Fast Track - Broadcasting & Cable

Fast Track

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All Downhill From Here

NBC caught a big break last week when Vancouver, Canada, was named host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, putting the event in a prime time-friendly time zone. One of the two losing cities was Pyeongchang, South Korea. NBC aired the Seoul, South Korea, games in 1988 with disastrous results: ratings shortfalls and make-goods aplenty. That same year, ABC scored big with the last winter Olympics held in Canada: the Calgary games, which averaged a 19.3 rating/30 share, some 10 share points higher than the Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, winter games four years earlier. NBC has the rights to every Olympics through 2012. ...

Michael Thorn has been named VP of prime time series for NBC Studios. He will oversee NBC in-house productions and develop new shows. Thorn comes to NBC Studios from USA Network. ...

After six years on the air, ABC is ending its half-hour soap opera Port Charles. The last episode will air Friday, Oct. 3.

Stand Up and Salute

A new cable network, The America Channel, is hoping to entice patriotic viewers with American-themed non-scripted programming. The channel plans to offer a mix reality and documentary-style shows like Occupational Hazard, a day in the life of Americans with dangerous jobs, and Personal Quest, about young Americans trying to live out the American dream. The America Channel, armed with about $65 million in startup funds, aims to launch in the second quarter next year. It hasn't signed any carriage deals yet.

By Any Name

The debut of TNN's new adult animation block was a hit last Thursday, with viewers not seeming to care whether the network is called the new TNN or Spike TV. Stripperella, featuring the voice of Pamela Anderson, grabbed the best marks, a 1.7 household rating and 2 million viewers. Gary the Rat, starring the voice of Kelsey Grammer, posted a 1.1 rating and 1.3 million viewers, and adult-aimed episodes of Ren & Stimpy notched a 1.1 rating with 1.4 million viewers. The two-hour block averaged 1.4 million viewers. In the second quarter, TNN was averaging about 1 million viewers in prime time.

More Names

TV and film director Fielder Cook, 80, died June 20 at a Charlotte, N.C., hospital. Cook was a director on a Who's Who of Golden Age TV drama anthology series, including Playhouse 90,
Kraft Television Theatre, and Hallmark Hall of Fame. ...

ABC News' Jon Banner
is taking over as executive producer of World News Tonight With Peter Jennings. He replaces Paul Slavin, who was recently upped to SVP of news. ...

CBS Early Show executive producer Lyne Pitts
is moving to evenings as senior broadcast producer for CBS Evening News With Dan Rather. No word yet on who will be EP for Early Show; the show's senior executive producer is Michael Bass. ...

CNN
Congressional correspondent Kate Snow
will be joining ABC
as White House correspondent for Good Morning America. ...

Corrections

National Cable Communications' Andrew Ward was quoted in the June 30 Ebb & Flow as describing second-quarter cable scatter activity. His comments actually addressed the local cable spot market. In addition, he was incorrectly quoted saying that NCC was holding back inventory for calendar-year upfront ad sales. Those remarks should have been attributed to David Levy, head of entertainment and sports sales for Turner Broadcasting System.

The June 30 Market Focus should have indicated that WSAW-TV has a 2-1 prime time advantage over WAOW-TV.

Hail TNT

TNT's latest original miniseries conquered a bit of prime time last week. Part I of Caesar, starring Jeremy Sisto as Julius Caesar, grabbed a strong 2.5 Nielsen rating on Sunday, June 29. The second episode slipped to a 2.2 on Monday, June 30.

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