Fast Track - Broadcasting & Cable

Fast Track

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Stations Pan FCC Plan

The National Association of Broadcasters has helped generate hundreds of comments slamming an FCC proposal to require stations to archive their programs. The proposal would make it easier for listeners and viewers to file indecency complaints by requiring stations to keep available copies of all their programming for a set period of time. The FCC has suggested 60 to 90 days. The vast majority of the comments, mostly radio stations and many in smaller markets, say the requirement would be prohibitively expensive and could lead to program cutbacks.

Get With the Program

Casting has begun for Fox's Nanny 911, a reality series that follows a team of nannies that counsel exhausted parents on the finer points of child-rearing. Nanny 911, produced by Granada America, is searching for potential nannies and families with children ages 2-9.... Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet is teaming with The Shield creator Shawn Ryan on a drama for CBS. The network has given the project a "put pilot" commitment, meaning that a pilot must be produced or CBS will have to pay a stiff penalty. The show is about the private and professional lives of an elite military anti-terrorism unit, based on the book Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit by Eric Haney.... Kids' WB! will bring two new animated shows to its fall schedule, with seven shows returning. On Saturday, Sept. 11, the new morning lineup debuts, with The Batman premiering at 10:30 a.m. and Da Boom Crew, a hip-hop sci-fi adventure, debuting at 11:30 a.m.

Pay to Play

The attempts by some sports leagues to withhold certain broadband and other rights from their TV deals will affect what ESPN is willing to pay, says network President George Bodenheimer. The National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball are trying to retain certain rights in their TV packages, either for Webcasts or their own basic cable networks. That creates competition for ESPN.

While splitting off ancillary rights may be an acceptable strategy in dealing with other networks, Boden- heimer says it's not the best way to approach ESPN. "We need ancillary rights to grow our existing businesses," he says, "and we need the existing businesses to pay the rights holders."

Bodenheimer is the sports leagues' biggest customer, controlling ESPN's $1.4 billion rights budget, plus ABC's $850 million piggybank.

On the Move

Starz Encore Group President and COO Robert Clasen has picked his replacement. Edward Huguez, former vice president and general manager of new media and interactive programming for major Starz Encore distributor DirecTV and most recently chairman, president and CEO of Midstream Technologies, joins Starz Encore Sept. 1 as executive vice president of sales. He is succeeding Clasen in the top sales post.... Bruce Taub has been named executive vice president of operations for all the Viacom divisions that report to Les Moonves, co-president and co-COO of Viacom and chairman of CBS.

Syndication Revenues Soar

Syndicated TV revenues showed the biggest percentage increase in the second quarter, up 18.4% from second-quarter 2003, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising. Local TV station ad revenues were up 8.3% in the second quarter, and network TV revenues were up 4.7%. For the three categories combined, the increase was 7.1%. The dollar totals for the quarter: Network TV had $6,224,642,600, up from $5,943,400,000 in the same period last year; local broadcast had $4,227,848, 300, up from $3,903,545,100; and syndicated TV had $977,125,200, up from $825,461,100.

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