News Articles

Fast Track

2/23/2003 07:00:00 PM Eastern

Not Indecent

The FCC's Enforcement Bureau last week rescinded a $7,000 fine levied on KBOO-FM
Portland, Ore., for airing the Sarah Jones rap song "Your Revolution."

The bureau concluded in May 2001 that the song was indecent and assessed the fine. The station and Jones appealed, arguing that the song, in context, was not actionably indecent. The singer had also challenged the decision. The song contains sexually explicit passages that condemn prevalent attitudes about sexual liberty as little more than a license for male sexual conquest. It aired during a program examining sociopolitical attitudes.

The bureau said last week that, although the song indisputably described sexual activity and had thus "warranted scrutiny," it also concluded that it was wrong to find the song indecent because "the sexual descriptions in the song are not sufficiently graphic to warrant sanction." It also said that the fact that Jones performs the song at high school assemblies was a mitigating factor. KBOO-FM Station Manager Dennise Kowalczyk said she is "thrilled with the decision."

News From Everywhere

TNT
captured top marks in last week's cable ratings battle, edging out USA Network. For the week of Feb. 10-16, TNT notched an average 2.2 prime time rating with 2.6 million viewers. USA followed with a 2.1 rating in prime and 2.6 million viewers. USA happily went to the dogs, getting a leg up from its Westminster Kennel Club dog show coverage. On Feb. 11, the show posted a 4.2 rating, after turning in a 3.2 rating a day earlier. ...

UPN
has officially picked up a sitcom executive-produced by Betsy Borns
and movie-star couple Will Smith
and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Slated for next fall, the show is inspired by the Smiths' life together, in which they are raising their own kids and his child from a former marriage, with a lot of help from his ex-wife. …

ABC
is picking up two comedy pilots with celebrities attached. One stars former Playmate Jenny McCarthy; the other is executive-produced by Home Improvement star Tim Allen. In the former project, from Touchstone Television, McCarthy plays an heiress who loses all her money. The latter, These Guys, is about four men facing marriage, parenthood, dating and divorce. It's produced by Carsey-Werner-Mandabach. …

Fox NEWS
correspondent Greg Palkot
last week was ordered out of Iraq following the U.S.'s expulsion of a New York-based Iraqi News Agency
reporter. Initially, all four members of the team around Palkot were told to leave, but the government has since allowed three technicians to remain. Fox will continue to appeal to the Iraqi government. …

Talk-show host Dr. Phil McGraw's live appearance on CBS's Late Show With David Letterman brought the show its best ratings since Sept. 17, 2001, its return following the Sept. 11 tragedy. (Letterman has regularly been mocking McGraw's overheated rhetoric.) The Late Show
scored a 6.3 rating/15 share in the 55 Nielsen metered markets, beating The Tonight Show With Jay Leno for the first time since Feb. 21, 2000, when Letterman returned to the air after undergoing heart surgery.

Clarification

In the Feb. 17 Syndication Watch, Maury was inadvertently omitted from the list of top five talk shows in adults 18-34. It ranked first.

Jay Schneider, senior vice president, Production, Operations and Engineering Services, at Discovery Communications, who appears in this week's NAB Sellers Guide on page 40, left the company late last week. His replacement is Marcos Obadia, senior vice president, Discovery Production Group.

Chance Encounter

On assignment in Kuwait, CBS's Dan Rather (l, above) last week was reunited with the kid who tried to steal his car from a Fort Worth parking lot a dozen years ago. The commander of a U.S. helicopter squad heard of now-27-year-old gunner Tamarch Thompson's run-in with Rather and brought the two together. At the time of the car incident, Rather refused to press charges and instead lectured Thompson about "choosing another path."

March