The week that was - Broadcasting & Cable

The week that was

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Real money

The BIA Financial Network, a strategic and financial consulting firm, said today it expects revenue from TV stations to increase by 5.1% in 2002, a marked improvement over 2001, when revenue declined 12.9%. BIA also said WNBC(TV) New York, with $320 million, was 2001's top biller. ...

The first quarter of 2002 wasn't a good one for the three leading U.S.-based media conglomerates. Two of them—AOL Time Warner
and Viacom—posted huge net losses. The third, Disney, saw operating profit decline 35%. AOL took a $54 billion (that's right, billion) write-down that reflects the sharp decline in the overall value in the company's assets over the past year. Viacom also took a huge write-down and recorded a net loss of $1.11 billion. But President Mel Karmazin
said he is optimistic that TV ad sales are making a comeback. Disney CEO Michael Eisner
assured analysts, "We are highly focused on addressing the challenges at the ABC network."

Numbers game

In a close contest riddled with repeats, CBS
won the household and total-viewer prime time battles for week 30 (ended April 21) of the current season, and NBC
was tops among adults 18-49 and 25-54. ... Spurned by PBS,
veteran business journalist Louis Rukeyser
notched a CNBC
record rating in his cable debut April 19. Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street
scored a 0.7 rating. On PBS, Rukeyser drew 3 million viewers.

TUBULAR

Rosie O'Donnell
will host Survivor: Marquesas—The Reunion,
live from New York's Central Park Sunday, May 19, at 10 p.m. on CBS. The show will immediately follow the two-hour Marquesas
finale. ...

The Fonz is joining Hollywood Squares. King World has hired Henry "Fonzie" Winkler
and Michael Levitt
to replace departing John Moffitt
and Pat Lee
as executive producers of the syndicated game show. ...

TechTV
is scrapping live breaking news in favor of tech-related entertainment programming and newsmagazines. As a result, about 50 staffers are losing their jobs. Replacing the news will be techy series like Max Headroom
and movies like Coma
and Demon Seed. ...

NBC Enterprises
has sold its half-hour, first-run offering The Chris Matthews Show
in nine of the top 10 markets for a 2002 launch. It's now cleared in 70% of the country.

Washington watch

The proposed royalty rates for Webcasters are too high, 20 members of Congress told the U.S. Copyright Office
last week. In February, the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel
recommended that traditional radio broadcasters pay 0.07 cents per copyrighted song per listener to stream their signals over the Internet
and that Webcasters pay twice that. ...

Movie studios, consumer electronic manufacturers and technology companies have moved closer to an agreement on how to prevent digital TV from being retransmitted over the Internet without the say-so of the copyright holders, said AOL Time Warner CEO-electRichard Parsons
at a House hearing last Thursday. "We are very close."

Sen. Ted Stevens
wants the FCC's auction of chs. 52-69 to go on as scheduled June 19. He plans to introduce a bill emphasizing that receipts from the auctions need to be in the Treasury by Sept. 30. Stevens was prompted by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin's
introduction of a bill to delay the auctions indefinitely.

Name dropping

Lynda Lopez, a reporter for WPIX(TV)
New York, will join the NBC Stations Group
May 20 as entertainment reporter for the NBC and NBC-owned Telemundo
stations. Lopez is the sister of singer Jennifer Lopez. ...

ABC News' Cokie Roberts
will emcee the NAB's
fourth annual Service to America Summit June 10 in Washington. ... Pulitzer Prize
-winning journalist Thomas Friedman
is partnering with Discovery Channel
on a series of documentaries beginning in fall 2003. ... Peter Arnett
is returning to Baghdad as a correspondent for Broadcast News Networks. ...

Just in time for the Robert Blake
murder trial, CNN
tapped Jeffrey Toobin
as a contributing legal analyst. ...

Neither ABC's lead anchor Peter Jennings
nor ABC News President David Westin
would comment last week on the rampant speculation that Jennings had been asked to take a 25% cut from his $10 million annual salary. The story was first reported by Internet scribe Matt Drudge
and echoed by other media nationwide.

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