Thursday, March 4th, 2004





Good morning. It’s Thursday, March 4, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing. 

Last night, after a 43% vote of no confidence was delivered by the shareholders of the Walt Disney Corp., Michael Eisner agreed to step down as Chairman.  He will continue as Chief Executive Officer.  George Mitchell, presiding director of the Board, was named Chairman.  Appearing last night on ABC News Nightline, Eisner said he plans to remain as CEO until the end of his contract, which expires in 2006.

As expected, the Senate Commerce Committee voted to increase the fines for indecency on broadcast television levied by the FCC from $27,500 per violation to $500,000 per violation.  You’ll recall the proposed increase to the House Energy Commerce Committee subcommittee was a 10x jump to $275,000; and given the current climate that number was increased to a half million when put in front of the full committee.  The bill also says that network affiliates who are not O&Os, will not be financial liable for violations made by the network, be it during a live broadcast or scripted programming, unless the indecency rule is deemed to have been willfully and/or intentionally violated by the affiliate.  And you can bet those violations will come into play during license renewal time.  Three such violations and the FCC will move forward in revoking a station’s license. So if you have Nicole Richie booked for anything live, you may want to rethink it.  The bill also includes performers, fining them up to $500,000 for each violation, beginning with the first.  Next step: the bill goes to the full House next week.  The proposed fine increase and in fact indecency fines altogether, do not apply to cable networks, satellite channels and satellite radio.

NBC Enterprises has cleared Fear Factor in 70% of the country including the Fox O&Os.  Fear Factor has also been sold to Fox cable network FX.  Fear Factor makes its syndication bow this fall.

Three months ago the creators of Will & Grace, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, produced by NBC Studios, sued the network for making a sweetheart deal for the show’s longterm primetime renewal rather than seeking the fair market value, since the deal was between NBC Studios and the NBC network.  Now the network has come back with a countersuit, alleging the creators were duplicitous in their dealings, having always intended to ultimately sue the network, and that their seemingly cooperative manner during the negotiation was just a ‘illusion.’  The complaints reads the creators: “always secretly planned to sue (NBC Studios) and were prepared to say whatever they needed in order to extract additional money for themselves, even beyond the enormous sums that they are already receiving.”

Tribune Broadcasting has signed an 8 year deal with Nielsen Media Research, covering all of Tribune’s owned 26 stations.  Additionally, eight of those stations in WPIX/NY, KTLA/LA, WGN/Chicago, WPHL/Philly, WLVI/Boston, WBDC/Washington DC, KDAF/Dallas and WATL/Atlanta, have also subscribed to Nielsen’s Local People Meter service. That service will provide the station with local daily demographic data.  That service has been available in Boston since 2002 and is expected to be in all top ten markets by 2006.

New in Casting and Development:

  • A&E has begun production on a new unscripted series called Intervention (GRB), targeted to air in 4th qtr 2004.  Each episode will feature an intervention by friends and family of someone who is forced to own up to their actions and then begin to take steps reverse a negative trend.  Nancy Dubuc and Robert Sharenow are the exec prod for A&E Network; John Drimmer and Sam Mettler for GRB. 
  • Lifetime has cast Vivica A. Fox for the second season of their original drama series 1-800-Missing.  Missing from the cast going forward will be Gloria Reuben who is pursuing other projects.
  • Comedy Central is developing a show based on the one-man play Behind the Counter with Mussolini, about a blue collar family living in the Bronx who own and operate a deli in Little Italy, says Hollywood Reporter. The play starred Marco Greco who will write the script for the pilot with Nick Santora and Joe and Anthony Russo.
  • ABC pilot sitcom The Furst Family (Granada/Touchstone) has added Marissa Juret Winokur to the cast.  The project is based on the UK series The Royale Family. Also at ABC, more casting notes from pilot drama Desperate Housewives (Touchstone), Andrea Bowen and Kyle Searles have been added to the growing cast.
  • NBC untitled Jason Horwitch drama project (Landscape/Paramount/NBC Studios)about a guy who takes a close up look at and attempts to solve medical mysteries, has cast Kelli Williams to star opposite Neal McDonough.

UPN casting calls begin this Sunday in Los Angeles for a new unscripted contest in search for the country’s next big Hip Hop superstar.  The gig goes like this — those select few who get this far in the competition, will go on tour with Grammy award winning Missy Elliott, all living together and continuing to compete against each other to become the next big Hip Hop Superstar. The first casing call is 3/7 in Los Angeles, followed by Chicago (3/10), New York (3/12), Atlanta (3/15), Arlington, VA (3/17) and Dallas (3/19).  If you’re planning on attending, make sure you have a 3m routine prepared showcasing your dancing, singing, or rapping talents.  For more info check out:

HBO has ordered up five 30m episodes of a new improv comedy series from Section Eight (that is George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh) about three actors trying to make it in Hollywood. Clooney is on board to direct all five eps, according to Variety.

Univision presented research data to the press yesterday morning, taking a slightly different tack that the usual Hispanic population boom and Hispanic TV ratings. This time around the story was “deep dive” quantitative research (conducted by Mad Logic of Mad Dogs Enterprises) and then qualifying that research with data from Nielsen Media Research.  (While the focus group surveys did solicit Hispanic TV viewers, they were not specifically asked to be Univision Viewers.)  The result is a look at the Spanish Language TV Viewer, why they prefer Spanish Language Television, how they watch and then how they use what they’re watching.  The Spanish Language Viewer (SLV), be they Spanish-only speaking or Spanish/English speaking, the results of the research find they refer Spanish language television because the content is more relevant and familiar to their culture and their heritage.  (Note: Spanish language television is completely different than English television translated to Spanish – again its a cultural difference.) And there’s a comfort zone in watching television in their own Spanish language.  Novelas?  Well, they seem to be a common guilty pleasure among the SLV no matter what their age or sex, and this is a genre Hispanic families will often watch together.   The research also dove into the question of television commercials and whether the SLV pays attention to the ads and if they absorb any of the information within the ads.  And the data comes back with very different from the Spanish Language TV viewers than from their English-only viewer counterparts. For commercials airing in Spanish and on Spanish language television, the SLV is 36% more likely to first watch the entire commercial particular if it is a new one to them, (vs. 17% of SLV watching English language commercials); and 52% SLV also rely on Spanish television commercials for getting information about products and making purchasing decisions (vs. 17% of those watching English language commercials).  And finally the SLV viewer is more likely to talk about what they’ve seen on Hispanic television commercials with friends and family.  Interestingly this group also identifies with Hispanic television network, not just the shows like their English-only speaking counterparts. In fact, Dennis McCauley, Co-Pres Network Sales/Univision, likened Univision today to the CBS of the 1960’s as far as the size of the viewership, brand recognition and viewer loyalty.  Univision will be taking their research presentation on the road, visiting buyers and agencies in the days preceding the upfront.

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, The Most Trust Man in America, Walter Cronkite, was asked his thoughts on the Janet Jackson reveal at the Superbowl.  “I was terribly disappointed.  I was really disappointed because I was out making popcorn. I spent a lot of time in the next couple days hoping to see a replay. And then in the replays I didn’t see anything at all of interest.” 

The final Tuesday night in the February Sweep found Fox out in front by a healthy margin with an 8.0/20 A18-49 according to Nielsen Media Research.  ABC was second for the night with a distant 3.3/9 followed by CBS 3.0/8, NBC 3.8/10, UPN 2.4/6, WB 1.8/5.  At 8pm American Idol dominated with a 10.7/28 demo rating (12.7/34 W18-34). CBS’ Navy NCIS was second for the hour with a 3.1/8 and a 4.3/10 A25-54, with almost exactly half the total viewers.  At 9p Forever Eden continue the Fox trend with a 5.2/13 among A18-49 (W18-34 a 6.5/16).  ABC and NBC tied at a 9 share, with UPN following up with an 8 share for Top Model.  Top Model was second behind Fox among A18-34 (3.8/10), W18-49 (4.8/11), W18-34 (5.5/14) as well as teens.  At 10p NBC charged ahead wtih L&O:SVU delivering a 5.5/15 A18-49; ABC’s NYPD Blue 3.5/9 and CBS’ Judging Amy 3.0/8.

Cynopsis will be contributing to The New York Times’ special pull out section Television Upfront which is included in the May 11, 2004 edition.  Among other topics, one of them will be a look at the best of the best new series for the 2004-05 television season, be it broadcast or cable network or from the syndication side.  If you have a show you would like to be considered, drop me a note at
and I’ll be happy to provide you with my mailing address so you can send along a description and/or tape.  All information provided for this NYT piece will be embargoed (even from Cynopsis) until the 5/11 publication of the Times.

Matthew Gould has joined the TLC production team as Executive Producer.  Prior to TLC, Matthew was an exec prod at New York Times Television, overseeing TLC series such as Resident Life and the forthcoming Now Who’s Boss?.  At TLC he will be oversee several new series, as well as signature specials.

New Video, an independent DVD distributor, announced the upping of Melissa Bustos to Mgr/International Sales.  Melissa will work on the management of international licensing for New Video’s home entertainment partners including A&E Home Video and The History Channel®, and serving the needs of all international partners. 

Tuesday, March 2, 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     10.7/16 American Idol 14.2/22, Forever Eden 7.2/11

CBS     8.0/13  Navy NCIS 8.2/13, The Guardian 7.5/11, Judging Amy 8.4/14

NBC     6.4/10  Whoopi 4.7/7, Happy Family 3.8/6, Frasier 7.0/11, Scrubs 5.8/9, Law & Order: SVU 8.5/14

ABC     5.8/9   8 Simple Rules 5.7/9, I’m with Her 4.5/7, According to Jim 5.6/8, Less Than Perfect 5.7/9, NYPD Blue 6.6/11

UPN     3.4/5   One on One 2.0/3, All of Us 2.7/4, America’s Next Top Model 4.4/7

WB      3.0/5   Gilmore Girls 3.2/5, One Tree Hill 2.7/4

A18-49  FOX 8.0/20, ABC 3.3/9, CBS 3.0/8, NBC 3.8/10, UPN 2.4/6, WB 1.8/5



#1 Movie on FX (#1 Program)

#1 Movie on TBS (#1 Program)

#1 Movie on TNT (#3 Program)

Available exclusively from
Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution

Source: NHI Explorer, 2/23/04-2/29/04.  HH Cvg Rtg.  Prgm ranks: On Deadly Grd ties Cops, Exit Wounds ties Law & Order.

The History Channel presents This Day in History: 
1933 – At the nadir of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as President of the United States. “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he challenges in his inaugural address. He also outlines his plan for a “New Deal,” a broad set of government initiatives that redefine the relationship between government and its citizenry.

Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question:  On what series would you find the fraternal group called The Cobra Lodge? MAMA’S FAMILY.  Kudos to:  Rochelle Brown-Nielsen Media Research/NY; Josh Goldman-Horizon Media/NY; Jillian Schroeder-Mindshare/NY; Sandra Manley-Lifetime/NY; Stephen Venneman-WISC/Madison WI; Donna Schimmenti Azarian-Interconnect of the Twin Cities/Eden Prairie; Sallie Ramelot-KYOU/Ottumwa; Keith Paxton-KDFI/Dallas; Paul Gilbert-Sony Pictures Television/Culver City; Frank Hagan-Termite Art Prod/Studio City; John Feria-Millennium Sales/San Francisco; Jim Murphy/San Francisco.      


Now available exclusively from
20th Television

Contact Bob Riordan 212-556-8534

Today’s Trivia Question:
     Who is Khan Souphanousinphone?  (
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
03/04/04  5:29am
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JOB OPENING:  CREATIVE DIRECTOR: American Movie Classics On-Air Promotions & Branding. Must be “Movie Person.” Strategic promo thinker. Major network exp. Killer reel. Res/reel: D.Platt RMCS 11 Penn Plaza 2fl NY,NY 10001  (3/11)

JOB OPENING:   SR. ANALYST, Nick Digital. NY. 2-3 years media/market research. Expert on Nielsen systems. Demonstrated strong understanding/experience with quantitative/qualitative analysis. (3/11)

JOB OPENINGTRAINER/Nielsen, Chicago. Train Local TV clients on Scarborough data applications and software.  Responsible for clients throughout the Midwest. Travel required. (200401776-JL)  (3/11)

JOB OPENING:  SR MKT RESEARCH MGR-AOL/Dulles, VA. 7-10 yrs exp. Client-facing researcher w/bcst/cable/radio.Conduct research & design prgms making AOL Programming / Srvs more compelling & engaging. Resumes:

JOB OPENING:  UNIVISION SALES SPECIALIST/Equity Bcsting, Little Rock, AR. Dev. Local/Regional/Nat’l biz for station group. Sales exp necessary; Spanish a +. E-mail resume and cover letter to Sam Smith ssmith
EOE  (3/9)

JOB OPENING:  SALES/MKTG RESEARCH ASST/NBC, NY. Assist NBC/Bravo clients w/ quant/qual research. Knwldge of key sales/mktg tools (Nielsen Galaxy Explorer, NPower and MarketBreaks; CMR MRI MEMRI) a +. Resume:

JOB OPENING:  CUSTOMER SUPPORT REP, Verance Corp, San Diego. Mge ad agency/bcst clients; cust rpt ordering/delivery; resolve issues, mge new cust support. 2+ yrs adv or bcst exp; solid comm & comp skills. Email:

JOB OPENING:  SR INT’L RESEARCH ANALYST/NYC. Analyze TV rtgs data for Latin Am. mkt. Interpret data, formulate sales pres. PC prof. & mkt res exp nec. Bilingual Spanish a +. Attach MS Word doc resume: recruitersr
. EOE/AAE  (3/6)


SITUATION WANTED:  LA SCREENWRITER w/strong publicity writing experience seeks freelance pub/promo/copy writing work. Press kits,releases, bios, web copy, etc. Fast, efficient, creative. Per page or per hour.

SITUATION WANTED:  13 yr SALES/NEW BUS pro. Cable and New Media exp. Contacts w/clients and agencies across country. Cross platform experience w/tv, radio, print, internet, and events. FT/PT/Consulting. (NY) 

SITUATION WANTED: Organized, multi-tasker, BA Comm, minors Marketing/Psych seeking ENTRY-LEVEL position in TV or Film industry in NYC. Please contact
or call 908-687-5765  (3/9)

SITUATION WANTED:  ENTRY LEVEL/SALES ASSISTANT: (Chicago) Looking to get into television ad sales in NY, Chicago, & LA. contact at:

SITUATION WANTED:  RESEARCH position desired in Miami. 8 yrs Media Rsch exp. in LatAm and U.S. Hispanic Market.Worked closely w/ Ad Sales, Prog., Affiliate, Mktg and Business Development Departments. Pls contact

SITUATION WANTED: ASSISTANT TO PRODUCER (NY) looking to assist Producer in TV or Film.  Smart, quick, dependable self-starter. Contact Lily Shaw 212-928-5778 or lily_shaw2001@yahoo  (3/5)

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Court TV
The Investigation Channel
Source:  2003 Advertising Receptivity Index. A18+. Indexed to Total US. Nets with 50+MM subs included.  Qual. Avail. upon request.

COURT TV:       The System: Casino Capers, Forensic Files, Body of Evidence, The System: Danger on the Job
ABC             Extreme Makeover, Extreme Makeover
CBS             Survivor: All Stars, CSI [r], Without a Trace [r]
FOX             Tru Calling [r], Tru Calling [r]
NBC             Friends, Will & Grace, The Apprentice, NBC Special: Princess Diana; The Secret Tapes Part 1
PAX             AFV, Early Edition, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             WWE Smackdown
WB              Steve Harvey’s Big Time [r], All About the Andersons [r], JKE [r]
TELE            Amor Descardo, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Velo de Novia [Ultimo episosio], Bajo la Misma Piel, Aqui y Ahora


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