Fast Track - Broadcasting & Cable

Fast Track

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Swept Away

November sweeps kicked off last Thursday, and Fox entered the month in the lead in adults 18-49 with a 4.7 rating/13 share after closing out the top-rated Major League Baseball playoffs since 1995.

NBC was in second place with a 4.3/12 but was likely to keep its 18-49 crown by the time sweeps wraps up because Fox's scripted schedule hasn't premiered with as much oomph as the network had hoped. Even the third-season premiere of 24 opened last week with mixed results, barely winning the hour in adults 18-49 and losing the first half-hour to ABC's surprisingly strong According to Jim. Conversely, 24 helped Fox win the night in adults 18-34 and men 18-34 and 18-49.

Some sweeps highlights: CBS's celebration of its 75th anniversary on Nov. 2; ABC's Nov. 4 one-hour "very special episode" of 8 Simple Rules, in which the Hennessy family mourns the loss of family patriarch, Paul, who was played by the late John Ritter; CBS's The Reagans miniseries Nov. 16 and 17; the wedding of BacheloretteTrista Rehn and Ryan Sutter on ABC in a three-part special starting Nov. 26; and Justin Timberlake and Shania Twain specials on NBC on Nov. 25 and 26, respectively.

Meanwhile, although no big hits have emerged this fall, ABC late last week gave full-season orders to all of its new comedies for the second season in a row and also picked up dramas Threat Matrix and 10-8 for the full season. That leaves only Dick Wolf's L.A. Dragnet and Karen Sisco among ABC's new shows without assurances that they will go on, although ABC has ordered four additional scripts of Karen Sisco. NBC late last week also ordered five more episodes of Miss Match.(Early last week, CBS gave full-season orders for all but one of its new series; see page 16.)

People Meeter

Comedian Dennis Miller is joining CNBC to host an hour-long nightly talk show debuting in January, with Miller serving as executive producer. That's the first major move by CNBC chief Pamela Thomas-Graham since she took the reins for prime last month. ...

Eddie Fritts took the stage at Philadelphia's Temple University last week to explain the National Association of Broadcasters' support for—and opposition to—industry deregulation. The NAB president insisted that "modest" deregulation, like lifting the national radio-ownership cap, is fine but retaining the 35% national TV cap "played a big role in the diverse programming choices now available." His talk inaugurated an annual lecture series endowed by NAB Education Foundation President Chuck Sherman and wife Elaine. ...

Bob Smith passed away on Oct. 28 at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. He was head of Smith Broadcasting Group, which owns and operates television stations in New York, California, Vermont and Alaska.

Correction

KSTP-TV is the ABC affiliate in Minneapolis. The Oct 27 Market Focus misidentified its network affiliation. Also, the article suggested KSTP-TV had not replaced Ed Piette as its general manager. In fact, the station says Rob Hubbard, president of Hubbard Television Co., has also assumed the GM post there. ...

Also the Oct. 27 article " 'Flag' May Be Raised Soon; Not All Salute It" on page 8 should have stated that the FCC will not prohibit copying of broadcast programming for personal use.

Very Smart TV

Elizabeth Smart and her parents appeared on a recent Katie Couric prime time special, and then, a few days later, The Oprah Winfrey Show
visited the Smart family home. Last Wednesday, the family guested on CNN's Larry King. The family's first stop was a CBS News special on Oct. 18. For those who have not yet gotten enough, CBS's movie, starring Amber Marshall (left), based on Elizabeth Smart's kidnapping and recovery will this Sunday, Nov. 9—against NBC's commercial-free movie Saving Jessica Lynch.

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