The Powell dynasty
While FCC Chairman Michael Powell is in charge of what TV pumps into America's living rooms, his sisters Linda and Annemarie are clawing their way up in the biz. Annemarie Powell, 30, a rising TV producer, co-owns Jumbolaya Productions. Projects include NBC's upcoming reality series Lost
and ESPN's Sidelines, which follows the Texas A&M football team. She hosted TBS' War Games
in March and got her start with Larry King Live
and Nightline. She says her business is not affected by her brother's position, noting she doesn't directly work for any network. Her thoughts on TV: "You can be classy and entertaining, too. I think that matches what my brother thinks."
Linda Powell, 36, is an actress who has appeared on Law & Order
and Sex and the City
and on stage. She's repped by Don Buchwald & Associates, which also handles FCC nemesis Howard Stern.—A.R.
UPN on 'flip' patrol
In an effort to flip WB affiliates to their side, UPN executives are circulating a presentation that argues that UPN's slightly older-skewing demo profile, described as a balance of men and women 18-34 and 18-49, is better for attracting local-station advertising than The WB's 12-34, weighted toward females.
"That's not a bad national business, but ultimately local business comes from older demos," says UPN COO Adam Ware. UPN's older profile is also more compatible with the syndication programming that tends to lead in and out of prime time, he argues. Ware and his staff are currently talking to WB stations covering about 2% of the U.S.
One of the stations is WHCP(TV) Portsmouth, Ohio. The WB says that UPN's pitch is full of holes because stations that have recently defected to the WB—in Syracuse, N.Y.; Hartford, Conn.; and Waco, Texas—are doing better in just the demographic profile Ware is talking about and that ratings in key demos have dropped for two stations that switched from The WB to UPN: Providence, R.I., and Columbus, Ohio.—S.M.
Broadcasters already have at least one congressional supporter for their pitch to reduce digital-TV stations' operating hours to save money during the early stages of the transition to digital. Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) has been working on a legislative proposal that would allow California DTV stations to run reduced hours to save power in the energy-challenged state.
Green had considered offering the amendment to a larger energy package now being put together in the House but pulled it from consideration during a committee vote. He may bring it back up for debate after Congress' August recess.—P.A.
Not in my backyard
Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo is the latest scenic-vista-state lawmaker threatening legislation to strip the FCC of its authority to preempt local zoning laws. The issue: digital tower-siting spats. In a meeting with FCC officials, the two-term Republican promised to join with other lawmakers in backing the idea unless the agency dismisses a petition by Denver-area broadcasters to locate a digital-TV tower in his district.
The Jefferson County Commission rejected broadcasters' request to locate a "super tower" on Lookout Mountain, but broadcasters petitioned the FCC to overrule it. Tancredo said the petition gives broadcasters unfair leverage to force the county to accept a modified plan now in the works, rather than searching for a new site. Despite the pressure, the FCC staffers said the petition would remain under review, though they try to stay out of zoning disputes.—B.M.