The week that was



In syndication, ET Weekend
was the top weekly hour (ending April 28) for its 21st straight week, up 17% to a 3.5 Nielsen. Rookie off-net The Practice
came in second, up 8% to a 2.8. Big news among strips was that for the first time, Crossing Over with John Edward
beat Texas Justice, regaining the top spot among all first-run rookies that it lost back in January when Justice
debuted in the national spotlight. Crossing Over
was up 11% to a 2.0. Texas
was second, up 6% to a 1.9. Among the court shows, Judge Judy
was tops, up 9% to a 5.8. In second place was Judge Joe Brown,
which recorded a double-digit gain. ...

Diageo Guinness UDV North America executive VP Guy Smith, after pointedly telling an Upfront Summit crowd in New York that NBC
had "reneged on our agreement" to run its liquor ads, revealed that it's going ahead with a campaign that will channel $1 billion in ad spending across five years and scores of outlets, through what it calls its own Diageo Unwired National Network. …

American Movie Classics
is increasing its advertising load but spinning off a splinter digital service AMC Hollywood Classics
that will be commercial-free. (The flagship channel takes 8 minutes of ads per hour.) The new ad-free diginet will feature films from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. It launches in late 2002. …

The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy
is calling on the FCC to retain radio-ownership rules that promote diversity among station owners and points of view expressed over the airwaves. "Something would be lost in the shift from many small broadcasters to a few big broadcasters," the advocacy office told the FCC. "That 'something' is viewpoint diversity." …

Satellite TV company DirecTV
is expanding its local TV-signal offerings to Buffalo
and Oklahoma City, bringing the total number of cities to which it offers local TV service to 46. DirecTV plans to add service in Hartford, Conn., Las Vegas
and Providence, R.I., by mid-July and to expand to 51 markets by the end of the year.


Veteran talk-show producer Marlaine Selip
has signed as executive producer of Phil Donahue's upcoming MSNBC
show. Selip and Donahue worked together on his syndicated talk show, where Selip was a producer; she's also worked on several other talk shows. …

In Washington, NAB
Executive Vice President Chuck Sherman
is grabbing the position of president of the NAB Education Foundation
and twinningit with the position of special assistant to NAB President Eddie Fritts. …

Michael Fleming can't get away from games. The former CEO of Sony's Game Show Network
has been tapped by game developer NTN
as chairman of Buzztime, a unit that is trying sell operators games in their digital set-tops.


last week got the FCC's go-ahead for its $650 million purchase of KCAL(TV)
Los Angeles from Young Broadcasting. The deal will give Viacom a duopoly in L.A., where the company also owns KCBS-TV. Viacom also owns seven radio stations there and must sell one of them within six months.…

The National Hispanic Media Coalition
and others charged in a lawsuit last week that the FCC
'sreasons for granting NBC
an extra six months to sell a third station it owns in Los Angeles were either racist or irrelevant. NBC acquired KVEA(TV) and KWHY-TV
when it purchased Spanish-language network Telemundo in April. The net already owned KNBC(TV). Owners in big markets are limited to two stations, and the FCC typically allows six months for divestitures when mergers violate ownership limits. NBC, however, received 12 months on grounds that the Telemundo
stations' Spanish-language focus deserved special treatment.


A media industry council charged with ensuring the reliability of mass communication during a terrorist attack or other catastrophe will have its first meeting May 17.

More than 40 executives from broadcast, cable, satellite and related industries have signed on to the Media Security and Reliability Council
, which formed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Dennis FitzSimons, president of Tribune Co.,
chairs the council and FCC Chairman Michael Powell
will show up for the session.