MCCAIN HAS NEW FINANCE-REFORM PLAN
Campaign-finance reformer Sen. John McCain
(R-Ariz.) won't quit trying to force broadcasters to provide free airtime to candidates. He will unveil his newest reform bill at a June 19 press conference in Washington hosted by the Alliance for Better Campaigns. A renewed push has been expected since the Torricelli
amendment, which would have mandated deep discounts for political time, was stripped from the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Bill. In what would be a double hit for broadcasters, McCain's bill would also levy a spectrum fee on them to "finance" the plan.
The week ended May 19 included the third full week of the May sweeps (April 25-May 22) for syndicated strips and the fourth and final weekend for weeklies. As a group, off-net sitcoms were the strongest genre, with all the top six gaining on the previous week. Going in the opposite direction was Spin City, which recorded a two-season low, down 13% to a 1.3 rating; compared with last year at this time, the show is down 43%. Friends
led the off-net pack with a 7.3 rating, up 7%, followed by Seinfeld
6.2, up 3%; Everybody Loves Raymond
5.9, up 4%; Frasier
3.4, up 6%; King of the Hill
3.2, up 3%; and Just Shoot Me
2.4, up 4%.
With all the weekends counted, five of the top-eight veteran weekly hours were down by double digits last month compared with last year's May sweeps. They had strong competition from 59 hours of NBA, NHL
coverage, whose combined ratings rose 7% from last year. The sweeps winner among weekly hours was ET Weekend, with a 3.6 rating, down 3% from last May; it was the only weekly hour to score above a 3 rating. ...
hit Trading Spaces
set another record on Memorial Day, scoring a 3.5 prime time household rating. Previously, the series had topped out at a 3.2 household rating. The big draw this time was an all-day marathon featuring 15 episodes, including three fan requests in an online vote. TLC beat the four largest broadcast networks among women 18-49, women 18-34 and adults 18-34. The marathon peaked with a 3.8 Nielsen household rating at 10 p.m. ET.
producer Alexandra Jewett
has been named executive producer of the NBC Enterprises' new The John Walsh Show. The talk show is set to premiere this fall. NBCE said Jerry Nachman, editor-in-chief of MSNBC, will serve as executive consultant to Walsh's show. Jewett also served as supervising producer for King World's The Ananda Lewis Show
An armed man forced his way into CBS's Los Angeles studio complex last Tuesday night and forced a standoff with police SWAT officers that lasted more than four hours—ending when the man shot himself in the chest. The gunman, identified as Raymond Derouen Jr., was reported in critical condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
last week won FCC
approval for its $775 million purchase of the Ackerley Group
, which adds 16 TV stations and four radio outlets to its stable. The radio and outdoor-ad giant becomes the 17th-largest TV group, with 40 stations in 28 markets. The FCC allowed Clear Channel 12 months to divest stations to comply with limits on local radio/TV crossownership, despite opponents seeking to limit the time to the standard six months. The deal violates crossownership restrictions in Eugene, Ore.; Santa Maria, Calif.
; and Binghamton, Rochester
and Syracuse, N.Y.
Kathleen Carroll, Washington bureau chief for Knight Ridder, is the new executive editor of Associated Press. Carroll formerly worked as a writer and editor in four AP bureaus. Starting July 15, she replaces and reports to Jonathan Wolman, named senior VP of AP in February.
THE EARLY WORD
World Group's MediaCom Worldwide's report on TV networks' fall prime time schedule gave high marks to weblets The WB
and UPN. The media-buying giant, which gave an A grade to WB and A- to UPN (much higher than its marks for the Big Four), thinks WB's What I Like About You,Do Over
have hit potential.
Half and Half
should help UPN's already successful Monday urban-comedy block, according to MediaCom, and "Haunted
looks to be a good lead-out from Buffy" on Tuesdays.
ASCAP and BMI are performing-rights organizations representing songwriters, composers, publishers and others representing the copyright owners. In a May 27 story on page 14, the organizations were imprecisely defined.