News Articles

The week that was

5/05/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern

BREAKING NEWS: EXIT SIGNS AT UPN

UPN
isn't talking, but look for more senior-level executive exits at the network. Bob Bouknight, senior vice president, creative advertising, is out. Meanwhile, David England, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Steve Carlston, executive vice president, affiliate relations, are on thin ice, according to sources.

Many UPN positions are being eliminated as part of the continuing intergration of UPN and CBS
operations.

"These are all very good people," said a somewhat saddened snoop. "But ultimately, CBS wants its own team in place."

AND NOW THE NEWS

Will Smith
and James Lassiter's Overbrook Entertainment
are producing a daily half-hour pilot, Good News
,
for syndication through Studios USA Domestic Television, for the 2003-04 season. It will concentrate on the heroic stories of everyday people who endure despite extraordinary circumstances (much like the awe-inspiring staff of a fine television business magazine, when we stop to think about it). ...

Game Show Network
inked carriage deals with Charter, Comcast
and AT&T Broadband
that will drive the channel's distribution past 45 million homes. Game Show is picking up Comcast's Philadelphia system; Charter subs in St. Louis; and AT&T Broadband Salt Lake City, among other markets. …

Matt Lauer
has re-upped at NBC's Today Show
for three more years at a reported $8 million a year—about twice what he was making but still $5 million a year less than the deal his colleague Katie Couric
made earlier this year. ...

Joe Buck, Chris Collinsworth
and Troy Aikman
are Fox's first-string NFL announcing team this season, with Buck doing play by play. Fox is adopting a three-man booth to replace the John Madden-Pat Summerall
duo that broke up in the off season. Summerall retired; Madden has jumped to ABC's Monday NightFootball
. ... Separately, Fox News
renewed Tony Snow's contract to continue hosting his Sunday-morning news-and-commentary program, to be retitled Fox News Sunday With Tony Snow
. ...

Legendary ad buyer Paul Schulman, president of AdvanswersNew York
and a sharp interpreter of network scheduling spin, is retiring after 42 years in the business.

WASHINGTON WATCH

The House Energy and Commerce Committee
last week unanimously approved a bill that would indefinitely delay the FCC's auction of the 700 MHz spectrum, which is used by broadcasters on ch. 52-59 and 60-69. The FCC is scheduled to auction that spectrum in June and still intends to hold the auctions, even though the Bush administration
is pushing hard for a delay. ...

Rep. Ed Markey
(D-Mass.) introduced the "Wireless Technology Investment and Digital Dividends Act,"
which proposes to take proceeds from spectrum auctions and create a public trust fund. The fund would support investments in telecommunications that advance such causes as teacher training, educational-software development and distance learning. It also would help bridge the digital divide.

FINAL WORDS

Say goodbye to ABC-TV's "yellow" campaign (or what's left of it, anyway). ABC has hired Chicago-based Leo Burnett
to develop a new on-air ad campaign for the struggling network. The current campaign was created in-house at ABC, and the network is said to want a new creative ad package to kick off the 2002-03 season. ...

Discovery Networks
is moving forward with plans to eliminate credit rolls from some of its programming, but the decision will be up to show producers. Discovery contends that 30% of its viewers defect from its channels when credits begin. It proposes replacing credits with a production-company logo and posting long-form credits on its Web site.

IN PASSING

John Rohrbeck, head of NBC
's owned-stations group 1991-97, died April 27 at the age of 62 in Manhattan, from bladder cancer. Rohrbeck, while general manager of Washington's WRC-TV,
developed The McLaughlin Group
and, while general manager of KNBC(TV)
Los Angeles, greatly expanded the station's news presence in the market.

CORRECTIONS

Marketplace, produced by Minnesota Public Radio
in association with the University of Southern California, was misidentified in an April 8 story. …

WKPT-TV
Kingsport, Tenn.'s digital signal transmits at 5.4 kW. Its power level was incorrectly stated in an April 15 article.

October
November