The week that was

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LOOKING FOR A NEW GUMBEL

Among the list of candidates to replace Bryant Gumbel
at The Early Show
are four who have substituted for him: CBS News' John Roberts
and current Saturday Early Show
host Russ Mitchell, CBS Sports'Jim Nantz, and Tom Bergeron, the host of Hollywood Squares.

Gumbel said last week he won't renew his CBS contract and will leave after five years, the last 21/2 as the Early Show
anchor. Gumbel earlier spent 15 years as host of NBC's top-dog Today
show but was never able to duplicate the feat at CBS; The Early Show,
which launched in the fall of 1999, with Jane Clayson
as co-host remains in third place in the Nielsens.

For the first quarter of 2002, The Early Show
averaged 2.8 million viewers, well behind both Good Morning America
(5.2 million) and first-place Today
(6.7 million).

"While I am disappointed that the show didn't fare better in the ratings, I am pleased with the quality of the broadcast we created," Gumbel said in a statement.

Early Show
executive producer Steve Friedman
credits Gumbel with "building the morning-show franchise for CBS." He also says the network should "think outside the box" for a replacement.

As for Gumbel's departure, Friedman says it's more a "life decision" than anything else.

ALL OVER THE PLACE

Oprah Winfrey
is closing Oprah's Book Club. "It has become harder and harder to find books on a monthly basis that I feel absolutely compelled to share," said Winfrey in a statement. Translation: She's as tired of novels about struggling women as the rest of us. ...

Such noodges! The FCC
last week asked more than 300 TV stations to explain why they want to delay compliance with their May 1 DTV deadline. Larger group owners included Benedek, Granite
and Duhamel. Inquiries to another 22 stations were mailed two weeks ago. In all, 810 stations have asked for a delay; 476 got one. ...z

Alec Gerster, former CEO of Grey Global Group's MediaCom, was named CEO of Initiative Media Worldwide,
replacing Lou Schultz, who quit earlier. ...

Entertainment Tonight
is making its first foray into prime time with an ABC
sweeps special, Entertainment Tonight Presents: Laverne and Shirley Together Again, airing May 7.

THE BUSINESS

On a per-channel basis, cable rates increased 1.5% for the year ended July 1, 2001, according to the FCC. Against an inflation rate of 2.7% for that period, the price of cable actually decreased, however. Without value-added extra channels factored in, prices charged by cable systems increased 7.5%, from $34.42 to $36.99. ...

EchoStar's plan to spread local stations over two dishes is illegal, the FCC ruled. The commission says EchoStar can offer local TV signals on a second dish, but, if it does, it must put all the local TV signals on one dish, not divide them between two, thereby disenfranchising stations not carried on the main dish. EchoStar always said the two-dish solution was an interim fix until it launched spot-beam satellites. ...

Elsewhere, EchoStar
and the Walt Disney Co.
settled carriage disputes over Disney's ABC Family
and ESPN Classic
channels. ABC Family secured long-term carriage on EchoStar's Dish Network, while Classic will be restored to its previous tier. ...

The New York Times Company
ponied up $100 million for a 50% stake in Discovery
diginet Civilization. Discovery will manage the channel.

Under a second deal, the Times
will produce content for Civilization and other Discovery channels.

CLARIFICATION/CORRECTIONS

Some cable vendors may not have been satisfied by Western Cable Show's exhibiting options. A B&C Eye item in March 25 did not mention the Western Show's $14,000 participant-level option, which included a hotel suite and full access to show events. ...

The March 25 Focus piece on the Cheyenne, Wyo./ Scottsbluff, Neb., market, should have said that signals there cover four states. Also, the chart should have listed KLWY(TV)
as the second-ranked station in the DMA. ...

In the April 1 article "The new newsroom," comments by Fred Schultz, Sundance VP of news automation, were misattributed. On page 40, it was Schultz, not Avid Broadcast Director Dave Schleifer, who advised broadcasters to critically examine MOS systems' ability to provide machine control and ID piping.

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