Wednesday, April 14th, 2004





Good morning.  It’s Wednesday, April 14, 2004, and this is your first early morning briefing. 

The ever buoyantly optimistic Les Moonves is predicting positive gains for this year’s CBS upfront.  He’s looking at double digit price increases from buyers, more money shifting from NBC to CBS particularly on Thursday night thanks to NBC’s loss of Friends and ER’s getting apparently a little long in the tooth in Les’ view.  Buyers are doing their annual dance as well: making big hay over their outrage of price hikes in the upfront market and threatening to move dollars from broadcast to cable if they see big hikes. If that’s the case, Moonves promises to raise his rates in the scatter market, thereby getting the bucks either now or later, but getting them – and predicting getting perhaps the majority of the upfront ad dollars.  None of this is new – happens every year, and just like changing the clocks, its a sure sign of spring.

New in Development / Casting / Production

  • NBC‘s comedy My 11:30 (Nuance Prods/NBC studios) starring Jeff Goldblum is in final chats with Donna Murphy to co star
  • Fox‘s comedy series Sweden OH (Warner Bros. TV) has added Olliver Jones in the lead position opposite Helena Mattson.  The story is about a teenage boy (Jones) in a small town, and the introduction of a foreign exchange student (Mattson). Also added to the lineup is Eric Jungmann as the best friend.
  • WB continues to expand the cast of Dark Shadows (John Wells Prods/Warner Bros. TV) with the addition of Kelly Hu as the family doctor who quickly becomes aware of Barnabas Collins status in life, or in death, however you see vampires.  WB’s sketch comedy project Blue Collar TV which already has a six ep commitment from the network has added Heath Hyche to the lineup that already includes Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall.
  • Cross City of Dreams (Bruckheimer/Warner Bros. TV) off your development list for NBC.  You’ll remember this Jimmy Smits project got an early greenlight for a fall 2004 start, and then was pushed back to midseason.  Now it’s been pushed off the table, says Variety.

Premiering Tonight:  I’m Still Alive at 9pm on UPN

Endemol will begin meeting with syndicators some time in the next week or so to pitch their talk show starring restaurateur Rocco DiSpirito who you’ll remember from The Restaurant and The Restaurant 2 which is scheduled to start again on Monday, April 19.  According to Variety, Rocco and Endemol have signed a deal to develop a 60m strip series for fall 2005, picking up where Martha left off.  Endemol also has a game show coming to ABC this summer called Deal or No Deal and has recently signed exec prod Scott St. John.

here! TV, targeting the gay and lesbian community and currently supplier of PPV content PPV, will in October launch a full scale 24/7 schedule of movies, original series, classic films and off net series as well as other general entertainment content, available as SVOD and VOD to cable operators on a revenue sharing basis.  here! TV will produce more than 200 hours of programming annually including these original series:  Dante’s Cover, a gothic horror thriller; Weapons of Mass Destruction, a spy thriller starring Int’l Martial Arts Star Cynthia Rothrock, as the first lesbian action hero.  Original films slated for the new net include: Deadly Skies begins as a don’t ask don’t tell military tale and ends with a deadly asteroid; The Sisterhood is a female version of The Brotherhood; Too Cool for Christmas about a teenager opting to spend Christmas with her teen boyfriend than with her two dads; and Snowman’s Pass about a female mountain climber and some deadly criminals. here TV’s PPV services are currently available in 22 million households nationwide, and is located in LA.  For more information, check out

Dean Valentine, former UPN CEO/Prez and Walt Disney TV Prez, has teamed up with entertainment execs Richard Cohen and Nicolas Van Dyk to start First Family Entertainment.  Dean will be the Sr. Partner.  The company will center on development and production of family oriented, live action, direct-to-DVD/video programming with $2-3 million budgets.   First Family Entertainment has signed an exclusive, worldwide multi-year distribution agreement with MGM Home Entertainment.  MGM will have domestic and international distribution rights for the 4-5 long-form family titles that they will produce each year.  First Family will delve into the African-American and Hispanic markets with MGM getting a first glance at their feature and TV ventures.

Top Ten Basic Cable Ad Supported Network Rankings among Total Viewers for the week of Apr 4-11, 2004
Primetime        (000)     Total Day            (000)
NICK*           2346    NICK*           1956
NAN**           2019    NAN**           1398
TNT             1913    CARTOON 1212
USA             1911    TNT             1132
CARTOON 1651    USA             1056
TBS             1586    LIFETIME        951
LIFETIME        1581    FOXNEWS 933
ESPN            1535    TBS             858
FOXNEWS 1419    FX              704
FX              1366    ESPN            669
Source  Turner Research from Nielsen Media Research Data.
All ratings based on Total U.S. Television Universe of 108,400,000 homes
*Nickelodeon: M-Th 6:30a-9p; Fri 6:30a-10p; Sat 6a-10p; Sun 6a-9p
**Nick at Nite (NAN): S-Th 9p-6a; Fri-Sat 10p-6a

Top Ten Basic Cable Ad Supported Network Rankings among A18-49 for the week of Apr 4-11, 2004
Primetime        (000)     Total Day           (000)
TNT             890     NAN**           642
FX              812     TNT             585
USA             808     USA             498
TBS             750     TBS             487
COMEDY  725     LIFETIME        464
MTV             721     NICK*           439
ESPN            682     FX              412
LIFETIME        658     ESPN            391
TLC             607     COMEDY  350
SPIKE           600     MTV             335
Source  Turner Research from Nielsen Media Research Data.
All ratings based on Total U.S. Television Universe of 108,400,000 homes
Nickelodeon: M-Th 6:30a-9p; Fri 6:30a-10p; Sat 6a-10p; Sun 6a-9p
**Nick at Nite (NAN): S-Th 9p-6a; Fri-Sat 10p-6a

News Viewer Index for the week of April 5-11, 2004 in Total Viewers
Total Day
Total Fox News/CNN/MSNBC/Headline Cable News Viewers  1.853 (000) Total Viewers. (+1% vs. previous week). Of the cable news viewership, Fox News had 50% of the viewing, CNN 26%, MSNBC 13%; and Headline News 11%.
Primetime Total Fox News/CNN/MSNBC/Headline Cable News Viewers  2.763 (0000) Total Viewers (-6% vs. previous week). Of the primetime cable news viewership, Fox News had 51%, CNN 29%, MSNBC 11% and Headline News 9%.
Source Nielsen Media Research

History Channel, now in 87 million cable homes, witnessed a new ratings milestone with their airing of part 1 of Band of Brothers last Sunday night (9p-10:25p).  The first night of this 10-hour miniseries delivered a 3.7 HH Rtg and 4.6 million total viewers.  Among demos, BoB delivered 1.186 million impressions among A25-54.  The show immediately following, Mail Call, also enjoyed the benefits of BoB by achieving its most watched episode to date with a 2.2 HH Rtg, and 2.7 million viewers.

A year ago January, the Houston Astros and the Rockets filed a lawsuit against Fox Sports Net, asking the court to rule in their favor so they can begin to assembling their plans of launching their own regional sports network in October 2005.  The plan was to carry Rockets games in 2005 and Astros in 2006.  The problem was Fox Sports Net who has been airing the team games on FSN and its predecessor for the past 20 years.  Fox Sports Net countersued the teams for breach of contract and for engaging in a ‘sham conspiracy’ to defraud FSN.  The Astros contract runs through 2009 with FSN.  The hitch is the Astros deal allows it to receive ‘bonafide, arm’s length, written offer from a third party” for the broadcast rights as of 2006.  In this case, that third party would in fact be itself, under the name of Houston Regional Sports Network. Part of the deal with Houston Regional Sports Network was if the teams were amenable to moving the games to HRSN, they would receive part ownership in the network.  FSN was given the opportunity to match the offer, and declined.  Yesterday a district court judge granted the teams’ request for Summary Judgement and ruled there were not enough facts in dispute to warrant a trial by jury.

NBC delivered the goods on Monday night with a strong showing from Fear Factor and the Miss USA pageant, delivering an overall 5.2/13 A18-49 for the night according to Nielsen Media Research.  CBS was second overall with a 3.8/10 followed by FOX 3.3/9, ABC 2.8/7, WB 1.6/4, UPN 1.1/3.  AT 8pm NBC’s Fear Factor: Miss USA earned a 5.8/16, doubling the next best showing from CBS (3.0/8).  At 9p NBC maintained its hold with a 4.6/11, though CBS was hot on its heels with its second hour of Two & a Half Men mini-marathon delivering a 3.9/10, and tied with Fox’s 3.8/10 for The Swan.  NBC again owned the 10p hour with the final hour of Miss USA and the crowning of the lovely Miss Missouri delivering a 5.1/13, ahead of CBS’s CSI Miami by a share point (4.7/12), and the finale of ABC’s Movie Air Force One (3.2/8).

AsianMedia Group LLC has named Peter Mathes as its Chairman of the Board.  Peter will manage overall operations with an emphasis on the company’s internal growth and strategic acquisitions.

Dawn Ciccone has been named Associate Director/Cause Marketing and Licensing for PBS.  Dawn will be responsible for the soon-to-be launched PBS KIDS Developmental Products (in the fall), revenue generation and new business opportunities for PBS and its local stations.  She will report to Tracey L. Beeker, VP/PBS Strategic Partnerships.

Adrien Seixas has been named National Sales Manager for the Spanish Language Group of Equity Broadcasting Corporation. Adrien will initially be based in New York and eventually in LA.

Rosemarie Schwarz has been named VP/Morning News Operations for Meredith Broadcasting, a newly minted position reporting to Mark Berryhill, VP/News and Marketing.  Rosemarie hails from KTVU/San Francisco, and will be in charge of overseeing and expanding morning news programs on the Meredith stations currently carrying AM news.

Clarification:  Two things — ABC has not given the official nod to 8 Simple Rules for next season yet, though it is expected.  Also, there was a letter missing from the Badami African American Filmmakers website yesterday, should have been:

Monday, April 12, 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

NBC     8.4/13  Fear Factor: Miss USA 8.6/14, NBC Special: Miss USA 2004 8.2/13

CBS     7.6/12  Two & a Half Men [r] 6.7/11, Two & a Half Men [r] 6.9/11, Two & a Half Men [r] 7.2/11, Two & a Half Men [r] 7.3/11, CSI: Miami 8.8/14

ABC     5.6/9   ABC Monday Movie of the Week: Air Force One 5.6/9

FOX     4.9/8   Bernie Mac Show 4.0/7, Bernie Mac Show 4.0/6, The Swan 5.8/9

WB      3.1/5   7th Heaven [r] 2.9/5, Everwood 3.3/5

UPN     2.0/3   The Parkers 1.8/3, Eve 1.9/3, Girlfriends [r] 2.3/3, Half & Half 2.2/3

A18-49  NBC 5.2/13, CBS 3.8/10, FOX 3.3/9, ABC 2.8/7, WB 1.6/4, UPN 1.1/3


Tune-in Tonight!


Kids living secret lives hidden from their parents and parents living secret lives hidden from their kids.

“It is totally absorbing television.”
The Miami Herald

9:00 PM on Fox

Available Exclusively From
Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution

The History Channel presents This Day in History: 
1865 – President Abraham Lincoln is shot in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC, by actor and Confederate-sympathizer John Wilkes Booth. He died the following morning.

Answer to yesterday’s Trivia Question:  This character’s nickname was used far more in the book and film than in the primetime series.  Nonetheless, who was Dago Red?  FATHER MULCAHY at the 4077 M*A*S*H.  Kudos to: Brad Joyce-WCVC-AM/Tallahassee; Steve Woodward-Viacom Station Group/Atlanta; Robert Scott-Quintres Prods/NJ; Ron Halper-Sony Television/NY; Ramona Ludwig-CatsRUs/St. Louis; Tom Nankival-KWWL/Cedar Rapids; Keith Paxton-KDFI/Dallas; Sara Nellermore-Viacom Station Sales/Minneapolis; Mike Kimmel-Actors Network/Studio City; Bob Ramsey-KSWB/San Diego; Thomas Ruffner-Fox Movie Channel/LA; Darlene Lieblich-Fox Cable Nets/LA.


Comcast Spotlight now covers 72 DMAs, including 22 of the top 25, reaching over 30 million subscribers. And now, with a nationwide footprint of 55 interconnects, buying individual markets or multiple markets is a breeze. Comcast Spotlight – Spot cable finally delivers.
For more information click here.

Today’s Trivia Question: What does Angel the Vampire have tattooed on his right shoulder?    (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.)

Later — Cyn

Cynthia Turner’s Cynopsis
04/14/04  5:26am
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YOUR SPOT = Great ROInvestigation

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       Caught, I, Detective, Forensic Files, Psychic Detectives, The Investigators
ABC             My Wife and Kids [r], The Big House, The Bachelor, Extreme Makeover
CBS             60 Minutes II, The King of Queens [r], The King of Queens [r] , 48 Hours
FOX             American Idol, O.C.
NBC             The Apprentice [r], Dateline NBC Special: Behind “The Apprentice”, Law & Order
PAX             AFV [pilot], Early Edition, Diagnosis Murder
UPN             Enterprise [r], I’m Still Alive [p]
WB              Smallville, Angel
TELE            Prisonera, El Alma Herida, Mujeres Apasionadas
UNIV            Mariana de la Noche, Bajo la Misma Piel, Don Francisco Presenta

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