Fast Track - Broadcasting & Cable

Fast Track

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Moonves Stays at the Top at CBS

Leslie Moonves
signed a new deal with CBS
to remain at the network through 2007, Moonves confirmed last week. As part of his new contract, he takes the title of chairman/CEO of the network, a move up from his previous title of president/CEO.

Moonves started at CBS, now the nation's most-watched network, as head of entertainment eight years ago and later was given control of CBS news, sports, sales, marketing and other divisions. He also took over leadership for Viacom sister network UPN in 2001.

War! What Is It Good For?

Commercial rates at cable news networks, that's what. While evening newscast on broadcast networks have not seen viewer gains during the Iraq war, cable net have, and they may use their hefty war-audience stats to lure ad dollars from the Big Three's evening news shows. CNN executive VP, sales and marketing, Greg D'Alba said that, with "all of cable news [programmers] doing well" and the major broadcasters having a hard time keeping up with the war's breaking developments, the question for agency buyers should be "How relevant is network news?"

The Ticker

Prolific producers Mike Tollin
and Brian Robbins
are leaving Warner Bros.,
having signed a multi-year production deal with Touchstone Television. That's a big shift: This year, Tollin-Robbins Productions
has been a top producer for The WB
network, with three shows currently on the air: Smallville, What I Like About You and Black Sash. For the fall, Tollin-Robbins has four pilots in production: Better Days and I'm With Her for ABC; an untitled comedy for Fox; and One Tree Hill for The WB. ...

The Tennis Channel
debuts May 15 with live coverage of the ATP's Tennis Masters Series Hamburg championship in Germany. (The matches will be repeated in prime time.) The digital sports net has carriage deals with Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and the National Cable Television Cooperative, which should yield about 3 million subs at launch. The network is offering MSOs a 19-day free sneak preview beginning April 26.

Trio, the digital arts channel from Universal Television, is rebranding to push its emphasis on pop culture. Come June, it will adopt a new tagline: "pop, culture, TV" (right to the point, huh?) and a new logo. ...

After a recent test-run anchoring in the evening, CNN's Paula Zahn is now officially a prime time player. She will anchor American Evening With Paula Zahn weekdays at 7-9 p.m. ET from the news net's street-side midtown-Manhattan studio, where she had been hosting American Morning. Zahn's co-host, Bill Hemmer, stays doing the morning show.

Correction

The working prototype of the Panasonic solid-state memory camera transferred material into the editing system at 10 megabytes per second, not 10 megabits per second as reported in "For Now, a War of Words" (4/14, p. 4).

Bloom Memorialized in New York

NBC News correspondent David Bloom was a "newsman's journalist and a soldier's soldier," NBC Nightly News
anchor Tom Brokaw said last Wednesday at funeral services for Bloom at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral. Bloom, former co-host of Weekend Today, died in Iraq April 5 of a pulmonary embolism while embedded with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. In a eulogy, Brokaw called Bloom a "model for his generation of journalists. He was simply the best."

News presidents from the Big Three networks were there, as were NBC's Tim Russert, Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, news personalities from other networks, and other public figures.

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