Fast Track


Indecency on the Hill

The Senate last week approved a raft of indecency-related amendments to a non-related Defense Department appropriations bill, including one that, if it survived, would invalidate the FCC's June 2 rewrite of media-ownership regs. The amendment was voted on before the Philadelphia appeals courts threw out those rules last Thursday (see page 4).

The amendment, from Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), raised FCC fines for indecency. That amendment and one from Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) making those fines proportionate to market size/ability to pay passed 99-1 (Louisiana Democrat John Breaux was the only holdout). Then came the add-ons. Those included an amendment creating a TV-violence "safe harbor" and another provision to roll back ownership limits to 35%. The House version of the defense bill has no indecency provisions. In the conference to reconcile the bills, the entire amendment could be dropped, changed or substituted with a House bill that is actually tougher.

Bloom Gets a Murrow Award

Among the individual winners of the Radio-Television News Directors Association Edward R. Murrow Awards named last week was NBC's David Bloom (below), who died at age 39 from a pulmonary embolism while embedded with troops in Iraq. CBS News took three TV and five radio awards, topping the list of honorees. CBS won for overall excellence, but ABC's World News Tonight was named top newscast. KCNC Denver won for top local newscast; KARE Minneapolis, for overall excellence. In small-market TV, WSAV Savannah, Ga., and KCCI Des Moines, Iowa, received those awards.

Fully Programmable

CBS has landed Mark Burnett's latest reality project, the search for a new lead singer of Australian rock band INXS. Insiders say the network is giving up some 30-second spots that Burnett can sell to advertisers, packaged with product-placement perks.

UPN has picked up The Bad Girl's Guide, based on a book by that title, starring Jenny McCarthy, for midseason.

Don't Show Caskets, Senate Says

The Senate voted 52-38 last week to approve a "sense of the Senate" resolution supporting the Pentagon ban on media coverage of the return of deceased U.S. military personnel. The amendment had been introduced by Sen. John Warner (R. Va.).

She's a Winner, We Report

Candice Mitchell, graduate of Clark Atlanta University, is this year's Emma Bowen Foundation 2004 Student of the Year. She is currently working as an associate producer at Fox's WBRC Birmingham, Ala. This marks the third straight year a Fox-sponsored student won.

Legally Speaking

A U.S. District Court ruled that Steven Bochco Productions' drama City of Angels did not infringe on copyrights. CBS briefly ran the hospital drama featuring a minority cast in 2000. Jerome and Laurie Metcalf claimed it infringed on their unpublished screenplays. A district court initially supported their claim.

The Securities and Exchange Commission will get $10 million from Gemstar-TV Guide International. The company agreed to pay the fine to resolve an investigation into past accounting practices. The SEC slammed previous management, including ousted CEO Henry Yuen its lack of cooperation or remedial efforts.


News Corp. is exploring sponsoring an event at Boston's Fenway Park during the Democratic Convention. A table accompanying the story "Party Animals" [6/21, page 46] said Fox News was the sponsor.