a different concept. This Pros and Cons is about a group of con men working for the federal government, with Baldwin on the side of the government.  Abigail Spencer in the drama pilot project Lennie Rose (Touchstone TV), along with Sasha Barrese, Moon Bloodgood, Keir O’Donnell and Carlos Ponce. Nicole Sullivan has been cast in Hot Properties (Warner Bros. TV) about four women who all work in the real estate business.
  • Fox has signed several to its Crazy Lawyers (20th) drama starring Chris O’Donnell including Adam Goldberg, Rachael Leigh Cook and Rockmond Dunbar.  The story is about a once big time lawyer following a nervous breakdown (O’Donnell) and his mentor – a mentally unbalanced lawyer (Goldberg) who really should consider anger management classes.  Fox also signed Rachel Boston for its comedy pilot Peep Show (Carsey-Werner), joining Johnny Galecki and Josh Meyers.
  • Swoozie Kurtz has joined Anne Heche and Ed Begley Jr., in the WB pilot project True (Warner Bros. TV).  Kurtz plays Heche’s mother.
  • NBC‘s drama pilot Fathom (NBC Universal TV) has added Rade Serbedzija and Leighton Meester to the cast.
  • CBS has cast Jeri Ryan in its drama pilot The Commuters (Paramount Network TV), per Variety.  The Commuters is about a group of lifelong friends , including Ryan’s character, who commute into the city everyday.
  • UPN has signed up four more to join Jenny McCarthy in its comedy pilot Bad Girls Guide (Paramount Network TV/Palm Tree Prods/Flame TV). Marcelle Larice, Christina Moore, Stephanie Childers and Johnathan McClain will join the cast.
  • Currently being shopped to the broadcast and cable networks is a 60m drama treatment called The Negotiators, created and penned by Joseph Giacalone and Joselito Seldera. The project focuses on the The Hostage Negotiation Team of the NYPD.
  • 44 Blue Prods is pitching a new reality show project called Celebrity Drag Racing, which is exactly what you’d expect – celebrities competing against each other in cars.   Also from 44 Blue Prods is Judge Bonaventure being pitched as a new syndication project. 

Lifetime has picked up the off-net cable rights to the CBS primetime series Still Standing, distributed by 20th Television, beginning in September 2006, per today’s Hollywood Reporter. The show will likely be scheduled during the daytime hours in a back-to-back hour, and paired up with Reba (also distributed by 20th), which debuts in August 2006.  Other recent acquisitions for Lifetime include Frasier and Will & Grace.

Tuesday night marked the first of many of this season’s Ad Sales Upfront presentations – this one featuring the Comcast Network Sales efforts of E!, Style, G4 Video Game Television, Outdoor Life Network (OLN), Asia Street, and The Golf Channel.  Here’s a couple of things I learned at this year’s gig:

  • The Golf Channel will add Golf Cinema and more Big Break editions to the schedule.  Golf Cinema includes titles such as Caddyshack, Tin Cup, Happy Gilmore, Legend of Bagger Vance, and others.  According to Golf Channel Prez Dave Manougian, they have the most affluent TV viewers in all of television, with the #1 highest income per capita. 
  • OLN has added Al Trautwig to its lineup of sportscasters covering the Tour de France – and Lance Armstrong will be back to attempt his 7th consecutive win. OLN’s President, Gavin Harvey says the net is #3 in M25-54 in VPVH (viewers per viewing households), which makes sense for a channel that is dedicated to men – all men yearning for adventure and thrills via their TV set.  OLN will be in 67 million homes this year.
  • E! and Style, where they’ve learned younger viewers are back to watching networks again (not just shows), they have 1000 hours of original programming coming up and 9 new series this season including Craft Corner Death Match starting March 9.  And Ted Harbert, Pres/CEO, wouldn’t miss an episode of Fox’s 24.  Okay, not relevant, but interesting.
  • Asian Street on International Channel is now wholly owned by Comcast per Steve Smith, Managing Director/International Channel Networks, and as of March 28 will carry all Asian programming.  Asian Street is where “two worlds collide” – the American and Asian lifestyles are combined for this network’s targeted group, the American born Asian.  Asian Street on I Channel will bring Asian film, anime, pop music and programs that are designed specifically to crossover to this target demo.  Also, expect a brand change announcement just prior to NCTA.
  • G4 Video Game Television‘s founder and CEO, Charles Hirschhorn says that elusive M12-34 demo is found in abundance at G4 because this is the ‘gamer generation’ and G4 is all about video games.  G4 has the highest concentration of M12-34 of any network on television.

Cartoon Network and Kids’ WB! had their ad sales upfronts yesterday in NYC – for the full lineup of new productions, acquisitions, returns and schedules, you’ll find it in today’s issue of Cynopsis: Kids! .  If you don’t subscribe, you’re free to check the archives at and search via date (mm/dd/yy) or keyword(s).

The Tennis Channel has come to an agreement to buy the ATP Tennis Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona, from Scottsdale Tournament Productions.  IMG is the managing partner for Scottsdale, and in that capacity will oversee this year’s event (2/21-27/05).  The open tournament will air on Tennis Channel under the title Tennis Channel Open. Starting next year the network will take over all management and operations of the event. Financial specifics were not revealed.

A big day for uppings! …

Drexel University’s Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies appointed its first Director, media veteran Allen Sabinson. The announcement was made by University President Constantine Papadakis.  Allen has spent the last 30 years in the business, most recently as SVP/Programming at A&E, as President/Production at Miramax, and SVP/Original Programs at TNT, and now makes the shift over to the world of academia, based in Philadelphia.  The Rudman Institute for Entertainment Industry Studies works with Drexel’s College of Media Arts & Design (CoMAD)  to promote the interdisciplinary nature of the entertainment industry. Through grant-supported research and sponsored projects, the Institute will focus on developing new CoMAD programs and enhance existing programs. It will also host an annual entertainment industry studies symposium that will address issues and topics affecting the next generation of entertainment producers, distributors, technology providers, investors and consumers. 

Todd Watson was appointed COO for ITN Networks, Inc.  The announcement came from Timothy J. Connors, Jr., President of ITN. Todd joined ITN in 1994 as an Account Executive.  During his time here he had previously been elevated to the title of Executive Vice President of Sales.

John Fahey, National Geographic Pres/CEO, and Dennis Patrick, Pres/CEO of National Geographic Ventures (NGV), announced that Patrick has been upped to Chairman of NGV, while retaining the function of CEO. Tim Kelly, formerly president, National Geographic Television & Film (NGT&F), will step up as President of NGV.  A wholly owned, taxable subsidiary of the National Geographic Society, NGV creates and distributes content across many different platforms and media. NGV business units include NGT&F, National Geographic Digital Media and National Geographic Maps.   A handful of other executive moves at NGV:

  • Gilbert M. Grosvenor, who had been Chairman of NGV since 1996, will continue as a member of the board of NGV in addition to his chairmanship of National Geographic’s board of trustees.
  • Edward (Ted) M. Prince Jr. has been named to the newly created, dual role of COO/NGV, and President/NGV Distribution, responsible for the broad, day-to-day operations of NGV and for marketing and business development, home video and DVD distribution, Nat’l Geo Television International and the Nat’l Geo Digital Archive.
  • Chris McAndrews has been upped to new position of President/Digital Media, NGV. He will continue to oversee all aspects of, as well as manage the National Geographic Digital Archive and all new initiatives in digital media.
  • Michael Rosenfeld has been named EVP/Television Programming and Production, overseeing all aspects of documentary programming and production for NGT&F. He is responsible for the Specials and Events programming and production, as well as National Geographic Explorer, NGT&F production for the National Geographic Channel, Production Operations, Editorial Development, Standards and Practices and the Natural History Unit.  

Eric Klein has joined Montana Artists Agency as VP/Business and Legal Affairs.  Klein left NBC/Universal’s USA Cable Entertainment division as Director, Business and Legal Affairs late last year.

Patrick Younge has been named EVP/GM for Travel Channel.  Billy Campbell, President, Discovery Networks, U.S., made the announcement. Based in Silver Spring, MD, Patrick will serve as Chief Editorial Executive, responsible for all programming, production, development and operations for the network.  He will also manage the overall direction of the network, interfacing with ad sales, marketing and affiliate sales to further develop the brand and its appeal to advertisers, operators and viewers.  Patrick makes the move from BBC Sport where he had been since 2001.

Brad Jamison has been named VP/Corporate Communications for the ABC Television Network, based in Burbank.  Brad will head the strategic development and implementation of all corporate communication initiatives for the ABC Television Network, including community outreach through special programming, events and public service campaigns; oversee communications strategies for the network’s diversity programs; manage audience/special interest group communications; serve as the primary liaison for all philanthropic endeavors; and act as the administrator of the network’s speakers bureau.
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. announced the appointment of Gary R. Marcotte to Divisional EVP/Finance for Playboy Entertainment Group, effective February 28.  He will report to Linda Havard, EVP/Finance and Operations and CFO of PEI; and James Griffiths, PEI Sr. EVP/Prez, Playboy Entertainment Group. Gary will oversee all financial operations, including accounting, planning, business development and project evaluation, for PEI’s recently merged Entertainment and Online Groups. 

Initiative has hired Michael Hayes as VP/Interactive Marketing. He will oversee Initiative’s interactive media and digital marketing services, working on a variety of accounts including Bank of America, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (through R&R Partners), Carl Karcher Enterprises (CKE Restaurants) and Cox Interactive, among others.  Hayes will be based in Los Angeles.

Turner Broadcasting has expanded the role of Karen Cassell to SVP/Entertainment PR for TBS, Inc.; and the role of Monica Neal who is VP/PR for Turner South to include TCM to her area of influence. The announcement was made by Shirley Powell, SVP/Corporate Communications for TBS, Inc. Based in Atlanta, Karen will work closely with executives of TBS/TNT, TCM and Turner South as well as Turner Entertainment Group on development and strategy issues.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005. FINAL Ratings for all Networks – program averages.  Source: Nielsen Media Research.  [p] = Premiere; [r] = Repeat

FOX     12.1/18  American Idol 15.5/24, House 8.6/13

CBS     7.9/12   NCIS 8.6/13, Dr. Phil Primetime Special 7.7/12, Judging Amy 7.5/12

NBC     5.7/9    L&O: CI [r] 3.3/5; Scrubs 4.5/7, Committed 4.0/6, L&O: SVU 9.6/16

ABC     5.6/9    My Wife & Kids 4.4/7, George Lopez 4.1/6, According to Jim 6.2/9, Rodney 5.8/9, NYPD Blue 6.5/11

WB      3.3/5    Gilmore Girls 3.7/6, One Tree Hill 2.9/4

UPN     1.8/3    All of Us 1.8/3, Eve 1.8/3, Veronica Mars 1.8/3

A18-49  Fox 8.6/22, NBC 3.3/8, CBS 3.1/8, ABC 3.0/8, WB 2.1/5, UPN 1.1/3

The History Channel presents This Day in History:
1913 – The legendary Armory Show opens in New York. The exhibition drops the bombshell of modernism into American art.
Answer to Yesterday’s Trivia Question:  Kiri-kin-tha’s First law of Metaphysics states “Nothing unreal exists.”  Says who?  MR. SPOCK.  Kudos to:  Jake Vander Linden-Carat USA/NY; Larry Epstein-Drexel Univ/Philadelphia; Heidi Bahnck-NFL Films/Mt. Laurel NJ; Mark Altabe-Citigroup/NY; Kenny Mueller-Comcast Spotlight/Dallas; Brett Calvert-KSAT/San Antonio; Tim Rank-Adamson Adv/St. Louis; Mitt Dawson-Fox Sports Net/Houston; Sharon Levi/Anaheim Hills; Charles Wachter-Bunim Murray/LA; Marty Webb-RPA/LA; Steve Morrow-Eclipse TV; and Mark Fabian-EE Quebec/Quebec.


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Court TV viewers don’t want to miss a single innovation.

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Today’s Trivia Question:  Who has a bird of prey tattooed on his or her shoulder? (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.)

Later — Cyn
02.17.05  5:11am

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WHAT’S ON TONIGHT: FEBRUARY 17, 2005:  February sweep 2/3/05 – 3/2/05

ABC              Extreme Makeover; Primetime Live Special Edition (9-11p)
CBS              Survivor: Palau [p], CSI, Without a Trace       
FOX              The O.C., Point Pleasant
NBC              Joey, Will & Grace, The Apprentice, ER
PAX              AFV, Universal Movie: Harry and the Hendersons
UPN              WWE Smackdown
WB               WB Movie: She’s All That
TELE             La Mujer en el Espejo, Gitanas, Te Voy a Ensenar a Querer
UNIV             Rubi, Amor Real, Aqui y Ahora

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