The gang from The Daily Show With Jon Stewart will take another stab at publishing after the success of America (The Book), which spent several weeks atop The New York Times bestseller list. While acknowledging the deal, host Jon Stewart and executive producer Ben Karlin are mum on the follow-up's title and concept. “We've started working on it in a sense that we have convinced the book company that we have another book idea,” Stewart tells B&C, “and they have agreed to publish it.”
Like America, the book will be published by Warner. Stewart is also elusive about its publication date. “By the end of this 10- to 50-year cyclonic cycle of powerful hurricanes,” he says, “the book will come out.”
Stewart and Karlin also have their hands full with film projects. Their production company, Busboy Productions, is working on a documentary about obsessive Minnesota Vikings fans that will air on Spike TV (and perhaps in theaters), with release slated for fall 2006. Aaron Lubarsky, who co-directed the George Bush documentary Journeys With George, directs the film. Stewart and Karlin are also planning to produce at least one scripted film.—Michael Malone
Court To Debut Live Call-In Show
Court TV will launch Cutler & Hayes, a weekly live call-in show with defense attorneys Bruce Cutler and Ed Hayes beginning Oct. 14. The duo—who combined have defended such high-profile clients as late Mafia boss John Gotti, music producer Phil Spector (both Cutler clients), actor Robert DeNiro and rapper LL Cool J (both Hayes clients)—will debate the week's more controversial legal happenings and take calls from viewers weighing in on the action. Moderating the banter via satellite from Los Angeles will be Jane Velez Mitchell, former correspondent for syndicated show Celebrity Justice. The half-hour show will run live Fridays at 4:30 p.m. ET.
Cutler & Hayes is Court's first ever live call-in show.—Anne Becker
Networks Ponder Schedule Shuffles
For all the murders, aliens and abductions that have occurred two weeks into the fall season, the big action is yet to come. Network executives are sifting through numbers to see what shows should be moved or cancelled, and which should be pulled off the bench.
NBC Friday tried to rescue two of its highest-profile shows by having The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and E-Ring swap Wednesday time slots. E-Ring—one of NBC's most heavily promoted fall shows—is fading in a 9 p.m. slot loaded with dramas, including Lost. Apprentice: Martha also disappointed at 8 p.m., failing to beat even UPN's America's Next Top Model in 18-49s last week. (They tied.)
Trading time slots could be deft counterprogramming. Apprentice: Martha could be a reality oasis for viewers and wouldn't compete against Top Model. E-Ring would be one of the only dramas at 8 p.m.
Industry executives say another possible shift would be moving Criminal Minds. CBS secured heavy sampling by launching the procedural series on a Thursday following TV's top show, CSI. That slot is usually occupied by Without a Trace.
Last week, the audience didn't follow Criminal Minds to its regular Wednesday 9 p.m. time slot. The audience plunged 46% from a giant 19.6 million viewers to 10.6 million. That's still strong and was second for the period. But moving the show to Thursday might let CBS establish Criminal Minds as a long-range success.
Industry executives see other trouble spots. Ratings for UPN's Sex, Lies & Secrets are woeful even without comparison with Everybody Hates Chris (a success despite a disappointing second episode). Fox's lawyer hour, Just Legal, is also weak. Some also believe that NBC is considering moving quirky comedy My Name Is Earl from Tuesday to NBC's weak Thursday lineup.—John M. Higgins
Flicks Shift From Paramount
Domestic distribution of Paramount's valuable 3,600-title theatrical-film library, as well as future movie titles from that studio, will shift from CBS boss Les Moonves' side of Viacom to a new distribution arm being formed by Tom Freston's Viacom film unit.
CBS entities will still be left with 70,000 hours of TV product to sell, one of the largest TV libraries in the business, as well as future programming. Says CBS spokesman Chris Ender, “The breadth, depth and variety of hit programs across all genres make this one of the most vibrant domestic and international distribution pipelines. That doesn't change.”
A studio spokeswoman confirmed the move to B&C days after Freston leaked word to the press about the film library's shifting from the international-TV distribution unit. Viacom's Janet Hill now says that longstanding rumors—earlier denied—were true: Freston's Viacom film unit will handle all forms of free- and pay-TV sales worldwide starting next year.
“In terms of consolidation it really makes sense,” she says.
Several candidates have been considered for the job overseeing Freston's new distribution division, including Scott Koondel, who currently leads sales as executive VP of Paramount Domestic Television.—Jim Benson
New CPB Head
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting voted Monday to elect Cheryl Halpern to succeed Ken Tomlinson as chairman of the board.
Elected vice chair was Gay Hart Gaines, replacing Democrat Frank Cruz. The moves are not likely to quell criticism from within public broadcasting and without that the Bush administration is trying to make the service more conservative; both Halpern and Gaines are veteran Republican-party activists and fundraisers.—John Eggerton
Emmis Sells Four Stations
Emmis Communication moved another step closer to shedding its TV division last week, selling off four more of its TV stations. Investment firm The Blackstone Group and midsize station operation SJL Broadcast Group have cut a $259 million deal to buy KOIN Portland, Ore.; KHON Honolulu; KSNW Wichita, Kan.; and KSNT Topeka, Kan.
In late August, Emmis agreed to sell nine other stations to LIN TV, Gray Television and Journal Communications for a total of $681 million. Emmis still needs to sell off KGMB Honolulu, WVUE New Orleans and WKCF Orlando, Fla.
Proceeds from the sales will exceed the $1.1 billion take analysts had projected “by several million dollars,” Emmis Chairman Jeff Smulyan told investors last week. The company is selling off its TV stations to focus on its large radio group.—Allison Romano
Supreme TV Stars?
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) has introduced a bill to permit TV cameras in open Supreme Court sessions, unless the majority in a particular case decides it would violate due process.
Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, signaled he might introduce the bill sooner rather than later after Chief Justice nominee (now Chief Justice) John Roberts said during his confirmation hearings that he had not decided for or against cameras.—J.E.
Although there are no immediate plans to market a DVD set of the first season of Boston Legal, the episodes could be packaged later. The article “Emmy's Fickle Bottom Line” (9/26, page 8) left the impression that a DVD set might never be produced.