By John M. Higgins, Alison Romano, Dan Trigoboff, Stephen McClellan, and Bill McConnell -- Broadcasting & Cable, 9/22/2002 8:00:00 PM
Cable push for Push?
Disney folks are furiously looking for a cable outlet to repurpose ABC series Push, Nevada (below) but not for the usual reasons. The Twin Peaks-esque game show/drama is heavily serial, so, if a viewer misses one episode, it could be hard to follow. "They want the extra exposure so people can catch up if they miss an episode," says one cable net chief who has been pitched. The twice-weekly repurposing of Fox's 24 on sibling FX is widely credited with saving that show. Buena Vista TV was still shopping Push last week. "Is this even going to be on the air long enough to get a deal?" asked another cable boss, noting that the show faded in its regular Thursday time slot after a strong debut last Tuesday.—J.M.H.
Oxygen's new killer
Xena will soon be sharing Oxygen with another female fighter. The cable net has acquired rights to Warner Bros. Domestic Cable Distribution's spy drama, La Femme Nikita, a hot property for USA Network in the late 1990s. The series debuts on Oxygen Sept. 30, which will run it Monday-Thursday at 5 p.m. ET and daily at 1 a.m. Oxygen is said to be paying about $150,000 per episode for rights to the four-season library.—A.R.
Sassa sticks, for now
Scott Sassa says it will be "awhile—months rather than weeks" before he and top NBC brass have figured out what, if any, his new role with the company will be. The former NBC West Coast president continues to collect a paycheck from NBC in the interim. "We're still working on a couple of ideas," Sassa said last week. He has at least two places to kick around those ideas since he still has offices at NBC in Burbank and New York. NBC eliminated Sassa's job in May, consolidating those duties into the post of NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker, essentially restoring an earlier organizational structure.—S.M.
NBC Station Group President Jay Ireland and representatives of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have met—separately—with representatives of Congress's Hispanic Caucus to discuss concerns over perceived two-tier compensation, benefits and working condtions if and when NBC's union shops merge with Telemundo non-union shops in L.A. and Chicago. AFTRA, which wants to represent Telemundo employees there, says separate packages will not be "palatable" for those working side by side. NBC says employees are free to choose union representation, although it says packages given Telemundo employees improved instantly upon GE's takeover—but stress that Telemundo and NBC stations are separate businesses with significantly different revenue streams.—D.T.
Broadcasters found lots to dislikne in draft DTV legislation floated by House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders last week. They oppose a provision exempting news programs from the "broadcast flag" copy-protection method. That could allow shows like 60 Minutes and Entertainment Tonight to be streamed at will over the Internet. Whose bright idea was that? A staffer for committee Chairman Billy Tauzin said Rep. Ed Markey did it; an aide for the Massachusetts Democrat denied it. A Hill source pointed to Phillips Electronics. Why? Phillips, which wasn't commenting, is a leader in the consumer electronics industry's fight to "balance" broadcasters' copy-protection demands, which equipment makers say would violate home-recording rights.—B.M.
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