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Fast Track

12/07/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

The News

Faking It in a New Job


The News

Stanley Gold, longtime ally of Roy Disney, followed Disney's lead and quit the Walt Disney Co. board last week, blasting Chairman Michael Eisner on his way out. Gold, CEO of the Disney family's private investment company, said company directors squeezed Disney out because he has become an Eisner-basher. Disney quit on Nov. 30, just before the board was about to enforce a mandatory retirement age and force the 73-year-old nephew of Walt Disney out the door. ...

A second night of The Simple Life starring scandalous social butterflies Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie last Wednesday night swept the key demos in its 8:30 p.m. ET time slot. The show did particularly well in adults 18-34 with a 7.1 rating/22 share and among women generally. The debut the night before performed the same magic. Fox won Wednesday night across most of the female demos, except women 18-49, in which it finished behind ABC and NBC. On Wednesday, ABC scored with the second part of BacheloretteTrista Rehn's wedding. On Tuesday night, NBC's new Tracy Morgan Show had a solid debuted in the 18-49 demos but finished behind a CBS Charlie Brown special. …

Showtime doesn't provide ratings, but sources say The Reagans attracted about 1.1 million viewers when it debuted Nov. 30. That's good by Showtime standards but hardly the kind of crowd that would have likely seen it on CBS, which, under pressure, jettisoned the miniseries to its Viacom owned sister channel. …

Lifetime is bringing back original series Strong Medicine for a fifth season in 2004 and is picking up strip rights to the drama from distributor Sony Pictures Television. Lifetime becomes the first cable channel to strip its own scripted show, showing it at 5 p.m. ET. Some industry insiders had speculated that it would be picked up by one of Lifetime's competitors. …

Fox News Channel got to accompany President Bush on his hush-hush Thanksgiving-day trip to Baghdad because it was Fox's day to staff the television pool not because of favoritism, the network says. Fox News White House correspondent Jim Angle was the lone TV reporter on the trip. The Associated Press says it was the first to report the surprise trip and had the first video, from mid-air on Air Force One. ...

The Late Fred Rogers' Family Communications and WQED(TV) Pittsburgh's production arm produced a three-hour tribute to Rogers that will air as a PBS pledge special on New Year's Day. The show is hosted by former Mr. Rogers Neighborhood crew-member-turned-screen-actor Michael Keaton. ...

Time Warner Cable, sued by American Movie Classics last month, countersued last week. AMC claims the MSO is trying to break its contract. Time Warner says AMC has "transformed" the movie channel by moving away from classic films toward more contemporary fare.

Faking It in a New Job

The original Joe Millionaire, Evan Marriott, is joining Game Show Network to host new weekly reality show Fake-a-Date. The series, slated to debut in March, will challenge a contestant to pick between two suitors, one looking for a relationship and the other "faking it" to try to win.


The late local news of CBS owned KCNC-TV Denver was in second place in Nielsen ratings in the November sweeps period referred to in a story and chart (11/24, p. 46), which gave incorrect data about the station's ranking. ...

The WB averages 4.2 million viewers. Information in our Top 25 Networks report (12/1, p. 34) undercounted its audience, although that doesn't affect its ranking (No. 18), which is based on revenue. Also, Jamie Kellner remains as chairman until the end of the season.

A Market Focus story (12/1, p. 25) about Flint, Mich., should have noted that in total-day ratings WJRT-TV won the May 2003 and November 2002 sweeps. Broadcasting & Cable relied on a 9 a.m.-midnight Nielsen calculation of the total day provided by BIA Research rather than a more inclusive 6 a.m.-2 a.m. tabulation.

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