News Articles

The week that was

3/17/2002 07:00:00 PM Eastern

THE MORE YOU KNOW

NBC
will quadruple its license payment to co-owned NBC Enterprises
for
Will & Grace
and has renewed the hit comedy for three more seasons. Although the increase looks like out of one pocket into the other, much of it goes to the stars. NBC will pay $4 million per episode through the 2004-05 season, about four times what it pays now. ...

Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly
gets his own radio show on Westwood One
May 8. The Radio Factor With BillO'Reilly
will air weekdays noon to 2 p.m. ET. ...

The critics sure didn't like it, but Fox's Celebrity Boxing
special Wednesday night connected with viewers. The hour show featuring Tonya Harding
vs. Paula Jones
attracted 15.5 million viewers and a 7.1 rating/17 share in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was Fox's best showing for Wednesday 9 p.m. ET/PT in over a year. ...

Cable signed up 15.2 million digital subscribers, 7.2 million broadband subscribers and 1.5 million telephone customers in 2001, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Cable operators now offer broadband service to 70 million households; about 10% subscribe. Digital video cable services grew most, adding 1.5 million customers in the fourth quarter. ...

Web site The Smoking Gun.com
points out that, when ABC
aired the 1971 James Bond
film Diamonds Are Forever
on March 2, the television version hung digitally added black bra straps on the previously bare-backed Bond girl, Plenty O'Toole. MGM,
the film producer, also colorized her light-colored panties to match the bra straps.

THE NAME GAME

Richard E. Wiley, the former FCC
chairman and champion of high-definition television, will get the National Association of Broadcasters' Distinguished Service Award
at this year's NAB
convention opener on April 8. …

Forty-year ad-agency veteran Mike Drexler
will replace Gene DeWitt
as president and CEO of Optimedia. DeWitt, as previously reported, is leaving to head the Syndicated Network Television Association. Drexler is currently executive vice president of Mediasmith New York
and was formerly executive vice president and media director for FCB Worldwide. …

Former Little House on the Prairie
star Melissa Gilbert
became the new president of the Screen Actors Guild,
again. It took two elections, but she beat former prime time star Valerie Harper
for the second time in less than three months. Gilbert received 57% of the vote, Harper 34%. Actor Elliott Gould
was elected recording secretary; Kent McCord
was voted SAG treasurer.

CORRECTIONS

Tribune Co. President and Chief Operating Officer Dennis FitzSimons
was mis-identified and his name spelled incorrectly in the March 11 issue, page 30. ...

On page A26 in the March 11 issue, the Web site devoted to radio history should have been Radioremembered.org.

March