Fast Track - Broadcasting & Cable

Fast Track

Author:
Publish date:

Sex, Violence and Science

The Senate Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee
last week heard results of research about TV violence from academics who used "brain-mapping science" to study kids and what they watch. Testimony from various academics suggested a causal connection between TV violence and real violence and argued that violent and sexual images are stored as references for future action. Sexualized violence is "high octane with lingering effects," said Dr. John Murray
from Kansas State University.

The subcommittee is chaired by Sam Brownback
(R-Kan.), who, along with Sen. Joe Lieberman
(D-Conn.), wants the government to fund brain-mapping research on the effects of the media.

The Show Business

Tribune Entertainment
has cleared Family Feud in 90% of the country for next fall. It airs in 142 markets. Feud, produced by FremantleMedia North America, is going into its fifth season. ...

Fox
is looking for the kind of ratings pop from the King of Pop for May sweeps that ABC
got last February from its much-talked-about documentary on the troubled star. Fox is kicking off its May sweeps with the tentatively titled Michael Jackson's Private Home Movies
on Thursday, April 24 at 8-10 p.m. ET. ...

ABC
pulled Monday-night drama Miracles
after the drama starring Skeet Ulrich
failed to generate ratings behind David E. Kelly's The Practice. For now, ABC will run back-to-back episodes of The Practice.
Dragnet,
which airs Sunday at 10 p.m. ET, is the only new drama out of six launched this year that remains on ABC's air. ...

FX more than doubled its prime time average with the debut of original series Lucky, a dark comedy about a down-on-his-luck gambler. Although the series premiered last Tuesday to a 2.2 rating and 2.5 million viewers, the numbers didn't match those of The Shield, its predecessor in the time period.

Play for Pepsi

After months of speculation, The WB
and Pepsi
have finalized plans to air Play for a Billion, a live game-show special, and Pepsi Smash, a live six-episode music series that will debut in July.

Play for a Billion, produced by Michael Davies
of ABC's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire
and airing this September, will culminate a sweepstakes on Pepsi products starting in May. One of 1,000 sweepstakes winners will get a chance to win the big dough. Pepsi Smash will feature musical acts in front of an audience and will include backstage and up-close segments on the artists.

Deals and Dealers

Paxson Communications
sold WMPX(TV)
Portland, Maine, and WPXO(TV)
St. Croix, V.I., to minority-controlled Media Consultants Group
for $10 million. The deal brings to 22 the number of U.S. full-power stations owned by minorities. ...

Emmis Communications
CEO Jeff Smulyan
said last week that Fox-owned stations in Austin, Texas, and Birmingham, Ala., are among the handful of smaller-market stations he has talked to News Corp. about buying. Emmis is also part of a group looking at buying the Los Angeles Dodgers from Fox as well.

Correction

In the listing of the Top 25 Station Groups (4/7, p. 27), Gannett was incorrectly identified as owning a percentage of Entravision. It has no stake in the Spanish-language broadcaster.

Life After Friends

After Friends ends on NBC, series co-star David Schwimmer (above) will continue. The actor has signed an exclusive two-year development deal with the network that will allow him to develop, produce and direct new series. He's no novice. He has already directed 10 or so episodes of Friends, numerous plays in Chicago, and the feature film Since You've Been Gone.

Related