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Powell's Booked On June 2

FCC Chairman Michael Powell said he plans to submit proposed media-ownership rule changes to fellow commissioners during the first week of June in hopes of bringing them to a vote at a special June 2 meeting. "Congress gave us a time frame we cannot ignore," he told the Media Institute, an industry think tank, last week.

The move may put him at odds with Democratic commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, who have been urging the FCC to move slower. Powell also bolstered expectations that he will push for eliminating or loosening the current ban on crossownership of newspapers and local broadcast stations.

Separately, Powell said he plans to establish a commission initiative that will examine ways to promote minority and female ownership and participation in the media.

They Shoot Programs, Don't They?

NBC
and its cable network, Bravo, have secured exclusive broadcast and basic cable rights to Oscar-winning best picture, Chicago. Which will air on NBC in November 2005 and debut on Bravo that same year. …

The WB
has renewed Everwood, Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Charmed and Reba for next season. Lots more are on the bubble. …

Actress Jane Seymour, will host of Hallmark Channel
original series, Adoption, now in its second season. Seymour will be the series' first permanent host. The documentary series begins airing 26 new half hours in September (a change from its planned June start). ...

The war with Iraq appeared to take a toll on viewership to ABC's coverage of the 75th Academy Awards on March 23. It appears to have attracted the smallest audience on record for the awards telecast, with roughly 30 million viewers tuning in. By comparison, last year's telecast averaged a 25.4/42 with 41.7 million viewers.

The awards show still easily beat the competition.

Get Ready to Pay

Regulatory fees at some TV stations would rise almost 30% in fiscal 2003 under increases proposed by the FCC
Wednesday. The payments are intended to meet a congressionally ordered 23% increase in fee revenue this year. The target would generate $269 million, up from $219 million in fiscal 2002.

Under the currently proposed fees, VHF stations in the top 10 markets would pay $57,650, an 18.4% increase from 2002. Stations in markets 11-25 and 26-50 would see increases of 25% and 27%, respectively, to $43,225 and $30,125.

Stations in markets 51-100 would see a hike of 19% to $18,075. In remaining markets, fees would rise 26% to $4,450.

UHF stations in top 10 markets would pay $15,850, 24% more. Among other UHFs: Markets 11-25, up 20% to $12,875; markets 26-50, up 22% to $8,075; markets 51-100, up 28% to $4,975; remaining markets up 33% to $1,425.

Fees for individual stations climbed at rates other than the 23% target because of changes in the number of stations within each category. Rates last year climbed between 4% and 5%.

Correction:

Syndicated ratings for the 18-49 demographic for court shows during the week of March 3-9 were mistated in the March 24 edition, on page 13.

In Average Audience Nielsen ratings there was a three-way tie for fifth place, with Judge Hatchett, Texas Justice and Judge Mathis each notching a 0.9. In the Gross Aggregate Average, Texas Justice and Judge Hatchett each averaged a 1.3.

Next! Men Who Love Their Cars

The Jerry Springer Show is sponsoring NASCAR racer Kevin Richard. The show's logo will be "prominently displayed" on Richard's Chevy Monte Carlo for 12 races. Male-skewing auto racing is a snug cross-promotional fit with Springer's audience.

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