News Articles

The week that was

6/16/2002 08:00:00 PM Eastern

ECHOSTAR, FOX BATTLE OVER CARRIAGE

Subscribers to EchoStar's DISH
network in 19 markets may lose their Fox
signals if EchoStar and Fox Broadcasting cannot come to carriage terms for Fox's owned-and-operated stations. EchoStar's current deal with Fox expires June 30, and. if there's no deal, EchoStar will begin charging local-package customers in those markets $1 less per month until the situation is resolved. …

ABC Family
inked a new multi-year carriage deal with Charter Communications
for its 6.8 million subscribers. The channel's distribution has been a source of angst since Disney acquired it last October. Many of ABC Family's contracts are up for renewal or have expired and a very public carriage dispute with EchoStar
earlier this year generated unwanted publicity. …

ABC
lobbyists last week asked the FCC
to pressure Nielsen
to stop bypassing HDTV homes, which aren't rated. Although Nielsen's digital measuring system is still in the testing phase, the company says there's no reason for the networks to get worked up because a stopgap solution incorporating parts of the new digital system in the current analog one will be introduced by the end of the year. Nielsen says only four of the 30,000 homes sampled last year were uncounted because they had gone to HDTV. …

Dennis Swanson, president and general manager of WNBC(TV)
New York,said last week that one of the key lessons Sept. 11 should have taught the industry is the need for redundant communications facilities in Gotham. Swanson said that, after the Twin Towers fell, taking with them a host of TV-station towers including his own, he was often asked why he didn't have backup facilities. He did, he responded, but they were also housed at the World Trade Center. Swanson was on a panel as part of NAB's Service to America Summit in Washington.

SYNDIE SYNOPSIS

For the week ended June 2, the syndication story was Maury. For the first time this season, Maury Povich's talk show unseated Live With Regis and Kelly
as the No. 2 talker behind Oprah
—despite the fact that Maury
was in repeats for four of those five days while the Regis and Kelly
lineup was all-new.

It was the first post-sweeps week and included Memorial Day, the latter of which boosted most shows' Monday performances. For the week, Maury
was up 10% over the prior week, to a 3.4 according to Nielsen, and up 6% from the same week last year. Maury
was the only talker, in fact, to boost its year-to-year performance for the week. Regis and Kelly, which had been No. 2 every week since the season began, was down 6% to a 3.3, tying its season low. Top talker Oprah
was down 5% to a 5.5 and down 10% from last year at this time. …

It may be wedding season, but Divorce Court
was the biggest gainer among court shows, up 7% to a 2.9 and up 16% over last year. That's also the biggest year-to-year bump for any court show.

Among rookies in syndication, Texas Justice
was the biggest gainer by a Texas-sized margin, up 15% to a 2.3, which led all new first-runs and tied its highest rating of the year. Texas Justice
has now been first or tied for first for 20 out of its 21 weeks (Crossing Over With John Edward
won the other).

PROGRAMMABLE

MSNBC
is reuniting former CNN Crossfire
combatants conservative commentator Pat Buchanan
and liberal analyst Bill Press
for a new afternoon show. Buchanan and Press will host a show from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on MSNBC beginning July 15, the day MSNBC also migrates to its new prime time talk format. A second mid-day addition is New York talk-radio duo Curtis Sliwa
and Ron Kuby, who will be anchoring their own show from noon to 2 p.m. ET beginning June 17. …

Nielsen Media Research
will make Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C.-Asheville, N.C.-Anderson, S.C.
(DMA No. 36) the 55th market to be measured using set-tuning meters, beginning in October 2002. …

NBC
is teaming up with Palm Pilot/Pocket PC
content-delivery company Mazingo
to promote the network's fall schedule on handheld personal digital assistants (PDAs). A free download of Mazingo's software (www.mazingo.net) will allow PDA users to access video clips from NBC's five new fall shows. …

American Movie Classics
tapped Rob Sorcher
as its new senior VP of programming and production. Sorcher most recently was EVP and GM of USA Network. …

Univision's Spanish-language WXTV(TV)
New York found itself the center of media attention after it got an exclusive interview with the sister of accused "dirty bomb" detainee Jose Padilla. After its 6 p.m. newscast last Monday reported on Padilla's detention, WXTV received a call from his sister, who had just learned of the terrorism charge by watching the station's newscast. Anchor Olga Alvarez
met with her, confirmed her identity, interviewed her for the 11 p.m. news and obtained a picture from her of Padilla in Arab garb.

March