The week that was
By Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/14/2002 8:00:00 PM
AT DEADLINE: CBS WANTS NCAA HELP
CBS wants financial help from affiliates to pay for its $6 billion 11-year NCAA contract, Bloomberg reported Friday. But it's unclear if CBS will be successful or what form that assistance would take. At deadline, the network hadn't decided whether it would formally raise the issue at its annual affiliates meeting in Las Vegas next month.
MORE SHIELD ADVERTISERS BOLT
FX'sThe Shield lost another large advertiser, with Tricon Global Restaurants—owner of Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell—the most recent to pull ads from the gritty new basic-cable series, reports the Los Angeles-based Parents Television Council. Tricon is the fourth advertiser to pull its spots from The Shield, with Burger King, Office Depot and New Balance also having backed out, PTC says.
In its most recent outing last Tuesday night, the show drew a 3 rating, up 36% from the previous week's 2.2. An FX spokesman downplayed the idea of an advertiser exodus, saying some advertisers are evaluating the show episode by episode.
Sources say one of those is Anheuser Busch. FX has been careful to warn viewers about The Shield's content, giving the show a TV-MA rating and attaching a disclaimer that viewer discretion is advised, says John Solberg, FX's spokesman. Solberg says the show has added 11 new sponsors since its premiere.
A group of Long Island cable customers has sued both Cablevision and the Yankees Entertainment & Sports network (YES) to get their Yankees games. The subscribers are seeking to have the suit certified as a class action representing all Cablevision customers. Cablevision has offered to carry YES as a pay channel, but YES Chairman Leo Hindery wants to be carried on basic, which would give him a wider potential audience. …
A CBS-led coalition of news organizations, broadcasters and trade associations filed a petition asking the Federal Election Commission to amend its rules to make clear that the sponsorship of a debate between political candidates by a news organization (or a trade association) does not constitute an illegal corporate campaign contribution. The petition argues that, under the FEC's regulations, a news organization's sponsorship of a debate could be considered an illegal contribution, punishable as a crime, unless the debate participants have been selected in accordance with "pre-established objective criteria." …Fox Entertainment Group filed a universal shelf registration statement with the SEC to issue up to $2.5 billion of equity or debt securities to the public.
The company didn't disclose when it might try to raise the money, but Standard & Poors issued a preliminary BBB-minus rating on Fox debt, something the agency typically doesn't do unless the company has signaled that some sort of sale is imminent. Fox didn't say how it might use any money raised.
Ellen DeGeneres signed a deal to host an hour-long, syndicated talk/variety strip beginning in fall 2003, Warner Bros. announced Friday. That's if she's able to do the series and that depends on whether CBS renews The Ellen Show, which isn't exactly a great bet. …
MTV is turning its Real World reality franchise into an original movie with Real World: The Lost Season, set to air Aug. 6. The spoof will track a fictional Real World cast kidnapped by a producer (and wanna-be cast member) who forces them to live out a Real World experience. MTV is in production on a 12th Real World, set in Las Vegas and slated for a July debut. …
UPN's sci-fi series Roswell is being canceled. The network said the series will end its run on May 14 with what UPN describes as a finale that will "present shocking plot twists and resolve many of the distinctively romantic and emotionally moving storylines that have been the trademark of the fan-obsessed series." Roswell will get a second run on cable when Sci Fi channel begins airing all three seasons next year.
Sirius Satellite Radio's service is now available in 11 states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. "We are executing our accelerated roll-out schedule and plan to activate an additional seven states by the end of the month," said Guy Johnson, executive vice president of sales and marketing.
Last month, Sirius, which is in competition with XM Satellite Radio, moved up its nationwide launch date from Aug. 1 to July 1 and said it would add entire states at once, instead of cities. XM, meanwhile, announced its radio receivers will be offered in all 2003 Cadillacs. …
In the listing of the Top 25 Station Groups in April 8 issue, the address for Post-Newsweek's station group was incorrect. The correct address is 550 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, Mich. 48226-3123.
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