Two media activist groups have filed a petition with the FCC to deny license renewals to two Washington, D.C., TV stations for "failure to serve the educational needs of children." Paxson's WPXW and Fox-owned UPN affiliate WDCA
are the first to face such a challenge since the FCC adopted kids-TV quotas in 1996.
The accused shows, Ace Lightning and Stargate Infinity, are part of a three-hour block of children's programming that DIC Entertainment supplies to 430 stations to meet kids-programming requirements. Under the FCC guidelines, stations must carry three hours of educational children's shows per week. The challenge comes as the FCC is set to rule that broadcasters will have to average three hours of educational children's programming on each of their digital multicast channels, as well as their primary digital channel.
In their petition, United Church of Christ and the Center for Digital Democracy argue that Miracle Pets (WPXW) and Ace Lightning and Stargate Infinity (WDCA) do not meet the FCC standard. Thus, they say, the stations failed to meet their quota.
"We're going to be looking at other stations as licenses come up," says former FCC Commissioner Gloria Tristani. DIC CEO Andy Heyward says his shows were supervised by educational researcher Don Roberts, former chair of Stanford University's communications department.
Fine Living President Ken Solomon is leaving the network he helped launch two years ago. John MacDonald, senior vice president of business operations and acquisitions for the network, takes over as acting general manager. He'll work closely with Fine Living programming chief Charles Segars.
FCC veteran Jane Mago is replacing Jack Goodman as senior vice president and general counsel of the National Association of Broadcasters. Mago, general counsel of the FCC from 2001 to 2003, was most recently head of the commission's Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis.
Fox won its legal showdown with NBC over boxing reality show The Next Great Champ.
But now an independent producer is suing the show, alleging its producers stole the idea from her. Leigh Ann Burton, a 33-year-old TV producer, filed a complaint in a Los Angeles civil court against boxer Oscar De la Hoya and his Golden Boy Productions. She claims she developed the concept for a reality show about unknown boxers slugging it out for a Las Vegas bout, registered the show treatment with the Writers Guild and pitched it to Golden Boy.
The Initiative report on the new fall broadcast season (Advertising, 8/30, page 14) was prepared by sister company Magna Global USA.