Seacrest Will Be Everywhere
As if Ryan Seacrest didn't have enough exposure, Clear Channel is planning to syndicate his popular drive-time radio program, Ryan Seacrest for the Ride Home With Lisa Foxx, currently heard on its KYSR(FM) Los Angeles.
The show is a possible replacement for Rick Dees' Weekly Top 40
after Dees' contract expires at the end of next year. The studio for his new TV gig, Twentieth's On Air With Ryan Seacrest, at the Hollywood & Highland entertainment complex includes a radio booth so that Seacrest can tape his day-and-date syndicated show, host his radio show at 3-7 p.m., and fit American Idol
into his spare time.—Paige Albiniak
Rush to Reagans
So what do you do when corporate sibling CBS lobs you a hot potato? If you're Showtime's
new President Robert Greenblatt, you rush con
troversial made-for movie
(right) onto the schedule: "Everyone has made so many pronouncements about the movie, it didn't make sense to withhold it." So Showtime will air the three-hour film (originally a two-part miniseries) this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, instead of sometime in 2004 as initially planned.
The accelerated schedule let Showtime play off the controversy but gave the net just two weeks to promote the $10 million movie. The network pulled together a campaign including on-air promos, network and spot ads on Viacom-owned Infinity Radio and Westwood One radio networks, and a billboard blitz in New York and Los Angeles. Showtime wouldn't comment on the budget, but Greenblatt said it is above average for an original movie.
Showtime will air a live forum with historians, politicians and journalists the following night, Dec. 1.
More of Dora, Sorta
Nickelodeon's hit preschool series Dora the Explorer
—the highest-rated preschool show on cable—may be spawning a new animated show that would attempt to attract slightly older viewers.
The kids net is considering a new series based on the character Diego, who is Dora's older cousin. The show could prove a strong draw with boy viewers in particular.
So far, Nick is interested in the concept but has yet to order a pilot or greenlight a series.—Allison Romano
NBC Affils Like the Weather
The forecast looks bright for the co-owned digital weather/news alert channel that NBC and its affiliates have been considering (B&C, Nov. 17) as part of a DTV multicast service. NBC affiliate board Chairman Roger Ogden reports that 92% of the affiliates responded to a survey that they have a "strong interest" in pursuing the channel. If all goes smoothly, the service could begin by midyear.
Meanwhile, ABC told the FCC of plans to multicast three separate program signals on its digital channels in all 10 of its markets "in the near future." In addition to the main local signal, each station will transmit a signal carrying repurposed news and public affairs, with a separate signal devoted to weather.
Like NBC, ABC urged the FCC to require cable companies carry all DTV signals that consumers would get free over the air. It said it has succeeded in negotiating marketplace deals but fears that many affiliates may not have the leverage to do so.—Steve McClellan
Ted Turner unloaded on the Bush Administration last week, calling the Iraq war "a terrible mistake" because of "the damage that we've done to all our friends around the world." The CNN founder also called it "Rupert and Bush's war," referring to Rupert Murdoch, the conservative owner of Fox News Channel.
Speaking at a Trinity College media seminar in New York, Turner suggested that the White House is paranoid. "A lot of people in this administration saw a lot of people they didn't like. If you're looking for enemies, they're everywhere." He added, "If you're looking for friends, they're everywhere, too."—John M. Higgins