Fast Track


Bad Dogs!

Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch plans to tone down its commercials in an apparent concession to the "indecency" police. The company will no longer air the spots featuring the flatulent horse or crotch-biting dog. They drew criticism on Capitol Hill during hearings on indecency stemming from the Super Bowl halftime show. Some polls say, though, the blurbs were among the most popular commercials of the broadcast.

Fully Programmable

Long rumored, now true: As tipped here, Shelly Ross
will leave Good Morning America, where she has been executive producer for five years, for the same post at Primetime, replacing the departing David Doss. The network solves two problems at once. It fills the Primetime
void and settles a problem at GMA, the growing disaffection between Ross and the program's co-anchor, Charles Gibson...

is boosting its movie production to 19 films for the coming season, up from seven this year. It's also adding Lifetime Radio for Woman, a syndicated radio network to its brand lineup. Household names like Lauren Holly, Mary-Louise Parker, and Debra Winger
will star in upcoming made-fors. The network is also planning its first miniseries—about sex trafficking—for 2005. On the slate: a Friday reality block and Instant Weddings, where a couple goes from proposal to marriage in four hours (do guests throw Minute Rice?)...

The WB
has added Smallville and Everwood to its list of next-season renewals, joining Gilmore Girls, Charmed, and 7th Heaven. One Tree Hill is expected to join soon...

pulled the plug on Victoria's Secret's annual televised fashion show, but the retailer wanted to quit it anyway. The show had aired on CBS the past two seasons (its first year was on ABC) to some public outcry over the scantily clad models, but it didn't rate particularly well, except as a TV clip used whenever news stations (and even some trade magazines) wanted to do stories about how sexy TV is.

We Report, We Decided

Fox News Channel
trounced its cable news competitors in the ratings for President Bush's news conference last week. Fox attracted 5.16 million viewers, versus 1.74 million for CNN
and 867,000 for MSNBC. On broadcast and cable, 41 million viewers tuned in. On every network, the president's tie looked funny, didn't it?...

station group Chairman Lachlan Murdoch
tapped Kevin Hale
to run the Los Angeles KTTV/KCOP
duopoly as VP/GM. In addition, he will head up sales for the group's Regional Sports Net West, which comprises Fox Sports Net
and Fox Sports Net 2. Hale was formerly VP/GM at Fox-owned KSAZ

Local-news veteran Joel Cheatwood—perhaps best-known for his "if it bleeds, it leads" approach to newscasts—is joining CNN Headline News
as executive producer. He will head program development, based in New York. He was once CNN GM Princell Hair's boss at WMAQ
Chicago, where Cheatwood was VP of news and Hair was news director.


Litton Entertainment's Ask Rita
is not departing broadcast stations until August. An earlier end date was reported on page 13 of the April 12 edition.

At CBS, Josh Howard will become the new executive producer of 60 Minutes II
in June, and Mary Murphy becomes senior broadcast producer for that show. At that time, Jeff Fager, now executive producer of 60 Minutes II,
moves to executive producer at 60 Minutes, replacing Don Hewitt. An item in Fast Track on April 12 confused job titles and duties.

Embarrassing. A KRON San Francisco newscast was fined by the FCC for indecency in a news item. In a related correction in the April 12 issue, we made another mistake and said KGO was fined.