News Articles

The week that was

9/30/2001 08:00:00 PM Eastern

THE DOWNER CHANNEL

AOL Time Warner
sliced its financial forecast last week, saying that the fallout from the terrorist attacks would cost the company $1 billion-$2 billion. Rather than increasing 2001 revenues 12-15% to $40 billion, AOL's looking at 5-7% growth to $38 billion-$38.7 billion. Cash flow will only grow 20% to $9.9 billion instead of the 29% or $11 billion AOL had been promising. The company acknowledged that numbers had been turning downward even before the Sept. 11 attacks. ...

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Fritz Hollings
(D-S.C.) postponed an Oct. 3 hearing on copyrighting digital content until later in the month. Since the terrorist attacks, the committee has been swamped with work on aviation and other related issues. ...

C-SPAN
said it will postpone the second half of its American Writers
series until the spring, because of the attacks. "C-SPAN needs to dedicate our complete editorial attention to providing long-form coverage of the national response to this serious situation," a network spokeswoman said. …

Financiers last week painted a grim picture of chances for broadcasters seeking funding, especially for television stations. "It's very challenging out there right now, former FCC Chairman William Kennard
told members of the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters
in Washington. "We've been hit with consolidation in radio and TV and a weak economy, which got even weaker after the Sept. 11 attacks." Kennard is now a managing director for the Carlyle Group investment firm.

CHUTES AND LADDERS

Hallmark Channel
chief Margaret Loesch
will not renew her contract as president and chief executive officer of Crown Media U.S. and will be departing the company next month. Loesch said she wanted to spend more time with her family.

She took charge of what was then the Odyssey Channel
in 1998 after Hallmark Cards' Crown Media took control and moved to convert it from a religious and entertainment network into more of a straight entertainment channel, rebranding it Hallmark Channel in August. She will be replaced by Lana E. Corbi, currently COO of Crown Media Holdings and formerly president of network distribution for Fox Broadcasting. ... Robb Dalton
has been named president of programming and production at
Twentieth Television.
The move reunites Dalton with his former colleague, Twentieth Television President Bob Cook. …

Latinos are playing only eight recurring roles on prime time broadcast television this season, according to a report issued by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts
and Children Now. That's 2% of total prime time and down from 14 roles last season. ...

After selling Fox Family
to ABC
for $5.3 billion, Fox may launch a digital net for repurposed programming, tentatively called Fox Classic
(or perhaps the reverse) and show old programs from Twentieth Century Fox
like M*A*S* H. But a Fox spokesman said that there were no concrete plans for a new net. ...

Insiders say top CBS station executives are lobbying hard for the folks at Buena Vista
to let Regis Philbin
do double duty as host of the syndicated as well as the network version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
The syndicated strip is cleared on several CBS O&O's for 2002. At press time, Buena Vista had no comment.

BACK TO OUR REALITY

Terrorist attacks continue to be big competition for a lot of entertainment-related syndicated programming. By contrast, some day-and-date syndicated newsmagazines have gotten a boost from the appetite for up-to-the-minute news. For example, category leader Entertainment Tonight
scored a 6.0 rating/11 share and Inside Edition
recorded a strong 3.9/9 in the Nielsen weighted-metered markets for the period ending Sept. 21 (the week following the attacks). For ET, that was an 11% boost from its performance this time last year. And Inside Edition
was up 15%. …

CORRECTION

Bruce Casino
is vice president of cable and ancillary sales at Studios USA Domestic Television Distribution.
His name was missing in a listing of executives in the Syndication on cable
special report in the Sept. 24 issue.

September
October