FX could play an important supporting role in the TV life of two new Fox series. FX executives have been in talks with Fox brass to be the second home for a pair of unorthodox new shows, 24
and Nathan's Choice. Starring Kiefer Sutherland, 24
is the tale of a CIA team that uncovers a plot to kill a presidential nominee. The series is set over the course of one day, with each episode covering one hour. An extra weekly play on FX could help ensure that viewers keep up to speed on the show. As for Nathan's Choice, expected to be a midseason pickup, the interactive comedy allows the audience to choose between two possible outcomes. With Nathan's Choice, which is from Warner Bros., FX would be the home for the outcome not seen on Fox.—J.S.
Laura: Read, don't watch
First Lady Laura Bush says parents "just need to turn off the TV and read themselves, and read to their children." Before reading that statement as a knock on TV, however, it's best to remember that Bush is a former librarian and to know that she was being interviewed for the American Writers
series on Book TV, C-Span's weekend programming block.
In the interview—airing tonight at 8 on C-SPAN—Bush tells Book TV Senior Executive Producer Connie Brod that she has seen, but never read, an e-book and says she likes the feel of the real thing, which she also would prefer for reading in the bathtub. For safety reasons, we've got to go along with her there.—J.E.
You are the strongest host
After considering Ellen DeGeneres and Survivor
winner Richard Hatch to front the upcoming syndicated version of Weakest Link,
appears to have its sights set on name recognition. It ain't necessarily so, according to one source. A showbiz newcomer "has emerged as a strong candidate" to fill the Anne Robinson role.
distributor NBC Enterprises is still in the process of auditioning wannabes, and insiders expect a host officially in place by September so production can get rolling Oct. 1. The Weakest Link
strip launches in January 2002.—S.A.
Cable CAP draft done
The FCC's Cable Services Bureau has completed a first draft of proposed changes to cable ownership limits. The agency was ordered to revamp its cable ownership rules after federal judges said the current 30% cap on one company's share of pay-TV subscribers had no justification.
The draft, circulated to other agency bureaus for input, doesn't recommend a specific target but suggests that the commission will ask for public comment on what the correct limit should be or whether there should be a limit at all. The proposal will be released at the FCC's Aug. 9 public meeting.—B.M.
Changing Headline news
Look for CNN to take the wraps off its remade Headline News
at the TV critics tour in Pasadena this Wednesday. When the format is relaunched later this summer, look for more breaking news, better graphics and an edge.
The 24-hour-news channel's makeover is part of Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner's strategy to spice up its news coverage, court a younger demo and combat inroads from upstart Fox News. Sources say to look for more live reports, less repetition in each half-hour, and more correspondents, including an expanded news desk regularly featuring two or more anchors.
Recent anchor hires have mirrored the push for a more youthful feel, including former NYPD Blue
actress-turned-broadcast-journalist Andrea Thompson, last week's addition of Newsweek
reporter Alisha Davis and Fox News' Kris Osburn.—A.R.