The week that was

Don't mock us

A coalition of network affiliates seeking FCC
help in ending what it says are abuses by the Big Four nets, told the commission last week that its opponents are misstating and exaggerating NASA's claims in hopes of making them appear ridiculous. The real issue, the Network Affiliated Stations Alliance
said, is local control and diversity of programming. "The networks do not want to apply existing law, but to change it," NASA asserted.

Making moves

Spanish broadcaster Univision Communications
has boosted network President Ray Rodriguez,
adding COO to his title and putting cable's Galavision, startup broadcast network Telefutura
and Univision Sports
under him. ... ABC Entertainment TelevisionGroup
co-Chairman Lloyd Braun
has renewed his contract with the network with a new five-year deal to stay alongside Stu Bloomberg, who re-upped last month. ...

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps
has named Susanna Zwerling
permanent adviser for media and consumer protection. Jordan Goldstein
is now senior legal adviser. Both had been serving in interim capacities. ...

Country Music Television
has tapped music-programming veteran Brian Phillips
to be the Viacom Inc. network's new senior vice president and general manager. Phillips most recently was Susquehanna Broadcasting's director of FM programming in Atlanta and Dallas and, in 2000, was named Billboard's "Major Market Programmer of the Year." ...

The Cartoon Network
has found a successor for longtime GM Betty Cohen, who resigned earlier this summer. Jim Samples, who most recently headed Cartoon's online operation, is taking over as executive vice president and GM and will report to Turner EntertainmentPresident Brad Siegel. Samples is charged with Cartoon's U.S. and international operations, as well as sister net Boomerang.

The universe expands!

There are 3.3 million more TV households this year than last, according to the latest TV-universe figures from Nielsen Media Research. It is the largest growth spurt in TV households since TV's early boom years in the 1950s, according to the ratings service. The 2001-02 TV household universe figure is 105,055,000, which means that each rating point will now be worth 1,055,000 TV households. The new measurement takes effect the broadcast week of Aug. 27-Sept. 2. Nielsen cited use of new data from the 2000 census for what it calls the "atypically large" increase over last year's 102.2 million households.

The networkz

made it 18 straight weeks as the top-rated network in adults 18-49, even without Fear Factor.

NBC averaged a 2.8 rating in adults 18-49 for the week of Aug. 13-19, according to Nielsen Media Research. ABC
won the week in total viewers with a 7.8 million-viewer average. ... CBS, the network with the oldest demographics, will use the seven-month old computer-generated Baby Bob
as its newest spokesman. Baby Bob rose to fame as the chatty spokesman for and will star in his own series on CBS later this year. ...

Michael Ovitz's
financially troubled studio, Artists Television Group
(ATG), won't be able to deliver its reality show, Lost in the U.S.A., to The WB
for fall. In its place, at least for the first third of the season, the network will slate off-TBS
repeats of Columbia TriStar Television Distribution's Ripley's Believe It or Not, perhaps the first time an original cable program has been "repurposed" for a broadcast network. ATG is also scheduled to deliver Ellen DeGeneres's new sitcom to CBS for the fall. Word from CBS is that the show is still a go, although sources say CBS Productions will likely take over production. ...

is dumping Ahead of the Curve, its early-morning business-news show, in favor of a more consumer-oriented program, CNN Money Morning, which begins Sept. 10 and will air on both CNN and CNNfn. ...

Nobody's happier about the return of the football season than the folks at ESPN, where the NFL
preseason has finally let them put some numbers of their own up on the board. After dropping out of the top-10 cable Nielsens for parts of the summer, languishing at a lowly 0.8, the sports network scored a 1.7 thanks to two NFL games in prime, one of which achieved a 4.4. Of course, selling ads in those games is a more difficult proposition. ...

continued its hold on the top slot in prime with a 2.2, and Nickelodeon
and Cartoon Network tied for the No. 2 place with a 1.8. ESPN and TBS
tied for fourth.