A killing on Carrie
One way to save on the promotion budget is to let the competition do some of the advance work. After NBC premiered its heavily promoted new version of Stephen King's Carrie
for November sweeps last Monday night, TNT decided it was time to dust off the original. The cable net ran the movie last Wednesday night. The scheduling was definitely an effort to "capitalize on NBC's remake," said a TNT spokeswoman.—P.A.
FCC's odd five
In the FCC's proposed new EEO requirements, a cable or satellite provider with five full-time employees is exempt from some of the reporting requirements. A broadcaster with five employees isn't.
What's the difference? Educated guessers suggest that, somewhere along the way, someone read "five or fewer" and translated it as "fewer than five," or maybe it was the other way around.
Why perpetuate it in new rules? For one thing, according to the FCC, no one complained that the discrepancy should be fixed. For another, it appears to have been the will of the FCC's quirky boss—the Congress—as drafted in two different statutes.—J.E.
HBO hasn't left Wives
To quote Yogi Berra: It ain't over 'til it's over. That's the word from HBO on its upcoming drama Baseball Wives. Despite reports last week that it had sent the series to the showers, the network says Baseball Wives
is still alive. Presumably, HBO is doing some tinkering on the 13-episode series, a fictional look inside the steamier side of a major-league baseball team. So far, only the pilot is completed, and production has yet to start. The show, from producers Barry Levinson, Jim Finnerty and Oz
creator Tom Fontana, may still be on the roster, but a 2003 start looks doubtful.—A.R.
Net gains for PBS
PBS.org had its biggest month ever last month, with a whopping 218 million page views, besting the old record by 6 million views and rising 84% over October 2001.
Kids shows have been big traffic drivers, says Kevin Dando, director of education and online communications, as have Ken Burns properties, including The Civil War and Lewis & Clark (PBS is showcasing the Burns library this fall). Also adding is the influx since September of traffic to sites aimed at teachers.
AOL gets a share of the credit, too. PBS is in the last year of a three-year barter/cross-promotion deal in which AOL promotes the site on its welcome screen and on one of its Web "channels."—J.E.
Bucks stop here
The extension of the lucrative political season by the Louisiana runoff for the U.S. Senate between Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (above) and Republican Suzanne Terrell isn't the political ad windfall TV execs wanted. "I expected more activity right after the election," said Rocky Daboval, sales chief for ABC affiliate WBRZ(TV) Baton Rouge. Maybe that's because the GOP already reclaimed the Senate majority without Louisiana. "If we were to be the deciding state, there would be more activity by now."
An estimated $9 million-plus has already been spent on the Senate campaign. But no one's yet booked space for the Dec. 7 runoff. The longer the campaigns wait, the less stations benefit, particularly in light of inventory tightening as it gets closer to the holiday season.—D.T.