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Hot Off The Press! The Latest Television News and Info - Page 66  

post #1951 of 25503
Thread Starter 
'American Idol' Shocker: Mario Out, Nikko In

(zap2it.com)--"American Idol" will begin its Final 12 on Tuesday (March 15) with a different dozen than viewers saw unveiled last Wednesday night. In a surprising move, Mario Vazquez has withdrawn from the popular FOX talent show and will be replaced by Nikko Smith.

Offering no explanation beyond the always vague "personal reasons," FOX announced on Sunday (March 13) that Vazquez would no longer be competing on "Idol." A 27-year-old from New York City with smooth dancing moves and a pure voice, Vazquez had been one of the favorites since his "Idol" audition in Las Vegas. A recent set of odds put out by an offshore betting group had Vazquez as a third betting choice, behind only Anwar Robinson and Bo Bice.
post #1952 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Disney Board Names Iger to Succeed Eisner
By Jay Sherman TVWeek.com March 13, 2005
The Walt Disney Co. on Sunday named Robert Iger as CEO, tapping the media giant's No. 2 executive to replace longtime chief Michael Eisner, who will step down a year earlier than he previously planned.

The company said Mr. Iger, 54, was elected unanimously by the board of directors and will assume the CEO job Oct. 1.

Mr. Eisner, meanwhile, told the board Sunday that he will also step down from the board when he retires as CEO.

Mr. Eisner, following a withering 45 percent no-confidence vote by shareholders, announced last September that he would not renew his employment contract when it expires Sept. 30, 2006. Since then, he has publicly supported Mr. Iger, a Disney executive since 1996, to succeed him.

Despite Mr. Iger's high rank at Disney, his appointment is likely to spark controversy among shareholders who saw Mr. Eisner's retirement as an opportunity to inject new management blood into the company.

Rumors swirled in recent weeks that the CEO candidate list lacked a number of names seen as logical choices, including News Corp. President Peter Chernin and Viacom co-President and co-Chief Operating Officer Leslie Moonves. Press reports Sunday indicated eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who interviewed with the Disney board last week, took herself out of consideration.

Until recently, Mr. Iger has taken hits for failing to revive the ratings fortunes at ABC and has been perceived as lacking the kind of management chops required to run a company with such far-flung assets.

In recent months, that perception changed as Mr. Iger took on a higher profile and as Mr. Eisner's luster faded amid shareholder dissatisfaction. In recent weeks, though, questions once again arose regarding Mr. Iger's management acumen following the release of a book that sometimes portrayed Mr. Iger's leadership less than favorably.
post #1953 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Disney's Board Chooses Iger as New Chief
By LAURA M. HOLSON The New York Times March 13, 2005

LOS ANGELES, March 13 - The Walt Disney Company announced today that Robert A. Iger will succeed Michael D. Eisner as the new chief executive. Mr. Iger, 54, will begin in September 2005, a year before Mr. Eisner said he would step down. In a letter to the board of directors, Mr. Eisner said he would not seek the chairmanship or a seat on the board of directors after Oct. 1, 2005, something many in Hollywood thought he would want if Mr. Iger succeeded him as chief executive.

The naming of Mr. Iger will mark the end of Mr. Eisner's storied and tumultuous two-decade reign at Disney. It was was marked by a shareholder revolt last March, leading to his announcement seven months later that he would not seek to be named chief executive after his contract expired in September 2006.

For months many inside and outside the company expected that the board would name Mr. Iger, who Mr. Eisner named as his choice. But the board also interviewed other candidates, including Meg Whitman, the chief executive of eBay. On Friday, she said she was withdrawing from the competition.

The promotion will be the realization of something Mr. Iger has patiently waited for since Mr. Eisner named him Disney president in 2000. Mr. Iger worked tirelessly in the shadow of Mr. Eisner, a position that was at times uncomfortable as he was forced to differentiate himself from his boss, who had become a lightning rod for many of Disney's troubles. At last year's annual meeting, 45 percent of the votes cast in the board election were withheld from Mr. Eisner in a public rebuke of his management.

Now Mr. Iger will have to prove that he has the ability to retool Disney, whose fortunes, after years of underperformance, are turning around as tourists have returned to the theme parks and the ABC television network appears to be improving with hits like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost."

As little as a year ago few executives in Hollywood expected that Mr. Iger, who began his career in 1974 at Capital Cities/ABC as a studio supervisor, would get the job. But in recent months Mr. Iger has not only successfully wooed Wall Street but also members of the board.

Mr. Iger's skills as a chief executive - despite his negotiations with Hong Kong officials over construction of a Disneyland park there or his overseeing the successful ESPN businesses while president - are untested. Mr. Iger has neither attracted the ire of critics nor been celebrated for having the creative vision to run Disney. He is best known for his easy charm and cool demeanor, something that could work in his favor with Disney's disaffected partners, including Steve Jobs, the chairman of Pixar Animation Studios, who battled with Mr. Eisner.

"Clearly Bob's been a great partner to Michael Eisner in very tough times," said Jeffrey Logsdon, a media analyst at Harris Nesbitt who has followed Disney for years. "But he's got a lot of different constituencies to work with and gain confidence where he does not have it."
post #1954 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Popular 'Idol' contender calls it quits
By César G. Soriano USA TODAY
American Idol finalist Mario Vazquez, considered by some a leading contender to win the hit TV talent show, unexpectedly quit the competition on Sunday, citing personal reasons. He was replaced by Nikko Smith, who was ousted last Wednesday.

A Fox spokesman did not elaborate on the surprise announcement except to stress that it was Vazquez's decision to withdraw. Vazquez was traveling home to New York on Sunday and could not be reached for comment.

With his charismatic persona, pop-star fashion and extensive vocal range, the Bronx-born Vazquez, 27, had gained a fan following. His repertoire consisted of R&B classics such as Stevie Wonder's Do I Do and The O'Jays' I Love Music.

Fans were stunned at the news.

"He was the best contestant on the show," said Idol viewer Kent Bailey of Lexington, Ky. "The talent, along with that smile, would have won him the competition."

Melissa Gleason of Columbus, Ohio, picked Vazquez in her office pool. "I am bummed," she says. "He had the whole package looks, talent, the 'it' factor."

At a Fox party Wednesday to honor the 12 finalists, Vazquez gave no hint that anything was amiss. He even showered compliments on Smith, who was eliminated last week when men were reduced from eight to six performers. (Smith was chosen to return because he had more votes than Travis Tucker.)

"I was really disappointed about Nikko leaving," Vazquez told USA TODAY. "I thought he was amazing. I thought he had an excellent voice. And he was smooth, dude. He was a smooth operator."

Smith, the son of baseball's Ozzie Smith, will perform Tuesday (8 p.m. ET/PT) when the men and women first compete against each other.

Vazquez was one of several contestants who benefited from a rule change this season, raising the age limit to 28. He was once rejected at an Idol audition for being a month over the cutoff.

Vazquez is not the first Idol contestant to leave the show unexpectedly:

In 2004, finalist Donnie Williams was kicked out after an arrest on suspicion of DUI.

In 2003, Frenchie Davis was dropped for having posed on a Web site catering to men with fantasies of underage girls; and finalist Corey Clark and semifinalist Jaered Andrews were dismissed for failing to report previous arrest records.

Idol is consistently the No. 1 TV show, averaging more than 26 million viewers a week.
post #1955 of 25503
Probably got offered a nice contract..
post #1956 of 25503
Thread Starter 
For those of you who missed it over on the March Madness thread, here's an HD (and SD) preview for this week's first-round NCAA games.

NCAA First Round HD/SD Viewing Guide
(with thanks to rkunces)
Thursday March 17, 2005

12:15 PM Wisconsin-Milwaukee #12 vs. Alabama #5 HD
12:45 PM Niagara #14 vs. Oklahoma #3 HD
2:55 PM Penn #13 vs. Boston College #4 HD
3:15 PM Texas-El Paso #11 vs. Utah #6 HD
7:10 PM Chattanooga #15 vs. Wake Forest #2 HD
7:25 PM Winthrop #14 vs. Gonzaga #3 HD
9:40 PM Creighton #10 vs. West Virginia #7 HD
9:55 PM UCLA #11 vs. Texas Tech #6 HD

12:20 PM Eastern Kentucky #15 vs. Kentucky #2
12:40 PM Pittsburgh #9 vs. Pacific #8
2:50 PM Iowa #10 vs. Cincinnati #7
3:10 PM Montana #16 vs. Washington #1
7:10 PM Nevada #9 vs. Texas #8
7:20 PM Utah St. #14 vs. Arizona #3
9:40 PM Fairleigh-Dickinson #16 Illinois #1
9:50 PM UAB #11 LSU #6

Friday March 18, 2005

12:15 PM North Carolina State #10 vs. Charlotte #7 HD
12:25 PM Ohio #13 vs. Florida #4 HD
2:45 PM University of Central Florida #15 vs. Connecticut #2 HD
2:55 PM New Mexico #12 vs. Villanova #5 HD
7:10 PM Louisiana-Lafayette #13 vs. Louisville #4 HD
7:10 PM Vermont #13 vs. Syracuse #4 HD
9:40 PM Old Dominion #12 vs. Michigan State #5 HD
9:40 PM George Washington #12 vs. Georgia Tech #5 HD

12:30 PM Iowa St. #9 vs. Minnesota #8
12:30 PM SE Louisiana #15 vs. Oklahoma St. #2
3:00 PM St. Mary's (Ca.) #10 vs. Southern Ill. #7
3:00 PM Alabama A&M/Oakland #16 vs. North Carolina #1
7:20 PM Northern Iowa #11 vs. Wisconsin #6
7:25 PM Delaware St. #16 vs. Duke #1
9:50 PM Bucknell #14 vs. Kansas #3
9:55 PM Mississippi St. #9 vs. Stanford #8
post #1957 of 25503
this is interesting.. none of the #1 seeds are in hd.. lol
post #1958 of 25503
Beyond th Headlines....Latest industry news.
"Powell to exit without resolving DTV deadline"
"MSNBC owners want to split"
"FCC grants DTV extensions to 85 stations"
"WUSA-TV goes HD"

post #1959 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Wired Cable Loses 1.1 Mil. Users
By Katy Bachman mediaweek.com

Wired cable penetration hit a 10-year low in February, losing 1.1 million subscribers, according to a Television Bureau Advertising analysis of Nielsen Media Research data released Wednesday. Compared to a year ago, cable penetration fell from 67.5 percent to 65.8 percent and the number of subscribers dropped to 72.1 million from 73.2 million in 2004.

Cable's loss is satellite TV's gain. Direct broadcast satellite (DBS) is estimated at 19.2 percent, up from 17.8 percent a year ago. Alternative delivery systems (which include DBS) are also up, reaching 19.7 percent in February, up from 18.8 percent a year ago. ADS now represent 23.3 percent of subscription TV customers.

In some markets, ADS make up a significant percentage of cable households. In Salt Lake City, 41.1 percent of multi-channel subscriber homes are receiving TV programming via ADS. In Dallas, the seventh-largest TV market, 39.5 percent of multi-channel homes receive TV programming via ADS.
post #1960 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Sunday's ratings have been posted at the top of Latest News, the first item in this thread.
post #1961 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Since a #16 has never beaten a #1 in the men's tournament it makes sense, I guess.
post #1962 of 25503
Thread Starter 
(This show is not in HD yet, but it will be later in the year.)

Late Night Raises The Burr
CBS's Craig Ferguson Brings Brit Wit -- and a Spot of Tea -- to the Table
By Hank Stuever Washington Post Staff Writer Monday, March 14, 2005; Page C01

LOS ANGELES--Craig Ferguson is sitting in his tidy office at CBS's Television City several hours before the taping of his nightly show (or "the shoo," as he calls it), talking about growing up in the small town of Cumbernald, just outside Glasgow, Scotland. His father knew someone over at the shipyard who'd picked up some carpet remnants from a luxury liner being assembled, and thus, Ferguson swears, his family was the first in the neighborhood to get wall-to-wall carpet.

Since he took over nine weeks ago as host on "The Late, Late Show," a post-Letterman, seldom-seen, insomniac's delight, this has been part of his shtick: He loves to go on about the exaggerated bleakness of his Scottish youth, so bad there wasn't even carpet. "I remember people came around, from the whole block, you know, just to have a look at our new carpet."


"No, not right now, I've got to do the shoo," Ferguson says. "But maybe later on."

(Wait a beat. He lets out a deep laugh, then mock-addresses a nonexistent camera: "We'll be right back after these messages, everybody.")

To read this story properly, you might want to use your fake Scottish accent (and you know you've got one) for the quotes where Ferguson talks. Just do it in your worst burr; think Groundskeeper Willie on "The Simpsons," James "Scotty" Doohan from "Star Trek" or Mike Myers as Fat Bastard. Such is the American pop gamut of Scots, until now.

People apparently love to listen to Craig Ferguson talk. His predecessor, Craig Kilborn, hosted for five seasons, and it was fine as far as it went, except for Kilborn's slight, bratty chilliness -- it was too frat-boy, Kilborn's detractors said. Too snide, oddly clinical.

Ferguson's show already gives off light beams of jolliness, even as you get the feeling that it's possibly a happy train wreck. In an age of snark, it's almost too retro: A good-looking man walks out, has an accent, tells some jokes, makes chitchat, introduces a band, and nobody gets hurt.

Desperate actresses especially adore him. Witness the parade of fabulously coiffed and giddy B-minusers who've done "The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson" since its debut Jan. 3 -- Jennifer Beals, Mimi Rogers, Jennifer Love Hewitt.

And on this particular night's show, ladies and gentleman, Faye Dunaway, as if she has been transported to us accidentally by time machine!

Dunaway is on to promote "Starlet," the new reality show she's appearing on, but also she is here, she will later reveal, because she's been staying up late, too, with the rest of a certain demographic: People who, perhaps through a fog of Tylenol PM, have developed a teensy, weird crush on Ferguson.

The show has become very Los Angeles in a local sense, in both vibe and casual conversation -- as if West Hollywood had gained a cable-access channel. Ferguson talks about his ex-wife (they are friendly; she runs a Pilates center and lives two doors from his house, and went with him to Clive Davis's Grammy party) and his 4-year-old son, Milo (he shares custody). Watching the shoo feels like you've bumped into him at the Farmers' Market Starbucks off Fairfax Avenue.

"I don't try to put a positive spin on things when I talk to guests, or the audience," he says. "I think that's the reason I talk about my ex-wife on the show, or being a dad, or alcoholism, to say, yes of course I'm a member of the human race and yes of course I have interactions which succeed and fail, and other than that I'm okay and I'm doing all right and this show, you know, we're not here to talk about our feelings and help you out with your [expletive], because I don't even know ya. It's TV."

Mostly it's kitten time. "You're so charrrrmmming," Hewitt blurts out the minute she sits down on a recent show. She looks like she wants to eat Ferguson with a spoon. He appears to be looking for a fork. So yes, somehow he's charming: handsome in a shopworn and pocky way, at 42; blue-eyed, dark hair askew, deeply dimpled; slouching happily onto the set in a 6-foot-2-inch frame, that, if, say, a skit calls for him to perform a "Flashdance" routine in a ripped sweat shirt, leotard and leg warmers, reveals itself to be a bit thick.

Rogers comes on to talk about a TV movie she's done with Tom Selleck and frankly you could care less, until Ferguson learns that she dated Selleck back in his "Magnum, P.I." days.

"You had him at the top of his game," he says. "He's a pretty hairy man, isn't he?"

"The right amount," Rogers says, and wonders if Ferguson will open his shirt a button or two for a comparison.

"Oh, no, I'm like a dolphin," he says. "I've got nothin' -- I've got the landing strip, and that's it."

He addresses viewers at home as "my lovelies" or, better, calls them "cheeky wee monkeys" and does a regular bit where he pours himself a cup of tea from a proper silver tea set, inviting the audience to ask questions. The show leaps at you -- at 12:35 a.m., an ungodly hour for anyone past their Jesus year, age 33 -- with a jaunty, Electric Light Orchestra-ish theme song ("Mr. Blue Sky" maybe?):

But hang on leave the TV on

And let's do it anyway (hey, hey)

You can always sleep through work tomorrow,

Tomorrow's just your future yesterday.

Growing Pains

Ferguson's ratings are up just slightly from Kilborn's a year ago, to about 1.9 million viewers, and still somewhat below "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" on NBC, which draws 2.5 million. There are odd little pops in Ferguson's first demographic returns -- men over 54, for example, are watching in greater numbers, and so are women that age. (With other spikes in younger female cheeky monkey departments.) Yes, this is just another man in a tailored suit and expensive necktie sitting at a desk with a fake window view of twinkling lights behind him, in a post-post-post-post-Carson era. But it's also some elusive other thing, a lark: "This is a show that's being born on the air," Ferguson says. "There were no trial shows -- this is it, so the comedy is honest-to-goodness birth pains."

CBS really just threw this man on the air, with only two auditions and a few weeks' notice -- a man viewers knew only from his role as Nigel Wick, the unctuous boss on "The Drew Carey Show"; a man some viewers might not literally understand.

To really work, late-late talk shows (12:30 is so very different from 11:30) must feel somehow illicit, but not nasty; smart, but not cerebral or vital; they have to feel like secret entree into the world of adults but also remain childish. They need guests who are either coming or going from fame. They are successful only when they make you feel like a child getting away with impermissible viewing.

The show's comedy bits, TV critics have written since Ferguson took over, leave a lot to be desired. And he mostly agrees: "Did you see last night?" he asks, making a sour face. "Some nights I'll be doin' a bit, and I just really wish we could show the last night's show, but that's the whole [bleepin'] point of it. You have to make something every day.

"I had one guest," he says, declining to name her, "and I thought, 'God, even you are bored by what you're sayin'. You're bored, I'm bored.' She was so media-trained that it was like, 'Christ almighty, can't you forget this [expletive] for a minute?' "

Self-Taught Dropout

Ferguson was born in 1962 and came of age during the Protestant-Catholic tensions that raged in Ireland and set the tone in his Scottish neighborhood, too. The Fergusons were Protestant; his father worked for the postal service and his mother taught school; Craig is third of four children. He was a fat kid with too much energy. When he was 13, his father took him to Long Island to see an uncle; they got one of those budget fares on Sir Freddy Laker's airline. Ferguson was smitten with America.

He dropped out of high school at 15. "I was a bright kid, but I was kind of crazy. I used to win the school prize for literature. I would write these great big stories. But I never finished school and I kind of regret it now. I'll be reading something, Descartes or Thomas Aquinas" -- and he insists he really reads these things and was recently taken with Jostein Gaarder's "Sophie's World," a novel that attempts to encompass the whole history of Western philosophy -- "I'll be reading and come into something that's a huge [bleepin'] gap where I don't really know what's going on, and I'll have to go back and look up a reference from a thousand years earlier. On a good day I'm an autodidact and on a bad day I'm a dilettante." (He recently finished writing a novel about "the birth of a church in America," he says, but he hasn't shopped it around to publishers yet.) Eager "to just get started with life," Ferguson worked in a factory and as a bartender, and then joined a series of punk-rock bands in the late '70s and early '80s, "with such dooomb names," he notes: The Bastards From Hell, then the Green Boys. Then the Recognitions. Then the Lone Wolves. "The Lone Wolves? That's the dumbest name there," he says. "How can you be lone if you're a pack of wolves?"

In 1983, he and his first wife moved to New York, and Ferguson worked in construction and acted in some obscure plays. He returned to Scotland and to bartending, "I'm a big drinker. I'm an alcoholic, so I was good at bartending." He did profane stand-up comedy as a recurring character named Bing Hitler, which he now says he was too drunk to remember. He went into rehab in 1993 after appearing as Brad in a revival of "The Rocky Horror Show" and has been sober ever since.

That decision, he says, persuaded him to move to Los Angeles and try to break into TV (he joined Carey's sitcom in 1995) and movies. His last role, in "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," wound up mostly on the cutting-room floor; it was becoming apparent to him that the work was drying up, and Ferguson says he's given up acting.

He has frequently talked about his alcoholism since taking over "The Late, Late Show." When Steve Jones, the former Sex Pistol turned L.A. radio deejay, came on the show, he and Ferguson commiserated like a couple of veterans of the punk-rock pint wars.

'Can He Do It?'

Johnny Carson died when Ferguson had been on the job only two weeks. He felt extremely awkward about weaving Carson's death into his own mess of a show. He worried that nothing he could say seemed appropriate, or even earned.

But without rehearsal or a script, Ferguson opened his show with some gentlemanly words. "I think if I had done some big phony thing about Johnny, I would have been found out. I said, we're going to talk about it once, because he created what we do for a living, and then we're going to leave it."

He quoted James Joyce and told about moving to New York at 22, and feeling naive and far from home. He said that he felt "a little bit more American" each night when he watched "The Tonight Show."

Now that Ferguson has buzz -- and his publicists are running a charm offensive that has him hosting awards shows and doing more interviews -- the feeling around CBS is that they picked a nice guy.

But as it happens, Ferguson needs to be a tyrant right this very minute. After a blackened chicken wrap and a meeting with his writers, he has to go to the set and play the part of North Korea's Kim Jong Il in a prerecorded skit for the night's show where Fearless Leader makes a nuclear bid for the 2012 Olympics.

The sketch feels doomed from the start -- when Ferguson walks out in a Kim Jong Il hairdo, someone on the crew says he looks "like Ira from 'Mad About You' " -- but Ferguson is happily game, ready to bomb.

"I think I was anxious at first about failing, but not now. It's still too early to tell," he says. His contract with CBS is for six years, but that could mean nothing. "I think anyone who reviewed the show in the first three weeks, and a lot of people did, is kind of an idiot. None of us know what it is, and I think maybe that's why people are watching. They're sort of fascinated, I think. 'Can he do it'?

"The final answer," he says, "is I will be here for a while, and I will get it right."
post #1963 of 25503
It's interesting that Wired Cable has lost so many viewers over the past year. I don't quite understand what ADSs are though, but it does seem like just taking MSO+ADS (which supposedly includes DBS right?) from last year and MSO+ADS from this year there has been every so slightly a move to free OTA. (A move of .8%) Who knows if there's anything to that or not though. And the Salt Lake City area probably includes USDTV I would think (seeing as that's one of their market areas) which may represent a move of people to free and pay OTA. Don't know about Dallas though.
post #1964 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Canseco Recommends Steroid Use
Says They Have "Made the Game More Exciting Than Ever,"
During Interview With Roy Firestone On HDNet

(HDNet Press Release)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - DALLAS - (March 14, 2005) - Jose Canseco, former Major League Baseball player and author of "Juiced," a book about the alleged rampant use of steroids in baseball, makes some controversial statements in a special "Face 2 Face with Roy Firestone" that premieres Monday night at 9:30 p.m. ET, and again Tuesday at 2:00 a.m. ET / 11:00 p.m. PT, only on HDNet.

In the interview, Canseco, who is scheduled to appear in front of a congressional committee on steroids in baseball on Thursday, talks about his own use of steroids and growth hormones, as well as other players, and actually recommends steroid use for some athletes.

"You know I don't recommend steroids for everyone...but for some it will benefit them greatly, steroids and growth hormones definitely," says Canseco.

When Firestone asks if Canseco thinks he and other players who used steroids have hurt the game, Canseco's response is: "I think we made the game more exciting than ever. I think the home run competition between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire brought the game back to life. I truly believe that these two individuals saved the game at one point. Were they using steroids? Absolutely."

The program will air again on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET and in other time slots throughout the week.
post #1965 of 25503
Thread Starter 
(Adapted from basic information in Marc Berman's Programming Insider column Monday March 14th, 2005 at Mediaweek.com. Any mistakes or omissions are mine.)
On The Air Tonight
Primetime Programming Options

Monday 3/14/05

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - How'd They Do That?
Extreme Makeover
Supernanny (R)

Still Standing (R) HD
Listen Up (R) HD
Everybody Loves Raymond (R) HD
Two and a Half Men (R) HD
CSI: Miami (R) HD

Fear Factor (R)
Las Vegas HD
Medium HD

Nanny 911
24 HD

One On One (R) HD
Cuts HD
Girlfriends (R) HD
Half and Half (R) HD

7th Heaven
Summerland HD

Lakers at Wizards HD
post #1966 of 25503
fredfa, Still Standing and Listen Up on CBS and Cuts on UPN are in HD.

(It says "Simulcast In HDTV" for Cuts in this promo for the show: http://www.upn.com/video/promo_cuts.shtml.)
post #1967 of 25503
Thread Starter 
thanks f44, changes made.
post #1968 of 25503
Thread Starter 
'Numbers' adds up to early lead vs. 'Trial'
'Jury' fails to make case
NBC's "Law & Order: Trial by Jury" took a step back in its second outing, falling behind CBS rookie "Numbers" in their first head-to-head matchup. According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, "Numbers" (3.5/10 in adults 18-49, 11.6 million viewers overall) topped "Trial by Jury" (3.0/9 in adults 18-49, 10.8 million viewers) in most key categories, with the Peacock entry prevailing only in a couple of female demos.

ABC's "20/20" was a competitive third for the hour (prelim 2.8/8 in 18-49, 8.1 million).

This is the best result for "Numbers" since its Friday premiere on Jan. 28. CBS effectively promoted the Rob Morrow-David Krumholtz crime skein during its powerhouse Thursday lineup, which dominated every half-hour last week.

For NBC, "Trial by Jury" declined by 27% from its time-period bow of a week earlier. This is believed to be the lowest 18-49 score for a regular, firstrun seg of the "Law & Order" franchise, which now has four programs on the Peacock.
post #1969 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Ferguson's 'Late Late' ratings rise
Revamped talker rating second behind Conan
Latenight's newest host is finding an audience. Craig Ferguson, the bemused Scotsman who won the sweepstakes to host the "Late Late Show," is taking the show to new ratings heights.

Show rated an average of 1.91 million viewers during the February sweeps, putting distance between the "Late Late Show" and ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and moving into a respectable second place behind NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" (2.53 million).

Ferguson, who beat out three other candidates for the job, turned in a better February sweeps perf than either of his predecessors, Craig Kilborn and Tom Snyder. Eye senior VP for programming Kelly Kahl estimates Ferguson has added 100,000 viewers to the show since he took over 10 weeks ago. "Late Late" is the only 12:30 show to gain viewers over last year, with "Conan" down 9%. "Kimmel," which starts a half-hour earlier, is down 4%.

"Late Late" has pulled ahead of "Kimmel" by 356,000 viewers, up from 228,000 last year, and closed the gap with "Conan" to 638,000. Last year, "Conan" beat Kilborn's "Late Late Show" by nearly a million. Ferguson has won acclaim for his interviewing skills and a disarming sensibility that makes guests comfortable. Rockier has been the opening monologue, which exec producer Todd Yasui admits has been a work in progress.

"In any latenight show, it always takes a while to find your footing," he said. "We have to find the voice of the host, and he needs to find his voice, too."
post #1970 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Vazquez: 'Idol' run is over, but dream lives on
By César G. Soriano, USA TODAY
Former American Idol finalist Mario Vazquez says quitting the competition "is all for the best" and vows that fans haven't heard the last of him.

"I knew I was going to disappoint a lot of people, but I always follow my gut," said Vazquez of his decision to quit Idol.

Vazquez, 27, made the media rounds Monday to explain why he decided to leave the hit talent show on Fox just as the final rounds begin (Tuesday, 8 ET/PT). But he did not elaborate on the "personal reasons" that led to his decision.

"There are priorities I have to take care of personal, private things and I hope my fans can be respectful of what little bit of privacy I have remaining," Vazquez said by telephone from his native New York. "I can't be sad. But I was disappointed that I had to make this decision. I knew I was going to disappoint a lot of people, but I always follow my gut."

Nikko Smith, who was voted off the show last week, was chosen to replaced Vazquez.

Vazquez said he struggled with the decision "throughout the competition. I couldn't show I was worried or anything. Truly, I was excited making the top 32, making the top 24 and then the top 12. But it was hindering a bit."

He denied reports that he left the show in a dispute with Fox or Idol producers but declined to discuss the specifics of his contract. "American Idol has been nothing but wonderful to me. They felt disappointed I had to go, but they respected my choice."

His family was still in the dark Monday. Rich Vazquez, his brother, said he spoke to Mario briefly. "He hasn't divulged anything. I'm as clueless as you are. He just dropped this bomb on us. It's for a good reason, I guess ... but I'm presently upset."

Vazquez says he felt bad that his family and friends had to hear the news secondhand. "They're all a bit shocked and disappointed like I thought they would be. It might take them a bit of time to understand." He added that his decision had nothing to do with his family.

Many fans considered the charismatic Vazquez a front-runner. His song list focused on old-school R&B such as Stevie Wonder's Do I Do, a performance that caught the superstar's ear. "He sounded pretty good," Wonder told USA TODAY at Sunday's TV Land Awards.

Vazquez, who sang background vocals on the Michael Jackson single Whatever Happens, says he has no intention of quitting his musical dreams. "I'm always going to have a passion for music, no matter what."

(Contributing: Bill Keveney)
post #1971 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Monday's ratings have been posted at the top of Latest News, the first item in this thread.
post #1972 of 25503
In other news, and I'm surprised nobody on AVS beat me to it (I was out of town Monday), the FCC has turned away another indecency complaint -- this time against ABC's Monday Night Football.

As you'll recall, the complaint had to do with the intro before the Nov. 15 telecast, in which Desperate Housewives star Nicolette Sheridan comes on to football player Terrell Owens wearing nothing but a towel.

In its order, the FCC concluded: "Owens is fully clothed throughout the segment, and, with the exception of a moment when her bare back is exposed to the audience, Sheridan is at all times fully covered with a towel. No sexual or excretory organs are shown or described, and no sexual activities are explicitly depicted or described. Furthermore, the scene where Sheridan drops her towel and jumps into Owens's arms is brief. Although the scene apparently is intended to be titillating, it simply is not graphic or explicit enough to be indecent under our standard."

Link to order:

The only dissenting statement came from Democrat Michael Copps:

"Although the Commission finds that this broadcast does not violate [the indecency statute], it does raise the issue of broadcasters acting responsibly when deciding what to air during the hours when children are likely to be in the audience," Copps wrote.

Link to Copps statement:

dline posts this for information only and does not necessarily agree with any point of view expressed in this post.
post #1973 of 25503
If you happen to have a digital screenshot of Nicolette, you can see she's wearing pink underwear with dark purple polka dots outside the safe area.
post #1974 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Towel skit with Terrell Owens not out of bounds, FCC rules

Not "explicit enough" to warrant a penalty for ABC
By Daniel Rubin Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday declined to throw the flag for the Monday Night Football skit where a seemingly naked Nicollette Sheridan jumped into the arms of Eagles receiver Terrell Owens.

By a unanimous vote, the five commissioners decided that while "intended to be titillating," the scene was "simply not graphic or explicit enough" to violate indecency rules. ABC's spot, which aired Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. Philadelphia time - 6 p.m. on the West Coast - was another flash point in the culture war over what is appropriate for broadcast.

Nine months earlier, a "wardrobe malfunction" during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show left Janet Jackson's right breast exposed to 90 million viewers. Hearings followed, the FCC fined CBS $550,000 (the network is appealing), and bills to vastly increase indecency penalties are before Congress.

During the locker-room scene, Owens was about to head for the field when he found himself alone with Sheridan, a star of ABC's Desperate Housewives, who was wearing only a towel. When he rebuffed her advance, saying his team needed him, she dropped her towel. Owens replied, "Aw, hell, the team's going to have to win without me," and she leaped into his arms. The camera showed her naked back.

The commission reported receiving "many" complaints about the skit's indecency. An FCC spokeswoman declined to specify how many.

One group that objected was the American Family Association of Tupelo, Miss., which organized a campaign that sent 20,000 e-mails to the network and football officials, said Randy Sharp, the group's director of special promotions.

"We're not surprised [by the ruling]," Sharp said, "but we are disappointed that this continues to occur on the public airwaves. We're disappointed that the ABC network did not respect our families and parents enough to have stronger consideration for what they put on the air."

After the skit ran, FCC Chairman Michael Powell asked, "I wonder if Walt Disney would be proud?" ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Co. Most involved backed off the skit soon after the broadcast.

ABC apologized. The National Football League deemed it "inappropriate and unsuitable for our Monday Night Football audience." The Eagles said, "After seeing the final piece, we wish it hadn't aired."

Commissioner Michael Copps was the sole FCC member to issue a statement with the ruling. The Democrat said the skit "does raise the issue of broadcasters acting responsibly when deciding what to air during the hours when children are likely to be in the audience."

At a time when surveys show most parents are very concerned about their children's exposure to inappropriate programming, Copps said, he hoped broadcasters "would go the extra mile" in using restraint.

"There wasn't much self-discipline in this particular promotion," he wrote. "As stewards of the public airwaves, broadcasters can and should do better."

Jeff Jarvis, a former TV critic who writes the BuzzMachine blog, faulted the FCC for even getting involved.

"It's absurd we have the government doing this and being in the position of being our national censor and our national art critic," Jarvis said. "The FCC said [the skit] wasn't explicit enough. Only they know what is. You have this ridiculous blurry line where there shouldn't be a line at all. To me, it remains a violation of the First Amendment. The market should determine if it's acceptable."
post #1975 of 25503
Thread Starter 
CBS, FOX Split Weekly Ratings Races
(zap2it.com)--Let this be a lesson: Airing three episodes of "American Idol" per week is a recipe for ratings success and competitiveness. Airing three episodes of "The Contender" in a week is a recipe for third place. FOX rode its popular talent show all the way to the demographic bank, while NBC struggled through the week hamstrung by its new reality boxing disappointment. Meanwhile, though, neither network could stop CBS in overall measurements for the week ending Sunday, March 13, 2005.

CBS earned an 8.1 rating/13 share for the week, pulling in 12.53 million viewers per night in primetime. FOX was well back in second with a 6.7/11 and 11.12 million viewers. NBC was third with a 6.4/10 and 9.57 million viewers, easily holding off fourth place ABC's 5.5/9 and 8.5 million viewers. On the netlet side, UPN had a 2.0/3 and 3.01 million viewers for fifth, leaving The WB to trail with a 1.8/3 and 2.58 million.

FOX scored a big win in the key young adult demographic, doing a 4.8 rating among viewers 18-49. CBS was second with a 3.7 rating, with NBC's 3.4 rating and the 3.2 rating for ABC close behind. UPN had a 1.2 rating to nip the 1.1 rating for The WB.

The highest rated and most watched show for the week was CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," which hooked 29.4 million viewers and an 18.0/27. Fellow Thursday entries "Without a Trace" (15.0/25, 4th) and "Survivor: Palau" (12.4/20) also delivered the Nielsen goods. CBS' strategy to program new episodes of "CSI: Miami" (14.0/22, 5th) and "Two and a Half Men" (11.4/17, 8th) opposite NBC's "Contender" premiere paid off big and even that night's "Everybody Loves Raymond" (10.7/16, 9th) repeat was solid.

CBS also had Top 20 showings from Sunday's "Cold Case" (10.5/16, 10th) and "60 Minutes" (8.3/14, 18th).
FOX's success was all about it's "American Idol" trinity. The Tuesday female performance episode and the Wednesday results edition were tied for second on the week with the same 15.8/24 and the shows pulled in 27.66 and 26.86 million viewers respectively. The Monday performance episode wasn't far off with a 14.0/21 for No. 5. Tuesday's episode helped push a repeat of "House" to the medical drama's highest ratings yet with a 10.1/15 for No. 12. The Wednesday episode pushed "Simple Life: Interns" to an 8.3/13 for No. 18.

NBC's first three "Law & Order" franchises made Top 20 appearances, with "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (10.1/15) and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (10.1/17) tying for No. 12 and the original mothership taking No. 20 with an 8.2/14. Friday's "L&O: Trial By Jury" was less lucky, falling to No. 27 with a 7.3/13.
The peacock's other listworthy entries were "The Apprentice" (9.2/14, 15th) and "Crossing Jordan" (8.8/15, 16th).

Less impressive were the first three airings of NBC's "The Contender." The show's Monday sneak preview was No. 61 with a 5.1/8 and despite a strong "Apprentice" lead-in, the Thursday sneak was only slightly better (5.8/10, 52nd). Once the show settled into its regular Sunday home, it hit a nadir with a 4.3/7 for No. 74.

ABC's only Top 20 shows for the week were "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (10.3/16, 11th) and the sneak preview of the comedy "Jake in Progress" (8.7/13, 17th). The premiere of "Blind Justice" wasn't far off with a 8.1/13 at No. 21.

The WB's "Gilmore Girls" and UPN's "America's Next Top Model" tied at No. 82 with a 3.5/5, the best for either network. The WB, meanwhile, had the week's lowest rated original program with the 1.5/3 for the Tuesday premiere of "The Starlet," which could only drum up 2.15 million viewers.
post #1976 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Senator Says No Quick DTV Deadline
By Todd Shields Mediaweek.com March 15, 2005

A Senate leader on technology issues said Tuesday the chamber may accept a hard deadline for the digital TV transition, but it is unlikely to go along with an emerging House proposal to end analog transmissions as early as the end of next year.

"People will think that's not enough time," said Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), head of the Commerce Committee's subcommittee on technology. "Whether it's 2007, 2008 -- something like that will be more the compromise," Ensign told reporters after addressing a Washington audience gathered by the Consumer Electronics Association.

Broadcasters generally oppose setting a deadline, arguing that cutting off analog transmissions could leave millions without essential TV service. The consumer electronics industry wants a deadline. So does Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), chair of the House Commerce Committee, who told the same audience earlier Tuesday he expects to soon introduce a bill setting a hard date.

Barton said he prefers a deadline of Dec. 31, 2006 -- a date set years ago by Congress but which added an escape clause: the transition need not take place until 85 percent of viewers can receive a digital TV signal. Barton suggested the 85 percent goal is close in many markets, if regulators count subscribers to cable systems that can convert broadcasters' digital signals to analog signals that will work with old TVs.
post #1977 of 25503
Thread Starter 
'Living With Fran' to Premiere April 8 TVWeek.comMarch 15, 2005

The WB announced Tuessday its new comedy "Living With Fran," will premiere Friday, April 8, at 8:30 p.m. (ET), with a special second episode airing that same night at 9:30 p.m.

"Living With Fran" stars Fran Drescher as a divorcée with a 21-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter who has her 20-something boyfriend move in with her.

The special episode guest stars John Schneider and Marilu Henner as the 20-something boyfriend's parents.
post #1978 of 25503
Thread Starter 
From Marc Berman's Programming Insider column Tuesday March 15th, 2005 at Mediaweek.com)
On the Air Tonight: Primetime Programming Options

Tuesday 3/15/05

My Wife and Kids HD
George Lopez (R) HD
According to Jim (original and repeat) HD
Blind Justice HD

The Amazing Race 7
Judging AmyHD

Will & Grace (two repeats) HD
Scrubs (R)
Committed HD
Law & Order: SVU (R) HD

American Idol HD
House HD

All of Us (R)
Eve (R)
Veronica Mars (R) HD

Gilmore Girls (R) HD
The Starlet
post #1979 of 25503
Thread Starter 
Last week's prime-time ratings have been posted at the top of Latest News, the first item in this thread.
post #1980 of 25503
Thread Starter 
NBC re-elects 'Wing'
License fees cut to secure another year
From Variety.com
NBC, John Wells Prods. and Warner Bros. TV are close to wrapping up a long-expected deal to renew "The West Wing" for at least one more season.

None of the parties involved would talk Tuesday, but those familiar with the negotiations said just a few small deal points were left to be hammered out. NBC is expected to get another season of the show at a substantially reduced license fee vs. what the net had been paying, along with options for future seasons.

Under terms of the most recent "West Wing" license fee agreement, Peacock shelled out about $6 million per episode. That price will go down to about $3 million, according to insiders.
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