The week that was


People, places & things

Dennis Swanson, new executive vice president and chief operating officer for Viacom's
TV-stations group and former general manager of WNBC(TV),
has been selected by the John A. Reisenbach Foundation
to receive its prestigious Distinguished Citizen Award.

He'll be honored at The Reisenbach Foundation's
11th annual Gala for a Better and Safer New York
on Dec. 10 at New York's Rainbow Room. Tickets start at $500. For information, call 212-935-1840. The foundation has given more than $3.5 million to programs that improve the quality of life in New York. …

debuted its revamped Early Show, with no appreciable difference in ratings. The new version, hosted by Harry Smith, Julie Chen, Hannah Storm
and René Syler, carved a 2.2 rating/7 share last Monday, which was 0.1 better than the week before. …

Stephanie Leifer
has been named senior VP of comedy programming at ABC. This season, she oversaw the development of the Tuesday-night lineup of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, Life With Bonnie
and Less Than Perfect
and midseason entries Lost at Home
and Regular Joe. Leifer was named VP of comedy development for the network in July 1999. …

Bad news for wannabe networks: Cox Communications
is backing off digital cable. During last week's earnings call, CEO James Robbins
said the company is getting a better return on capital from new high-speed Internet and telephone service. CFO Jimmy Hayes
noted that the company's digital penetration is a high 27% but "we have slowed spending on Cox Digital Cable."

The sports page

is working on several new shows, including Cold Pizza, a morning show for ESPN2
that is being billed as the Good Morning America
of sports and will feature news, cooking and fashion stories— all with a sports twist. That begins next October. Also in the incubator: a magazine show, Outside the Lines Nightly; a call-in show, Drive Time; a talk show, Around the Horn; and animated shorts inspired by the comic strip Bleachers. …

Fox Sports Net
will dabble in the extreme-sports arena with a new highlight show, 54321 ,
bowing Jan. 27. …

The National Basketball Association
has signed its first distribution deal, with EchoStar ,
for NBATV, launching in 2003.

What's on?

ABC Family
is bringing back last summer's reality miniseries, The Last Resort, for a full 15-week run in January. The cable network will team it with another original reality show, My Life as a Sitcom. …

Bram and Alice
will be the first new CBS
show of the fall season to be canceled, sources say, although CBS spokesfolk say they've had no word of the Sunday sitcom's demise. …

But Fox
is sure about axing Girls Club, the David E. Kelley
Monday drama, after only two outings. …

Speaking of axes, VH1
has canceled its upcoming reality show with newlyweds Liza Minnelli
and David Gest. The show was slated for a December premiere, then pushed back to January. …

CBS ordered full seasons of new shows CSI: Miami, Still Standing, Without a Trace
and Hack. …

Pax TV
has picked up the back-nine episodes of Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. Its debut was the network's highest-rated premiere of the season.

Series snoozer

This year's World Series
averaged an 11.9 household rating and a 20 share, setting a new record low, 4% below the 2000 Series, the previous record holder. In terms of total viewership, this year's Series was slightly better than the 2000 Series, with an average audience of about 19.3 million, 6% higher than two years ago. Fox
put up the best viewing stats for Game 7, which drew an estimated 57.9 million viewers and easily won the Sunday-night competition.

Overall, the Series gave Fox its first weekly win for the season, in households, total viewers and adults 18-49, ending CBS's win streak at four weeks. For the week, Fox averaged a 10.4 rating/16 share in households in prime, beating second-place CBS by 24%. Among adults 18-49, Fox was first, with a 36% advantage over second-place NBC.


The story "Plug-and-play is on the way," on page 42 of the Oct. 28 edition, misspelled Philips Electronics and Thomson Electronics.

New college sports net plans N.Y. site

The cable channel formerly known as the National College Sports Network
will launch as College Sports Television
and will be housed in a street-front studio at Manhattan's Chelsea Piers. Names rejected: College Sports Network, Varsity: The College Sports Network
and College Sports Channel. CSTV moves into its 20,000-square-foot facility this month and expects to launch on Feb. 23. It doesn't have any carriage deals yet but has programming pacts with conferences like the Big Ten, Big East
and Western Athletic Conference.