The week that was


Just in from the nation's capital

Senate confirmation of Jonathan Adelstein
as a Democrat FCC
commissioner is being held up once again, this time by Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.). McCain has told Senate
Majority Leader Tom Daschle
(D-S.D.) and Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott
(R-Miss.) that he will block all nominations until he gets assurances from both that his choice for the Federal Election Commission, Washington attorney Ellen Weintraub, will be confirmed by the Senate before September. ...

While the entertainment industry has gotten better about not marketing violent movies, music and videogames to teens, ads for all products in all three categories still show up on TV programs popular with teens, reports the Federal Trade Commission
in its third report on the matter. ... House Energy and Commerce Committee
Chairman Billy Tauzin
(R-La.) warned FCC Chairman Michael Powell
to stick to his schedule and rewrite the media-ownership rules "no later than the spring of 2003. ...

Northpoint Technology
is continuing to fight for exclusive right to the terrestrial use of DBS spectrum. The company, which would use the spectrum to offer an over-the-air service that competes with cable and satellite TV, asked federal judges to reverse an April 24 FCC decision denying it an outright grant of spectrum and requiring it to bid at auction for it. Northpoint said it is entitled to such a grant because, as the sole initial applicant, it proved that new service could co-exist in the DBS band with incumbent satellite broadcasters. ...

The Center for Digital Democracy
is urging consumers to protest cable rate hikes. Given consolidation and Adelphia's "misspending," says CDD's Jeff Chester, "it's time for the public to take up the issue of price gouging." ...

Heavy EEO
reporting requirements would pose an "unwarranted burden" and make station operators "a target of attack" by the government, said Ann Arnold, executive director of the Texas Association of Broadcasters, at an FCC hearing last week. Marilyn Kuschak, VP of a four-station radio group, complained that extra record-keeping requirements would be an unnecessary expense. The FCC is taking its third shot at drafting EEO rules. Federal judges struck down two previous incarnations.

With Friends like this...

The answer is: "The show is in second place in the syndicated program rankings." "What is Jeopardy?" is the question you could have taken to the bank for years. Not so for the most recent week for which syndicated ratings are available (June 10-16). For the first time since anyone can remember, Jeopardy
was unseated—by Friends—for the No. 2 spot, even though, at a 6.2 Nielsen rating, Friends
was down 3% from the week before. That's because Jeopardy
was down 10% from the week before—at a 6.1—to its lowest rating since 1984-85, its first full season on the air. ...

CNN's Connie Chung Tonight
weathered some harsh critical reviews but harvested an average 612,000 households (0.7 average rating) over its first three nights (June 24-26). The show's chief 8 p.m. rival, Fox News'The O'Reilly Factor, averaged a 1.9 rating and 1.5 million households for the same nights. ...

Fox's American Idol: Search for a Superstar
continued to provide super ratings for Fox. The reality talent show powered the network to a Tuesday-night win in the Nielsens in all the key adult demographics as well as total viewers. Only viewers 50-plus tuned in larger numbers elsewhere, opting for CBS.

And finally

has finally found a big-time sport for which it is willing to pay. The network has locked up TV rights to three major beauty pageants: Miss Universe, Miss USA
and Miss Teen USA. NBC replaces CBS
as the television rightsholder. On CBS, the pageants had dropped significantly in viewership over the past 10 years: Miss USA by 61%, Miss Teen USA by 58%, and Miss Universe by 19%. ...

If the upfront broadcast network market is any indication—it usually is—the U.S. ad economy will emerge from the recession this year and show 2.5% growth over 2001. At least, that's the view of New York ad tracker CMR. ...

Discovery Communications
sales veteran Amy Baker
will lead the company's new integrated ad-sales unit. Baker, now VP for Discovery Solutions, will oversee major cross-platform ad pacts, including Discovery's $50 million deal with Procter & Gamble.

Following Oprah's lead

Move over Rosie
and Oprah, women's cable net Lifetime is rolling out its own magazine, aptly named Lifetime. In partnership with Hearst Magazines (a division of Hearst Corp., which owns 50% of Lifetime Entertainment), Lifetime
will debut as a bimonthly next March with a rate base of 500,000 and is planned to go monthly in September 2003.