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In the Loop

6/20/2004 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Items:

Anchor's Away

Beasties in TV Land

Under Fire

Anchor's Away

Will Farrell's character in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy bears a striking physical resemblance to KCBS Los Angeles anchor Harold Greene. In the 1970s, Greene really was "San Diego's No. 1 News Anchor" at KGTV. And they both have color-wheel names.

As for Farrell's over-the-top, anchorboob, well, that's where the similarities end. Greene wasn't involved in production of the film and first saw Farrell as the blow-dried, alpha-male Burgundy in a movie trailer.

"My wife grabbed my arm, and I said, 'Oh, no! I've been had!'" A professed Farrell fan, Greene says he's going to see the film as soon as possible. But in disguise.

Director Adam McKay, a Saturday Night Live veteran who co-wrote the film with Farrell, claims he's never heard of Greene. "Maybe Will knows him," he offers. But he and Farrell did consult Jack White, Greene's on-air colleague at KGTV. According to McKay, Burgundy is an amalgam of many anchors. Right.

"These guys were like priests," White says. They had legendary status, "but they were kind of the same everywhere."

Greene doesn't care. He says he's flattered if Burgundy is based on him. "If you don't laugh at yourself," says the 38-year broadcasting vet, "you're not going to last as long as I have in television."

Anchorman
hits theaters July 9.

Beasties in TV Land

The Beastie Boys' new album, To the 5 Boroughs, is a valentine to their hometown, New York. But just 30 seconds into the first radio single, "Ch-Check It Out," the Beasties give a shout-out to a favorite cable network. "I'm a m__f__ing Nick at Nite," raps Mike D, using the king-daddy of all curse words. "With classics running that you know all right."

Nick at Nite spokesperson Paul Ward says the network was "thrilled" to be included in the song. "Both Nick at Nite and the Beastie Boys have been around for two decades," he says, adding that they share the same demos. "The Beastie Boys represent our viewer's idea of classic music."

In the same song, another unlikely hip-hop hero: "Like Lorne Greene, you know I get paid." For the uninitiated—and fans too young to remember—the album's liner notes provide a disclosure of Greene's income sources: Bonanza, Battlestar Galactica, and, yes, Alpo.

Under Fire

Lauren Zalaznick is fighting to keep NBC Universal from shutting down her prized cable network, Trio. NBC brass said they would hold off deciding the fate of the cult network when they completed their $14 billion takeover of Vivendi Universal Entertainment in May.

Zalaznick, who supervised Trio under VUE, so impressed NBC Universal Television Group President Jeff Zucker, he gave her the reigns of both Trio and NBC's Bravo. But some NBC executives worry that Trio's lean viewership and distribution don't justify heroic measures to keep it alive.

Zucker says he expects a decision to be made by the end of the summer. NBC execs see a range of options. They could cut programming and marketing spending to eliminate Trio's red ink. Or beef it up with a $50 million investment. That might call for a different approach to its programming, which focuses heavily on television as pop culture.

But Zalaznick argues there's a place for a highbrow channel in the cable universe, particularly since Bravo shifted from artsy to mainstream fare.

NBC Universal Television Networks Group President Randy Falco said shuttering the 18 million-subscriber channel was an option. But don't count Zalaznick out. "One of the great things about Lauren," one NBC exec says, "is that she never gives up."

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