Schedule, only on the home page of ABC7LA: >>CLICK
>>Affils: ABC dropped the ball, again<<
>>ABC, Union Suspend Talks, Extend Contract<<
News Introduces Online News Channel<<
>>'View' Scores 6 Daytime Emmy Nominations<<
>>Learn some OSCAR stats<<
>>Dish Net dissing ABC Family<<
>>Meet the new "Bachelor"<<
>>CNN-ABC NEWS union off<<
CNN/ABC merger talks<<
>>THE FEB. '03 SWEEPS ARE IN: ABC7 maintains its dominance...<<
corporate ownership affect the quality of local journalism?<<
NBC lifted fire footage<<
Hot might face suit<<
>>Family to give Blue a vacation<<
Sister of Oprah Winfrey, Found Dead<<
>>Trista, Ryan Anticipate Togetherness<<
>>'Bachelor' Ex-Fiancée Discusses Breakup<<
CNN Chief Rick Kaplan Joining ABC<<
Blake Tells His Story to Walters<<
>>ABC taps 4
defends Jackson interview<<
French Open extension<<
turns tables but still looks desperate<<
Vent Over 'Joe Millionaire'<<
to Stop Airing Disney Kids Programs<<
Becomes 'The Music Man'<<
>>ESPN b’cast to go hi-def<<
Viewers Flock to ABC Special on Michael Jackson<<
>>Review for ‘The Music Man’<<
>>Dis ups Hunt<<
>>ABC Executive Friedman to be Consultant<<
>>Jackson’s many faces prove too much for rivals<<
>>ABC Dropped the Ball on
'Bachelor' Says Engagement Is Off<<
>>ABC and HDTV: Progressive
>>ESPN & ABC sports jazz up basketball coverage<<
News to use IP video b/w bureaus<<
>>ABC moves to digital newsroom with Avid Technology<<
>>Cameraman celebrates 500th ABC MNF production<<
Launches "ABC News On Demand" Subscription Service<<
>>ABCs John Miller Signs On With The LAPD<<
>>Oprah Winfrey ranked 8th
as the Most Powerful Woman in Television<<
looks anew at Henson<<
weathers rebuilding of primetime sked<<
>>DIS PUTS HANDS ON ‘HIS
>>CNN, ABC STILL DATING BUT
>>MINER’S SEE THE LIGHT
WITH DIS TV, BOOK DEALS<<
>>ABC ‘WORLD NEWS’
BULLETIN: JENNINGS ANCHORED TILL ‘05<<
>>'DRAGNET' ON BEAT FOR
>>EISNER OFFERS UP A
MEA CULPA FOR DISNEY DOWNTURN<<
>>ABC ‘RULES’ ON
>>ABC is going back 24,000
years for its next family franchise<<
>>ABC, AFILS BOARD REACH
>>ABC’S ‘RULES,’ ‘BONNIE’ GO DISTANCE<<
>>EVENINGS AT THE IMPROV<<
>>ABC, TOUCHSTONE WALK DOWN AISLE WITH "WEDDING
>>TOLLIN/ROBBINS PUT COMIC AT ABC<<
>>ABC GETTING BACK IN RATINGS GAME<<
>>ABC's On-Air Redesign<<
>>ABC HAS LAST LAUGH AS ‘RULES,’ ‘BONNIE’ SCORE<<
>>‘MONK’ DETECTS SEASON 2<<
>>ESPN LOOKS INTO LONGER, HYBRID ADS<<
>>FINANCIAL, EDITORIAL ISSUES KEEP CNN-ABC DEAL ON ICE<<
>>DIS UPS BOARD OVERSIGHT<<
>>ABC, FOX TURNER TO SHARE ‘MiB II’<<
ABC7LA Web Pages:
Eyewitness News History
This September, as ABC introduces its new Fall 2002 schedule to viewers, the
network will also present an entirely new on-air design package, it was
announced today by Mike Benson, senior vice president, Marketing,
Advertising and Promotion, ABC Television Network. The new evolution of
ABC's on-air brand identity will employ an innovative style and vibrant,
diverse color palette, evoking the energy, emotion and excitement built
around its slate of new and returning shows.
"As we take
on the challenge of re-inventing ABC and introducing viewers to our new fall
lineup, we felt the time had come to evolve the 'look' and 'feel' of the
network's on-air persona," said Mr. Benson. "As we embarked on this redesign
project, it came to mind that America is made up of many colors...so should
ABC. Therefore, as part of our new campaign, we added greens, oranges, blues
and reds to our trademark, eye-popping yellow color palette, making the
overall package incredibly vibrant and visually engaging."
strategy, based on recommendations from Leo Burnett Worldwide, is rooted in
a concept dubbed "owning the circle," which refers to the circles of the ABC
logo, including the large outer circle and the three smaller circles making
up the letters. The updated look, designed and produced by Wall/Everett and
Troika Design, will maintain the simple presentation style ABC is known for,
including flat colors and a clean graphic style.
abandon the catchy yellow hue introduced with the previous on-air redesign
in 1998, the network is broadening the color palette and introducing an
entirely new graphics package. ABC's comedy series and the new ABC Happy
Hour as a whole will now be showcased with an on-air promotions package
featuring electric shades of green and yellow, while the network's hour-long
dramas will be highlighted by darker blues and reds. Another element of the
redesign is brilliant color moving images showcasing network talent, which
replaces the previous static, black and white photography.
added: "With our new look, our goal was to evolve, not toss the baby out
with the bath water. We still want viewers to identify the network without
having to see the ABC logo, just as the familiar yellow had accomplished in
the past. Now we have an array of colors we're hoping will be more
accessible to a broader audience."
philosophical goal in developing this campaign is to reflect the different
colors of life and the different circles in which Americans live. Achieving
this objective called for an on-air design intended to be fun, simple,
friendly and accessible to all audiences, whether they are in the family
room or around the water cooler, living in the city or the countryside. The
overall desired result is to make ABC a familiar and friendly part of its
viewers' lives, perhaps even a comfortable extension of their homes or
on behalf of Leo Burnett, Cheryl Berman, chief creative officer, said: "ABC
has established one of the strongest brand identities in television, not to
mention all of America.
Our 'owning the circle' strategy builds upon that success. We've utilized a
graphic style based on the four circles of the ABC logo, using its natural
fluidity and simplicity as primary elements in achieving a familiar sense of
community. The overall result is something we hope viewers will not only
welcome into their homes and lives, but find exciting, stimulating and
pleasing to the eye."
In addition, ABC's
signature "four-note" tune, which has become a familiar calling card for the
network, will also get an update by injecting the notes into new, original
music, as well as familiar songs. Incorporated in the original tune will be
an upbeat array of musical themes, using brass, bass, percussion and more.
Also included is a new open for the ABC Big Picture Show based on a new
rendition of the ABC Sunday Night Movie open from the 1970s. The new music
package, produced by Wow and Flutter Music in Los Angeles, is sure to be
recognized and certain to bring attention to ABC's overall on-air redesign,
brightening homes and opening eyes with its fun, simple and accessible
BACK TO TOP
WABC-TV news executive
Barbara Johnson has bolted to rival New York outlet WNBC as news
director, WNBC said Wednesday. Johnson, a 20-year television news veteran, was executive producer at WUSA-TV in Washington, after stints
in Little Rock, Ark., Columbus,
Ohio, and Oklahoma City.
BACK TO TOP
Related ABC Web Pages:
Simple Rules" ////
some much-needed good news Tuesday with a big turnout for the premiere
of two of its new comedies, the heavily promoted John Ritter starrer “8
Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and “Life With Bonnie.”
Simple Rules” and “Bonnie” won the 8-9pm hour against the season
premieres of Fox’s “That ’70s Show” and “Grounded for Life.” But the
news was not as promising for the 9pm premiere of ABC’s interactive
mystery drama “Push, Nevada,” which posted a significant drop-off from
its “Bonnie” lead-in.
Simple Rules” opened up at 8pm with an average of 17.3 million
viewers—marking ABC’s best showing for a premiere in the time slot since
“Roseanne’s” season bow in 1996. “Bonnie” held on tight to the bulk of
its lead-in at 8:30pm with an average of 16.1 million viewers.
solid opening for ABC’s new comedies was crucial for the network, which
has endured through a long Nielsen slump, particularly this summer. But
heavy promotion and the tactic of launching a week before the flood of
season premieres as most of the competition was serving up reruns paid
is an important night for us,” ABC entertainment president Susan Lyne
said. “Obviously, the season is long. But it was critical to
demonstrate that we could open our fall shows, especially when the
ratings had gone so low over the summer.”
also has put a major promo push behind “Push, Nevada,” which had a
special sneak preview outing Tuesday before it settles into its regular
Thursday 9pm berth. “Push” won the 9pm hour in viewers (12 million) but
fell off sharply in adults 18-49. It posted its best numbers with men
know that there was not a natural flow from ‘Bonnie” to ‘Push,’” Lyne
said. “But (airing it last night) was about getting people to sample
the show before we moved it to an incredibly competitive time slow on
ABC’s numbers for the
night were dragged down at 10pm
by a weak showing for the “Regis & Kelly in Primetime” special (8
million viewers) but it still took the night in total viewers.
BACK TO TOP
>>‘MONK’ DETECTS SEASON 2<<
Related Web Site:
Obsessive-compulsive detective Adrian Monk will keep fighting germs and
crime for USA Network for another season.
network has officially picked up 13 more episodes of its hit one-hour dramedy “Monk.” The second season of the series starring Tony Shalhoub is
slated to launch next summer.
The first season of “Monk” is airing in second window on ABC, which
originally developed the show through its Touchstone Television sibling
division. A spokesman for ABC confirmed that negotiations are under
way with USA for “Monk’s” second season.
to sources, ABC is angling to get the first run of the new “Monk”
episodes, though it’s understood that USA brass are intent on maintaining
the status quo.
and the rest of the cast, which includes Bitty Schram and Ted Levine, are
set to return.
location of filming for the second season is yet to be determined.
According to sources, as part of Shalhoub’s deal, he has some clout to
prod producers to move the production to Southern California from Toronto,
where the first season was primarily shot.
Season-to-date, USA’s run of “Monk” has averaged a hefty 3.4 household
rating and an average of 4.5 million viewers.
the production costs for “Monk” are lower than a one-hour series on
broadcast network,” its production value is as great as any show on a
broadcast network,” said Jeff Wachtel, executive vp and longform
programming at USA.
declined to go into detail about the financials of the show, saying only
that with international and second-window sales, the show is on track to
become profitable in its second or third year.
Sources pegged the license
fee for the series at $800,000-$900,000 per episode, with production
costs averaging $1.5 million. ABC is said to be paying about $300,000
per episode for the second run of the series’ first season.
BACK TO TOP
>>ESPN LOOKS INTO LONGER, HYBRID ADS<<
NEW YORK—ESPN is strongly considering
instituting a new advertising format in which commercials could run
minutes longer than their usual 30-60 seconds.
“We are open to the notion of doing
longform commercials and are in the conceptual creative stage,” Ed Erhardt,
president of ESPN/ABC Sports customer marketing and sales, said in an
The new format with which ESPN is
tinkering is a video-length narrative incorporating product placement for
an advertised brand along with promotion of a particular program. For
instance, an NFL game could include a two- to three-minute ad that
features an athlete touting not only as a sports drink but also ESPN’s NFL
Mark Shapiro, senior vp and general
manager at ESPN programming and acquisitions, said the network is gauging
Madison Avenue’s interest in the idea.
“As the competition for ad dollars
intensifies, we are exploring alternative ways to give advertisers added
value for their time,” he said. “We have to think outside the box.”
The prospect of the new format intrigued
observers of the cable industry, who said the jury will be out until the
long-form sports reach the air.
“It would be interesting to see how
viewers would respond,” said Harry Keeshan, director of national broadcast
at media buying firm PHD. “There’s a lot more commercialization within
the body of programs today, but it could have value it it’s not blatantly
Jack Myers, president of the Myers
Report, warned that advertisers must make sure their products are
matched with the right programming. “If the relationship between the
product and the program is illogical or gratuitous, this could
backfire,” he said. “Viewers could find it confusing.”
BACK TO TOP
September 25, 2002:
>>FINANCIAL, EDITORIAL ISSUES KEEP CNN-ABC DEAL ON ICE<<
the time word broke Tuesday of the latest dalliance between CNN and ABC
NEWS, the flirtation had already cooled—at least for now.
veterans are buzzing about a Los Angles Times report that the AOL Time
Warner board last week discussed a merger of operations between CNN and
TW-owned CNN has been toying for months with partnering with ABC or CBS,
the board discussion is believed to have strongly increased the likelihood
of CNN-ABC combo. Such a merger would presumably allow Walt Disney
Co.-owned ABC to lower costs and bolster sagging profits at its news
division while giving CNN a huge broadcast platform in its ongoing battle
with News Corp.’s top-rated Fox News Channel.
several issues—including financial and editorial control and possible
anti-competitive concerns from Washington—are keeping the sides far from
an agreement, sources said.
(of a merger) is intriguing, and we expect that these talks will pick up
again from time to time,” Walter Isaacson, chairman and chief executive of
CNN News Group, wrote in a memo to his staff. “At this time, CNN is not
close to making a deal.”
Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha: “We’ve had conversations for the last 18
months, and no deal has been reached.”
several sources stressed that the talks are by no means over for good.
Broadcasting chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner and Jeff Bewkes, chairman of
AOL TW’s entertainment and networks group, have been overseeing the
negotiations on CNN’s behalf, with Disney strategist Peter Murphy a key
player for ABC, according to two well-informed sources.
update to the board Thursday, Kellner and Bewkes said that a joint CNN-ABC
operation could deliver both cost savings and increased profits for both
Kellner and Bewkes told the board that the talks had recently simmered
down and there was no imminent deal.
CNN held on-again, off-again
talks with CBS News about a similar merger. Those negotiations most
recently halted late last month, when CBS is believed to have balked at
a proposal that would have given the cable network a 70%-80% stake in
the joint venture.
BACK TO TOP
September 25, 2002:
Disney and ESPN Radio outlets in the Los Angeles market will swap signals
Jan. 1, with Radio Disney moving from 710 to 1110 on the AM dial. ESPN
Radio said Monday that it will begin carrying Anaheim Angles games next
season, meaning the Angels will return to 710AM, the club’s broadcast home
for 36 years.
BACK TO TOP
The Walt Disney Co.’s board of directors on Tuesday unanimously approved a
series of immediate and long-term steps to reverse the company’s fiscal
slump, while separately adding members to a key oversight committee as part
of an ongoing effort to overhaul the board.
five-hour meeting of the 16 members, a routine action that usually goes
unnoticed, drew intense scrutiny because of reported dissatisfaction among
members about Disney’s share value and company plans to reduce the board’s
size and increase members’ independence.
significant action was taken on the latter front, with the board following
the advice of respected corporate advisor Ira Millstein to appoint two
additional board members, Judith Estrin and Monica Lozano, to the governance
and nominating committee, which reviews and recommends board candidates.
Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell also was elected to co-chair the
committee with Stanley Gold, who manages the investments of fellow board
member Roy Disney and is said to be among the most vocal critics of chairman
and CEO Michael Eisner’s handling of Disney’s turnaround.
Independence is one of the top goals of the board, which has been criticized
for being too partisan to Eisner. Disney also wants to ready itself to meet
independence standards under consideration by the New York Stock Exchange
and Securities and Exchange Commission.
furthered our commitment to enhanced governance by expanding the capacity of
our governance and nominating committee to address recent legislative and
regulatory developments and ensure that Disney remains among the most
progressive boards in America on governance issues,” Eisner said.
and board members declined to further comment on the meeting or growth plan,
which is presented to the board annually in June and was given final
was not enacted Tuesday, it now appears all but certain that Disney will
reduce the board’s size to about 12 members before year’s end, Miller said.
Much of the dissatisfaction
among board members and investors stems from Disney’s stock value, which
is down 31% year-to-date. Shares lost 0.32 on Tuesday to close at 14.75.
BACK TO TOP
In a rare move, Fox and ABC are set to the share broadcast window of Sony’s
summer blockbuster “Men In Black II” in a joint deal with Turner
pacts the companies sealed separately with Sony Pictures Television, Fox and
ABC will share the sequel for two years before it goes to Turner’s TBS for
get first crack at the movie in late 2004. After one run on Fox, “MIIB,”
starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, will move to ABC for two airings
and return to Fox for another run before going to TBS for multiple runs in
2006 when the cabler also gets “Men in Black.”
fee for the film, which grossed $219 million this summer, is pegged by
sources at $30 million, with Turner said to be shouldering more than half of
The original “Men in Black,”
which grossed $250 million in 1997, fetched nearly $50 million from NBC in
one of the richest movie licensing deals ever. BACK TO
October 1-7, 2002:
>>DIS PUTS HANDS ON ‘HIS AND HERS’<<
interracial comedy to its development slate, the Walt Disney Co. has
picked up the project “His and Hers” from Edmonds Entertainment.
Described as a family comedy
in the vein of the Edmonds-produced “Soul Food,” “His and Hers” revolves
around an interracial couple who fall in love and get married. But the
two formerly single parents discover that trying to bring their families
together is not as easy as it may have seemed.
Disney Interactive has
signed an agreement with Trymedia Systems that will let parents and
other prospective customers try Disney games before they buy them.
Using Trymedia’s ActiveMark technology, publishers can specify
parameters to make a portion of the full game available online.
October 1-7, 2002:
>>CNN, ABC STILL DATING BUT NUPTIALS YET<<
~Several issues keeping ardor on
road of romance can be rocky indeed. By the time word got around
Sept. 24 of the latest dalliance between CNN and ABC NEWS, the
flirtation had already cooled—for the time being, anyway.
Los Angeles Times reports that the
AOL TW board had discussed a merger of operations between CNN and
ABC NEWS had media types all atwitter, and while AOL TW-owned CNN
has been toying for months with partnering with ABC or CBS, the
board discussion is believed to have strongly increased the
likelihood of a CNN-ABC combo.
Such a merger presumably would allow
Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC to lower costs and bolster sagging profits
at its news division while giving CNN a huge broadcast platform in
its ongoing battle with News. Corp.’s top-rated Fox News Channel.
But several issues—including
financial and editorial control and possible anti-competitive
concerns from Washington—are keeping the sales far from an
agreement, sources said.
“The idea (of a merger) is
intriguing, and we expect that these talks will pick up again from
time to time,” Walter Isaacson, chairman and chief executive of CNN
News Group, wrote in a memo to his staff. “At this time, CNN is not
close to making a deal.”
Disney spokeswoman Zenia Mucha said,
“We’ve had conversations for the last 18 months, and no deal has
been reached.” She declined to elaborate.
However, several sources stressed
that the talks are by no means over for good.
Turner Broadcasting chairman and
CEO Jamie Kellner and Jeff Bewkes, chairman of AOL TW’s
entertainment and networks group, have been overseeing the
negotiations on CNN’s behalf, with Disney strategist Peter Murphy
a key player for ABC, according to two well-informed sources.
October 1-7, 2002:
>>MINER’S SEE THE LIGHT WITH DIS TV, BOOK DEALS<<
Now that they’ve survived their
80-hour ordeal of being trapped 244 feet underground in a flooded
mine shaft, what’s next for the nine Pennsylvania miners who were
miraculously rescued late last month? They’re going to Disneyland.
The nine miners have cut a
wide-ranging deal with the Walt Disney Co.—for $150,000 each—to tell
their inspirational stories in a numbers of ways. A book is in the
works through Disney’s Hyperion imprint while ABC is fast-tracking
the development of a telefilm based on the miners’ harrowing
experience and the elaborate rescue operation that brought them to
safety more than three days after the shaft collapsed July 24 in the
southwestern Pennsylvania town of Quecreek.
The arrangement with Disney also
calls for the miners to make appearances on ABC programs, including
“Good Morning America.” There was a mad media scramble last week
for access to the miners, and there were reports that “Today” anchor
Katie Couric was infuriated with her producers when “GMA’s” Diane
Sawyer landed the first sit-down interview with one of the miners.
Sources said the miners were
represented in the Disney deal by Pittsburgh-area lawyer Tom
Crawford, who did not return calls seeking comment during the
weekend. ICM is packaging the various projects for Disney and the
miners. Sources said the agency went on the offensive last week to
become the miners’ liaison in Hollywood; at least two ICM reps were
on a plan to Pennsylvania within hours after the news broke that the
men were alive and in good health.
Details about the telefilm project
were sketchy on Friday. ABC’s movies and miniseries chief Quinn
Taylor is said to have just started the process of meeting with
prospective producers and writers. ABC executives declined to
comment on the matter.
October 1-7, 2002:
>>ABC ‘WORLD NEWS’ BULLETIN: JENNINGS ANCHORED
YORK—With options limited for both of them, Peter Jennings and ABC
finally agreed on a new three-year contract that keeps him at the
“World News Tonight” anchor desk into 2005, sources familiar with
the deal said.
“He has no place to go, there’s no
question about it,” one veteran executive said. On the other
hand, ABC was locked in as well. “There’s a shortage of guys
capable of taking over” at the anchor desk, the executive said.
Jennings, 64, had little to say on
his status at a news conference called Monday to promote his
forthcoming news documentary series, “In Search of America,” which
aired September 3-7. The anchorman said he has never talked
about his contract status in public.
Sources confirmed that Jennings had
signed a three-year pact but declined to discuss his salary.
Although various sources have tabbed his pay in published reports at
about $10 million a year, others insisted that figure was mere
Speculation was the order of the day
Monday, with one agent estimating that Jennings will be pulling a
salary in the $8.5 million-$10 million range, about what he is
getting now. Published reports had suggested that ABC parent
the Walt Disney Co. was asking Jennings to take a 25% pay cut, but
that has never been confirmed. The agent said Jennings may
have been able to escape a cut because of the lack of any obvious
candidates to replace him.
“They probably decided, ‘If we can
renew him and extend him for two to three years, let’s do it,’” the
agent said, adding that network management has been remiss for
failing to develop the next Jennings.
One news executive said that the
networks—with the exception of NBC in the case of Brian
Williams—have done a poor job of training the next generation of
anchors, saying that “Good Morning America” co-host Charlie Gibson
could step in for Jennings. But at 59, Gibson would be a
“short-term solution” aimed at buying time.
NBC has the advantage of having two
cable networks at which to train its next generation of anchors.
One executive noted that it has the luxury of giving Tom Brokaw’s
heir apparent, Williams, two years in the field to hone his
reporting chops before he replaces Brokaw at the “Nightly News”
anchor desk in 2004.
But CBS News spokeswoman Sandra
Genelius strongly disagreed that her network has no ready
replacement for Dan Rather, who last year signed a new contract but
is expected to step down within a few years. “I think it’s a
cop-out. It’s not a fair criticism anymore,” Genelius said.
“If you look at all three networks, you can find several people
internally totally qualified to do that.”
Jennings’ newscast has stayed
close to “Nightly News” in the ratings this year, even winning a
few weeks in total viewers. But ABC’s newscast has skewed
much older than Brokaw’s, consistently losing among the important
BACK TO TOP
Wednesday, October 2, 2002:
>>'DRAGNET' ON BEAT FOR NEW LEAD<<
of ABC’s remake of “Dragnet,” from Dick Wolf and Universal TV, was shut down
Tuesday (10/1) after producers decided to recast the lead role, formerly played by
Danny Huston. “Danny Huston is a wonderful actor and a complete
professional,” Wolf said in a statement. “I regret that this situation
didn’t work out, but I hope to work with hi in the future.” Sources said
the producers are looking at an older actor for the role of Joe Friday. “I
wish everyone involved in ‘Dragnet’ the very best with the show,” Huston
said in a statement. The shutdown is not expected to push back “Dragnet’s”
midseason launch, slated for January, sources said.
Eisner took the blame Tuesday for the Walt Disney Co.’s prolonged fiscal
slump, telling an investors conference in New York that the conglomerate is
shifting its focus from investment and expansion to reaping value from the
performance has been unacceptable,” the Disney chairman and chief executive
told the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference. “The last five years have
been disappointing in terms of earnings and stock price, and I take
responsibility for this fact. But this has also been a period of investment
in building and extending our key brands—investments that I am confident
will pay off well in the years ahead.”
been under intense pressure from investors and some of his own board members
to boost the company’s earnings, which have been chiefly undercut by
weakness at the ABC network and U.S. theme parks.
right tone to take, especially in this corporate environment,” Kaufman & Co.
analyst Paul Kim said. “It demonstrates that (Eisner) is quite well aware
of the pressures he’s under, and that’s good to acknowledge.”
Bad as the
situation may be, Wall Street has overreacted to the downside and not fully
recognized Disney’s underlying strengths—much as was the case when he became
Disney’s chief 18 years ago, Eisner said.
he believes that ABC’s problems are wholly of Disney’s own making and are
slowly being reversed, while the park’s rebound was contingent on an end to
significant movement of the stock is going to correlate to broadcast
performance, and that is not going to happen overnight,” Sanders Morris
Harris analyst David Miller said.
marked the first day of Disney’s new fiscal year, so Eisner took the
opportunity to forecast strong double-digit earnings-per-share growth in
fiscal 2003. He also said that earnings over the past five years would have
been better if Disney had not heavily invested in its parks, networks and
entertainment businesses but that the payoff awaits as Disney shifts focus
to exploiting its brands, particularly Disney and ESPN.
in a harvest mode for the capital investments it’s made over the last at
least five years, but they’re going to need some help from the economy to
get the maximum benefit out of the investment,” Gerard Klauer Matison & Co.
analyst Jeff Logsdon said.
outlined a strategy to develop closer programming and promotional ties
between the ABC network and Disney’s cable outlets, including the recently
acquired ABC Family network.
ABC also has explored ways to
cut newsgathering costs by partnering with AOL Time Warner Inc.’s CNN
network, though Eisner told investors that no decision has been make and
he chances of the deal being finalized were 50/50 at best.
Thursday, October 3,
>>ABC ‘RULES’ ON TUESDAY<<
are definitely looking brighter for ABC. The new John Ritter sitcom, “8
Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” continued to flex its
demographic muscle, while Bonnie Hunt’s “Life With Bonnie” hung tough in
its first face-off at 9pm with NBC’s “Frasier.”
third straight week, “8 Simple Rules” (13.4 million viewers) won its
8-8:30pm slot in the adults 18-49 demo, which helped ABC win the night in
had solid results from the sophomore-season premiere of “According to Jim”
(12.2 million) at 8:30pm and the debut of “Less Than Perfect” (10.4
million viewers) at 9:30pm. Moreover, ABC’s “Bonnie” (11.1 million) held
up well against “Frasier” (14.5 million)—off its stellar season
premiere—giving ABC its most competitive demo performance in the 9-9:30 pm
period with a comedy opposite an original episode of “Frasier” in nearly a
year and a half.
“According to Jim” and “Less Than Perfect” showed solid 18-49 rating
lead-in retention—98% and 91% respectively.
night, ABC averaged 12.1 million viewers.
Thursday, October 3,
>>ABC is going back 24,000
years for its next family franchise<<
network has picked up “Written in Stone,” a family drama from Gavin
Polone’s NBC-based Pariah Television.
an idea by Mimi Rogers and her producing partner, Chris Ciaffa, the
project centers on three brothers who are members of a clan that lives in
a cave in the prehistoric Pyrenees.
Seltzer (“Dragonfly”) is writing the script and will executive produce
with Rogers, Ciaffa and Polone. The project is being shepherded by
co-head Jessika Borisczky and creative executive Jonathon Frank.
to be able to re-create that world is a huge opportunity for the
storytelling and to say something really smart about characters, people
and family,” Borisczky said.
who early in his career was a filmmaker for the National Geographic
Society, doing paleontologic and archaeologic documentaries about the
origin of man, committed to the project the second he heard the idea.
about the literal Garden of Eden and what an extraordinary and scary life
that people like us led before the world was ever safe and secure,” he
inspiration for his script comes from La Cave des trios freres (The Cave
of Three Brothers), a real-life cave in the Pyrenees with numerous
drawings telling the story of three brothers.
characters in “Stone” will speak a mixture of English and the prehistoric
proto-language scientists believe was spoken in that era. Although it
will have a different syntax, the lingo on the show will be
understandable, Seltzer said.
As for the look of the show, “it is going to be a primitive, as poetic and
graceful and dangerous as it was then,” he said, adding that the drama
will stay away from special effects.
Thursday, October 3,
>>ABC, AFILS BOARD REACH ACCORD<<
~Pact would cost stations $34 mil
yearly toward NFL license~
said Wednesday that is has reached a two-year agreement with its
affiliate board that resolves some long-standing disputes involving
program repurposing and the high cost of NFL rights, among other issues.
However, the stations left uneasy about several corporate issues,
ranging from the merger talks between ABC NEWS and CNN to recent remarks
made by Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner.
proposed agreement, which must be approved by a majority of ABC’s
affiliate stations by Oct. 11, calls for the affiliates to fork over a
total of about $34 million per year to the network to help cover the
cost of “Monday Night Football”—a reduction from the $45 million that
affiliates paid under the previous three-year deal.
addition, the new agreement continues to allow the network to repurpose
a limited amount of programming—25% of its primetime schedule—on
company-owned cable outlets.
most important for stations, ABC agreed to include so-called
“assignment” language, in which the network will no longer have the
right to renegotiate the terms of its affiliation deal if the station
gets sold. Previously, owners of ABC affiliates stations were
handicapped in negotiating with prospective buyers because they could
not guarantee that the station would remain an ABC affiliate.
executives praised the deal as an important step in its often fractious
relations with affiliates.
went through everything on their minds,” ABC president Alex Wallau said
in an interview. “We wouldn’t have had a deal unless we had some of the
answers to their satisfaction. They didn’t get everything we wanted.
That’s the nature of negotiations.”
conceding that the deal left several issues unresolved, he said progress
on many fronts “makes this a deal that was extremely important for the
future of the relationship and getting to a place where the board has
accepted it. This was a huge step.”
Bruce Baker, chairman of the ABC board of governors, sounded a more
this agreement is better than not having an agreement—at least you’ve
now got a definition on repurposing,” said Baker, executive vp
television at Cox Broadcasting. Baker said he expected that a majority
of affiliates would vote to approve the two-year amendment.
Baker noted that the recent tension between the network and its
affiliates was exacerbated earlier this week by Eisner’s comment Tuesday
at an investor’s conference that the Walt Disney Co. was focused on
strengthening the Disney and ESPN brands.
remarks “seem to indicate that ESPN and Disney are considered the core
products of that organization, and ABC is not mentioned at all,” Baker
said. “There’s a lot of concern about what this says about Disney’s
priorities relative to ABC and whether giving them $34 million (to help
pay for NFL rights) is a positive move for affiliates.”
Affiliates are also said to be concerned that the network might lose
value if its news division were to merge with the larger and more
profitable CNN. Affiliates plan to hold a conference call Friday to
discuss the new agreement.
October 4-6, 2002:
>>ABC’S ‘RULES,’ ‘BONNIE’ GO DISTANCE<<
“8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter” and “Life With Bonnie”
became the first rookie series of the fall 2002 batch to receive
ABC has ordered nine additional episodes of the comedies from Touchstone
Televsion, which performed solidly for the network in their first three
Tuesday night outings.
“These are two shows that are in great shape creatively, and they’ve
performed even better than we expected, so they earned their back nine,”
ABC entertainment president Susan Lyne said.
ABC is facing serious challenges this fall, battling a ratings slump and
launching a schedule dominated by new shows to fill the void left by the
departure of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and such veterans as “Dharma
& Greg” and “Spin City.”
“What we hoped to come out of the season was to get a couple of chips for
next season so that we can start rebuilding block by block, and these two
shows are the first of these building blocks,” Lyne said.
Touchstone TV president Stephen McPherson said he is “so enthusiastic
about such an early vote of confidence.”
“While the early ratings were encouraging, Tuesday night of this week was
the most important night for us, and it was a great victory,” he said. “I
think we’ve begun to create launching pads for other shows at ABC.”
“8 Simple Rules,” starring John Ritter, won the
slot Tuesday for a third consecutive week in that many airings, improving
ABC’s demo performance in the time period against an original episode of
“Frasier” since May 2001.
“8 Simple Rules” is based on W. Bruce Cameron’s best-selling
Of course, a lot of viewers still want to see TV when they watch TV, which
may be why ABC’s Life with Bonnie (Tuesdays, 9pm E.T.) takes a
two-track approach. Bonnie Hunt stars as Bonnie Malloy, a Chicago
morning-TV talk-show host and working mom. The scenes at Bonnie’s show
are improvised; the “guests,” mostly nonactors, don’t know what will
happen in the scene, and the crew shoots only one take. But the scenes at
home are mostly scripted. “Ninety percent of improve is a failure,” says
Hunt, who apprenticed in the Second City improv troupe. “You have to have
a strong script and characters. Then improvision is the key to making
everything a little more natural.”
Bonnie is earning surprisingly strong ratings against NBC’s
longtime hit Frasier. But Hunt might be better off trusting her
improv instincts more. The painfully unfunny scripted portions are
practically a catalog of everything wrong with old-fashioned sitcoms:
precocious kids, an indulgent hubby, a wisecracking maid—the only thing
distinguishing it from a hack ’60s sitcom is the absence of a genie or
lovable Martian. But the talk-show segments crackle with jazzy humor and
authenticity. When Bonnie accidentally gets looped on prescription cough
syrup and starts riffling uncontrollably, the découpage artist she is
interviewing seems genuinely peeved. “One thing that drives me crazy
about sitcoms,” says Hunt, “is when someone says something funny and no
[other character] laughs.” Not a problem here.
Bonnie can seem chaotic and, like a lot of TV about
TV, self-indulgent. But the chaos and feeling of risk on the actors’
part create an excitement the audience can sense. “Improv adds a spark
you cannot capture when you only have scripted dialogue,” says Bonnie
co-executive producer Don Lake. “It’s contagious.” With Bonnie
on a roll, don’t be surprised to see the contagion spreading.
ABC is planning a TV series version of the Jennifer Lopez-starring
romantic comedy "The Wedding Planner." The network has ordered a script
for a one-hour show to be written by Pamela Falk and Michael Ellis, the
duo who penned the feature. Touchstone Television is producing the
project, which is executive produced by Falk, Ellis and Emmy-winning
producer Mark Perry. Spyglass TV, Intermedia Films and Tapestry Films are
also expected to get executive producer credits on the show. The 2001
feature centered on ambitious wedding planner Mary Fiore (Lopez), who
falls in love with the groom in a wedding she is organizing.
Another DC comic is coming to the small screen via Tollin/Robbins Prods.
and Warner Bros. Television. ABC has given a script commitment to
“Starman,” a drama based on the comics that will center on a 25-year-old
former slacker who is forced to become a superhero after his brother, the
former Starman, is mysteriously killed. John Gatins (“Hardball”) is
writing the script for the show and is executive producing with
Tollin/Robbins’ Joe Davola, Mike Tollin, and Brian Robbins.
Tollin/Robbins and WBTV currently product the WB Network’s dramas
“Smallville” and “Birds of Prey,” both page on popular DC properties.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2002:
J.J. Abrams a control freak. The creator and executive producer of
ABC’s “Alias” said he makes a point of divvying up responsibility among
his production team. “I have two small kids at home, and I have a great
group of producers and writers, so I’d be stupid not to delegate,”
Abrams said Monday night during a panel on the show held at the Academy
of Television Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood. “Alias” cast members
shed their cloak-and-dagger onscreen personas and engaged in several
playful exchanges during the session moderated by Mark Cotta Vaz, author
of the new book “Alias: Declassified.” Ron Rifkin, who plays the show’s
lead heavy, backed Victor Garber into a few verbal corners, prompting
lead Jennifer Garner to bring down the house with a quip aimed at
Garber: “One glass of merlot, and ‘spy daddy’ is doing stand-up.”
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2002:
>>ABC GETTING BACK IN RATINGS GAME<<
~NBC, CBS still lead, but alphabet is season’s comeback
ABC finally turned the corner?
Three weeks into the new season, the Walt Disney Co.-owned
network has hardly repaired all the damage from the implosion of “Who
Wants to Be a Millionaire” and the resulting double-digit declines last
Indeed, NBC won the crucial 18-49 demo and CBS took the
prize for total viewers for the week ending October 13, according to the
figures from Nielsen Media Research. ABC was actually off 3% in 18-49,
compared with the same period last year.
Still, there’s no denying that the alphabet net has been
spelling comeback lately. Virtually shut out of the top 20 during last
year’s doldrums, ABC now has several contenders there. Perhaps most
notably, the mating call of “The Bachelor” drowned out NBC’s “The West
Wing” by 3 share points last week.
The family sitcom “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage
Daughter,” meanwhile, is building again after the typical post-premiere
drop-off; last week’s fourth episode was up 9% from the third week.
Even “The Practice,” which wobbled last season, looks like a solid
winner in its Sunday slot.
Of course, the net still has some major holes, having axed
the low-rated dramas “Push Nevada” and “That Was Then.” Thursday nights
in particular are likely to remain problematic for some time. But ABC
now stands a good chance of remaining flat in the November sweep, which
few thought likely even a few weeks ago.
>>Oprah Winfrey ranked 8th as the Most Powerful Woman in
Oprah Winfrey: Chairman,
Harpo //// "The Oprah Winfrey Show"
GLANCE: The Queen of all media continues her reign.
REVIEW: Oprah played a key role in the creation of "The Dr. Phil
Show," one of the biggest syndication hits in years. Meanwhile, in an
era racked by terrorism and war, Oprah's show has gotten geopolitical.
One of her proudest accomplishments recently, she says, has been "using the
show as a forum to get people thinking about themselves and their
relationships to the rest of the world. Since Sept. 11, I'm proud of
the shows we've done, like 'Is War the Only Answer?' 'Islam 101' and 'What
Does the World Think of Us?'"
Oprah's famous rise in television at Nashville's WTVF, where she became the
station's first black news anchor. She later landed in Baltimore,
where she co-anchored the news and hosted a local talk show. By 1984,
relocated to Chicago, where she began "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
ACT: "I give myself Sundays. One the seventh day He rested. So
"I don't focus on future projects. I don't set goals. I try to
be the best in each moment, and that leads to the next. That plan has
worked for me since the third grade, so I'm sticking to it."
SAY: "Everything she's involved with--from her television show to her
philanthropic projects to movies, books and other media related
endeavors--all stem from a tide of compassion that informs everything she
does," says Elecktra Entertainment chairman and CEO Sylvia Rhone.
"She's exhorted millions to get the fullest out of every day."
December 22, 2002:
looks anew at Henson<<
~Sources: $130 mil offer to EM.TV eyed~
Walt Disney Co. has taken a second look at acquiring the Jim Henson Co. as
Henson parent EM.TV moves to conclude the bidding process for the home of
Kermit the Frog and other Muppet characters.
There were mixed
signals Thursday as to how aggressively Disney would pursue an
acquisition. Sources close to the situation said Disney was preparing to
make EM.TV a sizable offer, in the $130 million range. That would dwarf
the dollar value of proposals fielded by other contenders for Henson, a
list that includes billionaire Haim Saban and former Disney TV and UPN
chief Dean Valentine.
Sources said Disney had
not made a formal proposal but has been pushing EM.TV to commit to giving
Disney an exclusive negotiating period on Henson. EM.TV , the troubled
German media firm that acquired Henson in early 2000, needs to conclude a
Henson sale in the near future to make a $65 million loan payment due
early in 2003.
EM.TV recently got a
short extension on that payment, which had originally been due at the end
of December 2002, but the company nonetheless is anxious to secure a cash
influx from a Henson sale.
downplayed Disney’s interest in Henson, suggesting that Disney executives
had decided to take another look at Henson—which has been on the block for
more than a year—as it became apparent that EM.TV was looking to wrap up a
If a Disney-Henson deal
were to come to pass, it would be a case of déjà vu for both sides. In
August 1989, Disney struck a deal to acquire the company, but the deal
unraveled into a long legal battle after founder Jim Henson’s unexpected
death in May 1990.
>>ABC weathers rebuilding of
a network considered near dead as recently as three months ago from
December, ABC is showing a lot of life. “The Bachelor” was the reality hit
of the fall. A freshman comedy, “8
Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter,” defied conventional
wisdom that the 8pm slot be reserved for returning hits and managed to open
a successful Tuesday comedy block. In the November sweep, ABC gained 8% in
the key adults 18-49 demo compared with the same disastrous period a year
earlier, earning a surprising second place behind NBC. Even the
news division has
kicked in some highly rated interview specials featuring Jennifer Lopez,
Ozzy Osbourne and Whitney Houston.
So is there dancing at
the Burbank headquarters of ABC’s lately besieged parent, the Walt Disney
Co.? Not yet.
The network “did better
than anything we could have reasonable expected going into the season,” says
Lloyd Braun, chairman of the ABC Television Entertainment Group. “But
there’s a ton of work to do.”
The biggest difference
from last season, he adds, “is that we’re looking at plugging holes rather
than stopping an avalanche.”
Indeed, a look at the
remainder of the season shows that ABC is still at a tenuous stage in its
rebuilding efforts. “Monday Night Football” is wrapping up another year,
taking its dependable male demo ratings along with it. The network has had
no luck launching dramas; all four of its new one-hours this fall were
yanked, including “Push, Nevada” and “MDs.” ABC now hopes to reverse that
trend with three new contenders: an update of “Dragnet,”
the actioner “Veritas”
and the occult series “Miracles.”
Meanwhile, Thursday nights
remain a quagmire, with ABC stubbornly unable to light any sparks opposite
the mammothly successful CBS and NBC lineups.
"Our Thursday performance
has been completely unacceptable…flat-out terrible,” Braun says. While he
doesn’t expect ABC to start clobbering “Friends” or “CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation” any time soon, “we have to show up, and we have to be
aggressive and smart.”
other words, look for ABC to pepper Thursdays with some edgy reality shows.
The network has at least six such series on tap. Braun revealed that the
British import “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!” will launch during the
February sweep, though the exact time slot has not been announced.
On Wednesday s starting
Jan. 8, the network will roll out “Celebrity
Mole,” followed by “The
Bachelorette.” Both will run into the February sweep.
While some critics have
questioned the wisdom of altering the gender dynamics of “The Bachelor,”
Braun promised that “The Bachelorette” “is going to be a monster, I’m
All in all, he says,
viewers will see at least a dozen new series on ABC between now and May.
That will mean a lot of by-the-seat-of-the-pants scheduling, which network
executives coolly regard as inevitable given the state of the their project.
“When you’re trying to
rebuild as quickly as we’re trying rebuild ABC, you don’t have the luxury of
staying pat every night of the week,” Braun
ABC also has suffered its
share of disappointments with returning shows. The pricey sophomore spy
for instance, has held its own Sunday nights but has not yet emerged as the
breakout hit many fans and critics expected. The show’s writers are trying
to simplify story lines to make the series more appealing to non-viewers,
one network insider says.
I’d be disingenuous if I
didn’t say I think it should be doing even better,” Braun said.
Simple Rules” has cooked a bit since the first weeks of the season,
as has another freshman sitcom “Life
With Bonnie.” Yet Braun points out that the Tuesday and Wednesday
blocks are composed of freshman and sophomore comedies that have plenty of
time to build a loyal following.
“These (shows) are like
Triple-A prospects who are batting .310 and they’re all 21 years old,” he
One midseason wild card
for ABC is “Jimmy
Kimmel Live,” a new late-night talk show featuring the comic best
known for “The Man Show” on
Central. “Kimmel” is a pet project of Braun’s, who played a major role in
the network’s unsuccessful bid to lure David Letterman from CBS. However,
many affiliates already schedule local and syndicated programming in
“Kimmel’s” 12:05 a.m. slot. As a result, many stations may carry only half
of the show or else delay the show’s start till 12:35 a.m. or later.
ABC says it is confident
it will have a strong station lineup when the show debuts after the Super
Bowl next month but declines to elaborate.
Despite the uncertainty
surrounding its rebuilding efforts, though, ABC has made giant strides since
the summer, when many TV veterans predicted another season of double-digit
ratings declines for the network. ABC often even figured prominently in
stories about Disney’s overall woes.
When asked if the
resurgent ABC was finally off the hot seat with the parent company, Braun
“Yeah,” he says.
Viewers will now be able to see the action
from above any spot on the court via a floating overhead camera system
called “Free Flight.”
A quarter century ago, ABC Sports revolutionized all television
production with innovations such as sophisticated Chyron graphics and
unique “minicam” views of the action. Now‚ in partnership with its cable
sister, ESPN‚ ABC Sports is at it again, this time bringing new production
techniques to televised basketball.
NBA games, which began airing last week, are getting new camera
angles, sights and sounds‚ all inspired by jazz music. Viewers will now be
able to see the action from above any spot on the court via a floating
overhead camera system called “Free Flight.” From another extreme,
first-ever floor-view images will be presented looking up at the action
from a lens imbedded into the playing surface itself. That new system is
called “Floor Cam.”
To accompany the new visual sensations, the animation and
graphics will blend the feel of vintage Blue Note Records album covers
with samples of the look of ESPN The Magazine. An extensive music
package will accent the design with diverse sounds ranging from
contemporary to jazz to large orchestral fanfares.
The new Free-Flight system will hover over the court, moving in
three directions. Similar to “Sky Cam,” which debuted on ESPN’s Sunday
night NFL coverage this season, the new flying camera goes from end-to-end
and side-to-side with the ability to rise or descend on pre-programmed or
operator-controlled flight paths. It will be used during both live action
and replays, providing a look at play from overhead any point on the
Once developed, the Floor Cam will be able to
pan and tilt, with the exact location varying from game to game.
In another NBA first, the “Above the Rim” camera angle looking
down at the basket will be equipped with Super Slo-Mo capability. This
technology uses more frames (90 per second) to provide a slower and more
ESPN and the NBA are working together to develop Floor Cam. The
embedded lens will be able to pan and tilt, and the exact location may
vary from game-to-game. This technology is still under development, with
an anticipated debut before New Year's Day.
The same “Xducer” microphones developed for NBC’s defunct X Games will
enhance audio. They are sensitive to vibrations, not sound waves, and when
placed in the actual court provide the sound of the ball bouncing without
adding to the ambient sound of the crowd.
BACK TO TOP
>>ABC News to use IP video between bureaus<<
Sonic Telecom, a privately held video transmission provider based in
Chantilly, Va., has signed a three-year contract with ABC Television for the
digital distribution of broadcast quality news programming between the
network’s major news bureaus.
ABC has replaced more costly satellite-based contribution and distribution
of news programming with Sonic’s Internet Protocol (IP) technology. ABC and
its NewsOne network will use IP over Sonic's network to gather news segments
from ABC News bureaus in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and New York and make
them accessible to ABC affiliates nationwide.
The new technology enables ABC News bureaus to upload news segments as soon
as they are ready so that ABC affiliate stations can access daily
programming at any time.
“This is really a milestone for ABC and ABC NewsOne. Delivering digital file
content from News Bureaus is an important step in the digital migration of
the ABC News editorial, storage, contribution and distribution process,”
said Dominick DeAngelo, president and CEO of Sonic, adding that the use of
IP distribution will help ABC reduce its costs substantially. BACK TO
Avid Technology has
announced a deal with ABC News to accelerate the transition of the
network’s news operations to an all-digital production environment. The
transition starts immediately with ABC’s evening news program, World
News Tonight, and the network’s affiliate news service, NewsOne.
World News Tonight
will install an Avid Unity for News shared media network environment. The
system will handle simultaneous ingest, output and edit functions between
workgroups at the network’s news operations. When combined with multiple
Avid NewsCutter systems exchanging media with one another, ABC will have a
workflow that links analog and digital acquisition, editing, newsroom
computer systems, graphics, audio, distribution and asset management.
ABC will also use Avid
systems for its NewsOne service, which digitally feeds packaged news
stories and media footage to ABC affiliates around the world.
Preston Davis, president of
ABC Broadcast Operations and Engineering, said the network is already
using Avid technology in other areas of the television network and is
planning to transition ABC News onto an all-digital platform.
David Krall, president and
CEO of Avid, said to date Avid has installed all-digital news environments
at more than 50 broadcast facilities around the world. BACK TO
To say that veteran
cameraman Drew DeRosa has seen it all in the world of sports production is
When ABC celebrated its
500th Monday Night Football telecast on November 11, displaying
old-style graphics while making constant reference to player stats and its
own cast of storied announcers, it also reserved air-time to show DeRosa
behind a Sony camera.
That's because DeRosa
served as a camera operator for the very first Monday Night Football
broadcast in September 1970 and has shot every game since.
In his more than 30 years
of service, DeRosa has witnessed a myriad of sports technology
innovations, introduced by his former boss Roone Arledge, that have helped
shape the way current sporting events are covered. These include the "up
close and personal" camera shot and slow-motion replays.
In 1970 DeRosa began
working with Ikegami studio and two-piece “portable” color tube video
cameras and is now using an Ikegami electronic CCD triax camera with Canon
in New York,
provides the production truck for ABC Sports.) When ABC begins presenting
Monday Night Football in high definition television (720p) for the
2003-2004 season, as they did in 1999-2000, DeRosa will be there as well.
NEW YORK, Jul. 31, 2002 -- Missed last
night's "World News Tonight?" Want to watch that exclusive Barbara
Walters interview with your broadband connection? Now you can with "ABC
News On Demand," available exclusively through ABCNEWS.com. "ABC News On
Demand" brings ABC News coverage, exclusively-cut segments, and
multimedia streams to the computer so you can get the news at your
convenience, with the highest video quality, where and when you want.
"ABC News On Demand" launches today.
"ABC News On Demand" is your one-stop shop for ABC News coverage -- on
your schedule. This new service follows ABCNEWS.com's success with its
offerings on RealOne SuperPass, the online subscription service from
RealNetworks, Inc. Via RealOne SuperPass, ABCNEWS.com already offers ABC
News' "World News Tonight" and "Nightline" in their entirety, as well as
high-bandwidth quality of all live video streams. After offering this
content for nearly one year on RealOne's ABCNEWS.com channel, ABC News
has increased its broadband offerings that are available with these
"ABC News On Demand"
-- For those who want to get the news on their schedule and don't
want to miss ABC News' exclusive interviews, this package, priced at
$4.95/month and available at
www.abcnews.com , offers:
- "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings," "Nightline," and
"Nightline UpClose" in their entirety, the morning after the live
broadcast, including 30 days of archived shows.
- "Good Morning America" exclusive celebrity interviews and music
- Producer's cuts from "Primetime" and "20/20," featuring
- Excerpts from ABC News specials.
- Sam Donaldson's radio show "Live in America."
- "Best of Nightline," your favorite Nightline interviews and
- ABC News Radio's updated hourly newscasts and Bill Diehl's
weekly movie reviews.
"RealOne SuperPass" - This package, priced at $9.95/month and available
at www.realone.com, offers:
- All content from "ABC News On Demand."
"Our purpose is to provide the American people with quality news
reporting -- which we do every day through programs aired on the ABC
Television Network, programs on ABC News Radio, and material on our
website, ABCNEWS.com," said David Westin, president of ABC News. "'ABC
News on Demand' permits us to make our coverage available to individual
members of our audience when and where they want them. Now we can
provide the quality of carefully-reported and produced network news
reports together with the convenience that, until now, has been
associated only with cable news."
ANGELES — Police Chief William Bratton
appointed ABC "20/20" correspondent John Miller today to oversee the LAPD's
anti-terrorism and intelligence functions.
announced that Gerald Chaleff, an assistant city attorney and former
president of the Police Commission, will supervise the department's efforts
to make reforms required by a federal consent decree.
"These appointments are a significant
reflection of the re-focused priorities of the Los Angeles Police Department
under my leadership -- full commitment to reform and implementation of the
consent decree, and increased prioritization and staffing of our
anti-terrorism efforts," Bratton said.
Miller, 44, will serve as special assistant
to Bratton, advising him on issues involving counter-terrorism as part of an
expanded homeland security bureau.
He also worked for Bratton when the chief
was police commissioner in New York, spending two years as his press
Miller is known for co-writing a book on the
government response to security challenges after the Sept. 11, 2001
terrorist attacks and for interviewing Osama bin Laden for "20/20" in 1998.
Chaleff was a leading criminal defense
attorney who had been president of the Police Commission for 18 months when
then-Mayor Richard Riordan removed him in 2001, a move many believed was an
attempt to scuttle looming reforms to the department.
Since then, Chaleff has served as a special
adviser to the City Council and City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo on matters
relating to the consent decree, which was signed with the Justice Department
in 2001 to avoid a lawsuit over allegations of a "pattern and practice" of
racial discrimination by LAPD.
The appointments continue Bratton's shake-up
of the department's upper echelon, which so far has included naming five new
deputy chiefs and an assistant chief, and creating several new positions.
Chaleff and Miller's appointments will take
AOL Time Warner
executives have hit the stop button on a proposed merger between CNN and
After months of on-and-off talks, AOL TW, parent of
CNN, on Thursday officially halted its pursuit of a deal to combine two of
the world’s best-known operations.
A statement from AOL TW said: “After careful review,
it was determined that although there are great merits of CNN and ABC
News, for us, the potential problems associated with the completion of
such a transaction and the integration of these two distinct and great
cultures was more than we wanted to pursue at this time.
“We wish to thank everyone at the Walt Disney Co.
and ABC News for their complete professionalism throughout this process.”
A spokesman for ABC News, a Disney unit, said: “AOL
Time Warner explained the circumstances in a very gracious statement they
put out this afternoon. Clearly, both sides could see benefits to a
merger, but circumstances beyond our control prevent that from going
While both statements seemed to leave open the
possibility of future talks, insiders were not optimistic, saying the
issue is dead, with little or no chance of revival. “There will be no
merger between ABC News and CNN in our lifetimes,” one executive declared.
AOL TW chairman and CEO Richard Parsons said in
December that the media giant had “hit the pause button” on the CNN-ABC
News merger talks. Both sides had been exploring the merger as a way to
cut costs and hopefully boost revenues. ABC News, which reportedly
squeezed out a pretax profit of just $10 million-$15 million in its fiscal
2002, was especially interested in the merger, partly because it would
theoretically be able to share lucrative cable subscriber revenue with
CNN, meanwhile, would have gained access to a
broadcast platform, not to mention such ABC News stars as Peter Jennings,
Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer. The combined entity would have had
estimated annual revenue of $1.6 billion.
While it was not exactly clear how or why the
negotiations moved from pause to stop, most top AOL TW executives came to
agree that the logistical challenge of mixing such large newsgathering
operations—along with the enormous business pressures confronting AOL TW,
which has seen its stock price plummet in recent months—made a merger
“It’s physically impossible to work,” an executive
In addition, some AOL TW executives were said to be
concerned that whatever efficiencies might be gained by combining with ABC
would be offset by a potential erosion in CNN’s independence and brand.
The CNN question apparently divided AOL TW
executives. The deal found some powerful advocates within the company,
including Turner Broadcasting chief Jamie Kellner, who was deeply involved
in talks with Disney and argued on behalf of the deal, a source says.
But other top executives were leery of taking on CNN
founder Ted Turner, who spoke out against the deal in an interview with
CBS News earlier this month. “Just merging the two organizations has a
lot of challenges,” Turner said. “The potential pitfalls and
opportunities for disagreements exceed whatever benefits could be
gained.” Although Turner recently resigned as AOL TW vice chairman, he
remains on the board and is a major shareholder.
On Thursday (2/13), Jeff Bewkes, chairman of AOL
TW’s Entertainment & Networks Group, told a meeting of top AOL TW
executives in New York that the deal was “too complicated” to structure
satisfactorily and that the two sides could not agree on how to split
control and share resources, sources said.
At one point last fall, the merger looked as if it
was imminent (click here for details). In fact, top executives from both
sides had settled on an arrangement that would have handed control of the
combined entity to ABC News chief David Westin, sources said. That is
said to have rankled CNN News Group chairman Walter Isaacson, who was
guaranteed a top executive post in the merged company but evidently felt
his role would have been secondary to that of Westin.
Isaacson, the former managing editor of Time
magazine, announced last month he would leave CNN later this year to head
up the nonprofit Aspen Institute.
ANGELES — Debate over police pursuits
and television news is heating up. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and some
law enforcement agencies are asking for the plug to get pulled on live
Hahn says there has been an alarming rise in
high-speed chases in recent years. He says this puts innocent people in
harm's way and he dismisses the idea that covering pursuits is a public
"We believe that continuous live coverage of police pursuits encourages
some suspects," Hahn said. "A number of suspects appear to enjoy the
attention and have been waving to news cameras from their car windows and
stopping to chat with curious onlookers."
The request comes as the Los Angeles Police Department is revamping its
pursuit policy after two recent chases led to the death of a 4-year-old
girl and the severing of a baby boy's arm.
Arnold Kleiner, President and General Manager of ABC7 issued this
We respectfully disagree with the contention that live chase coverage
is just "entertainment." In his news conference, Mayor Hahn himself
described chases as "life and death situations," which threaten public
safety. A story that fits that description is generally worthy of live
And Kleiner says Eyewitness News uses discretion when covering
all breaking news ... not just police chases.
We provide live coverage for only a small fraction of the hundreds
and hundreds of police pursuits that occur in Southern California.
Effective changes in police pursuit policies should result in fewer
chases that need to be covered live.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca agreed with Hahn that extensive
live coverage is unnecessary. But he didn't blame the media for the
increase in chases.
"I don't think the media is responsible for pursuits," Baca said.
Baca said his deputies initiate about 250 chases a year, a number he
said is determined by department pursuit policies.
ABC7Eyewitness News: The Southland's Most Watched Station for news that
matters to Southern California--either day or night~
As usual during the sweeps, news broadcasts
were sprinkled with special investigations and packages dealing with
relationships and sex. >>READ
ABC7LA RELATED ARTICLE<<
Controversial police chases also had an impact on ratings. On Feb. 4, most
Los Angeles-area stations scrapped the bulk of their evening newscasts to
cover a freeway chase. KCAL broadcast the slow-speed pursuit from roughly
8:50 until 11 p.m., then handed off to sister station KCBS at 11 p.m. Both
stations scored high ratings as well as KABC, which also carried
Mayor James K. Hahn, along with top law enforcement officials, including
Police Chief William J. Bratton and county Sheriff Lee Baca, on Wednesday
called for local stations to reduce their coverage of police pursuits.
Executives at the stations responded by insisting that they are
responsible in their pursuit coverage.
The KCBS 5 p.m. news, anchored by former
KABC "Eyewitness News" anchors Laura Diaz and Harold Greene,
was still struggling, showing a 17% drop in rating and a 20% decline in
audience share from the same month last year.
Despite the loss of Diaz, who left KABC
last summer, KABC's "Eyewitness News" not only continued its
traditional afternoon dominance, but its 4 and 5 p.m. newscasts
experienced significant leaps of 24% and 36%,
respectively, from last February.
"We want to focus on content and style. We did lose
Laura, but we had several fabulous people who were able to step in, and we
didn't lose a beat. In fact, we gained a couple of beats."
Station honchos credited the 5 p.m. increase to its
Doppler 7000 weather system, and topical news coverage of several
international hot spots, including on-site coverage of the Middle East
dispute by reporter David Jackson.
"We didn't do sweeps stunts, just straight-ahead coverage," said Arnie
Kleiner, KABC's vice president and general manager.
"Good Day L.A."
(from KTTV) has beaten both national and local newscasts. Coming in second
place was "Good
Morning America," followed by "The KTLA Morning News," from (KTLA)
"The Today Show" and CBS' "The Early Show," which continued its decline,
dropping 30% from last year.
A new study shows that
smaller market stations tend to produce higher quality newscasts
than stations owned by larger companies—by a significant margin.
When it comes to the quality of local TV
news, a new study finds that smaller station owners often outperform
larger corporate owners. The Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ)
conducted the study as part of the Columbia University Graduate School
of Journalism in New York City.
Here are some findings of a
just-released five-year study:
Smaller stations overall tend to
produce higher quality newscasts than stations owned by larger
companies — by a significant margin.
Network affiliated stations tend to
produce higher quality newscasts than network owned and operated
stations — also by a large margin.
Stations with cross-ownership — those
in which the parent company also owns a newspaper in the same market
— tend to produce higher quality newscasts.
The study also found that stations owned
by big companies were capable of high quality. However, for reasons
the study could not determine, these stations didn't tend to produce
high quality when most viewers were watching.
Ownership type, the study found, made no
apparent difference in terms of the diversity of people depicted in
the news. Ownership type also made little difference when it came to
the range of topics a station covered. In general, there is striking
uniformity across the country in what local television stations define
Data from the study strongly suggests
regulatory changes that encourage heavy concentration of ownership in
local television by a few large corporations will erode the quality of
news Americans receive.
The study, executed in collaboration
with Princeton Survey Research Associates, was funded by the Pew
Charitable Trusts. The analysis included 172 stations and roughly
23,000 stories over a five-year period.
AOL Time Warner Inc.
pulled out of negotiations to combine its Cable News Network with
ABC's news division, saying that it was "more than we wanted to pursue
at this time."
Jeff Bewkes, chairman
of AOL's entertainment and networks group, made the pronouncement at
the company's retreat for senior managers Thursday afternoon.
In a prepared
statement, the company said, "It was determined that although there
are great merits and possibilities to a merger of ABC and CNN news,
for us, the potential problems associated with the completion of such
a transaction and the integration of these two distinct and great
cultures was more than we want to pursue at this time."
efficiencies of combining the 24-hour cable network and a broadcast
news operation are promising.
But the immediate
operating nightmares and long-term political infighting are certain.
BACK TO TOP
Many inside and
outside of the company doubted that the years-long talks -- which had
heated up in recent months -- would lead to a merger.
Cable News Network Friday
accused NBC of lifting its feed without permission when covering the
devastating fire in Providence, R.I. NBC acknowledged using a few seconds of the CNN feed, but said it
was done as a "fair use" under copyright doctrine. Footage from CBS and CNN Newsource affiliate WPRI-TV was actually
shot inside the inferno from a cameraman shooting a story on nightclub
owners of Web site AreYouHotorNot.com (www.areyouhotornot.com) are
considering suing ABC over reality show
Are You Hot? The Search for the Sexiest Person in America,
according to the Web site’s attorney. James Hong and Jim Young, who created the site, said the use of Hot
or Not may infringe on their trademarks. On the show, barely clothed contestants stand under two signs,
"Hot" or "Not," and wait for one to light up to announce their fate. Hong and Young wouldn’t sue to get the show off the air, but to
stop any infringement.
Are You Hot? comes from The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss
and his production company, Next Entertainment. ABC had no comment at press time.
has tentatively planned to premiere reality series The Family
Tuesday, March 4, at 10 p.m., in NYPD Blue’s regular spot.
ABC executives said they aren’t sure where the next eight episodes
of the show will air.
If some of them are broadcast Tuesdays at 10 p.m., it would leave
more originals of NYPD Blue for the rest of the season.
Repeats of NYPD Blue tend to underperform originals by 33
percent in viewers and 35 percent in adults 18 through 49, ABC
The Family will see brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and
cousins fight each other over $1 million, and it is not to be confused
with The Will, a show likely appearing this summer that is
executive-produced by The Bachelor’s Next Entertainment and
The Family is executive-produced by Arnold Shapiro and Allison
Grodner of Shapiro/Grodner Productions, with Mindy Moore
co-executive-producing via Buena Vista Television.
NEW BERLIN, Wis. —
A half sister of Oprah Winfrey was found
dead at her suburban Milwaukee home.
The body of Patricia Lloyd, 43,
was discovered by her husband, Kenny, early Wednesday, Lt. David Dunn
Dunn said the cause of death was not immediately
"We are looking at anything possible, but right now we
don't think there is any type of criminal activity," he said.
No, Trista isn't pregnant. No, she never went joy-riding with
Dispelling false rumors was on the agenda Thursday when
"Bachelorette" Babe Trista Rehn and her man, Ryan Sutter, took
questions from reporters as part of a publicity blitz.
The night before, on the finale of ABC's dating-game series "The
Bachelorette," Trista had surprised most oddsmakers by choosing Ryan,
a poetry-writing firefighter from Vail, Colo., over the more dashing
finalist Charlie Maher, a financier from Los Angeles, where Trista
"There was an unspoken chemistry that Ryan and I had that told me
he was the one," Trista explained. "We complement each other very
Of course, they've been complementing each other mostly over the
phone since shooting on the series wrapped about three months ago.
Maintaining suspense for the audience was a paramount concern.
Even so, "I like to think of my relationship as being a
relationship, and not just a relationship on television, even though
that's how you guys see it," Trista told reporters.
"The Bachelorette" premiered Jan. 8 with Ryan and 24 other suitors
vying for roses from Trista, a 30-year-old physical therapist and
former Miami Heat cheerleader. Though it scored healthy ratings, the
series suffered in comparison to Fox's similar "Joe Millionaire,"
which premiered the same week and concluded Monday by drawing an
enormous 34.6 million viewers.
The two-hour "Bachelorette" finale attracted 20.4 million viewers,
according to Nielsen, against strong competition including 90 minutes
of "American Idol" on Fox that averaged 18 million viewers.
That didn't keep Ryan from marveling at the phenomenon "The
Bachelorette" became. "I didn't expect it to be quite so big," the
27-year-old said. His explanation for the show's success: "Real people
with real feelings and real emotions."
"The Bachelorette" was a spin-off of ABC's "The Bachelor," on which
Trista was the runner-up a year ago.
Asked their plans, the lovebirds were vague. Where will they live?
"It's all up in the air," said Trista.
But they were much more definitive when asked whether Ryan would
continue writing her love poems.
Trista: "He better!"
Ryan: "Of course!"
BACK TO TOP
After getting engaged in romantic, dramatic fashion before millions
of people on TV's "The Bachelor," Helene Eksterowicz said she was
dumped unceremoniously at a Starbucks near her New Jersey apartment.
Eksterowicz said Aaron Buerge broke up with her five weeks after
the ABC reality show's Nov. 20 finale, telling her he was no longer
"It felt like a bomb dropped," the 28-year-old elementary school
psychologist told People magazine for its March 3 issue. "I said, 'I
feel very deceived by you. You've told me every single day that you
love me, and now this is it?'"
Eksterowicz said she and Buerge, a 28-year-old banker
from Springfield, Mo., "tried to talk every day on the phone, but it
was hard." As for the 2-carat diamond engagement ring, which Buerge
paid for himself, Eksterowicz is keeping it in a safe-deposit box.
CNN Chief Rick Kaplan Joining ABC<<
With a potential war with Iraq looming,
former CNN chief Rick Kaplan is rejoining ABC News for three months
to oversee special events coverage, the network said Wednesday.
Kaplan was a longtime ABC News producer before being
hired to run CNN's domestic operations in 1997. He was ousted in
2000 and has most recently been teaching at Harvard.
Kaplan has "proven his ability at producing and
overseeing live television news coverage," said ABC News President
David Westin. Westin's top deputy, Paul Friedman, announced last
week that he was leaving management for a part-time role.
It's no fun to watch big stories breaking on
television "and not have responsibility for any of them," Kaplan
Neither Kaplan nor ABC have said whether the
three-month stint will evolve into anything permanent at ABC News.
February 18, 2003:
Blake Tells His Story to Walters<<
LOS ANGELES - It came at the expense of two defense attorneys and a
court battle, but Robert Blake got to tell his side of a real-life
crime story to Barbara Walters.
The jailhouse interview lasted for about 2 1/2 hours, and the
segment is set to air Feb. 26 @ 10pm on ABC's "20/20."
Blake, 69, the former "Baretta" 1970s television star, has pleaded
innocent to charges he murdered his wife, 44-year-old Bonny Lee Bakley,
The interview Monday came after two of Blake's defense attorneys
quit his case as they disagreed with their client over whether he
should grant any TV interviews.
County Sheriff Lee Baca approved a request by Walters to speak with
Blake at the jail. Baca said he reversed his decision after being
swayed by Walters' argument that she had conducted interviews there in
Blake had tried to set up interviews with Walters and Diane Sawyer
for months, despite the objections of his defense attorneys. Harland
Braun and Jennifer L. Keller both resigned from the case after Blake
continued pursing the interviews.
Blake's lawyer, Thomas A. Mesereau Jr., said he would stand by
Blake even though he strongly disagrees with his client's decision. He
said he empathized with Blake's desire to speak out.
"He's an innocent man and I'm going to defend him," Mesereau said
Monday. "I am concerned, however, that prosecutors will try to take
what he says out of context and manipulate and misconstrue his
Blake has been held without bail since his April 18, 2002, arrest.
A preliminary hearing has been set for Feb. 26.
ABC picked up four comedy pilots Thursday
Among the projects
ordered by ABC is an untitled Tom Hertz comedy from 20th
Century Fox Television and Brad Grey Television. The pickup comes
after Twentieth TV executives’ move of David E. Kelley’s legal drama
“The Practice” earlier this month.
on Hertz’s real life, the project centers on an introverted New Yorker
who marries into a large, gregarious family from Kansas. Hertz,
who penned the script, is executive producing with Brad Grey.
three comedy pilots ordered by ABC are:
Untitled Flett-Giordano and
Ranberg Project, from Paramount Network Television, Touchstone
Television and Storyline Entertainment, focuses on a young couple
where the man is from a very conservative, straightlaced family and
woman is the daughter of a gay couple. The writers of the pilot, Ann
Flett-Giordano and Chuch Ranberg, are executive producing with
Storyline’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron.
“My Life With Men,” from
Touchstone TV, about a woman struggling to take care of her four sons,
her father and her husband all at the same time. Denis Moss and Sy
Dukane wrote the pilot and are executive producing with Nena Rodrigue.
“Hope and Faith,” from Touchstone
TV and Industry Entertainment, centers on a housewife whose life is
turned upside down when her sister, a popular soap opera actress,
moves in with her. Joanna Johnson, who penned the script, will
co-executive produce, with Keith Addis, Emile Levisetti and Michael
Edelstein executive producing.
journalist Martin Bashir on Thursday (2/13) defended his controversial
“Living With Michael Jackson” interview but insisted he is not
accusing the star of sexual abuse.
He said, however, that the documentary does
raise serious concerns about the singer’s behavior and questions about
his relationship with other people’s children.
“He is a marvelous father to his own children,
but there is a concern about the way he related to children who are
not of his won,” he said.
Breaking his silence over the interview via a
live audio Web chat hosted by ITV, Bashir said that “hard facts” about
the singer had been revealed in the documentary.
The ITV journalist shrugged off Jackson’s
decision to release footage of Bashir praising his parenting skills,
saying his worry was over the singer’s relationship with other
“It was of deep concern that a 44-year-old
sleeps in a bed with children age 12 who have no relationship with him
biologically,” he said.
“I didn’t set out to ensnare him (Jackson). In
the process of (Jackson and 12-year-old Gavin Arvizo) talking, I was
curious about their relationship, and they volunteered this aspect of
their relationship. I became more disturbed by that…(but) I am not—I
repeat—not accusing anyone of being a child molester,” Bashir said.
The journalist said the interview was a fair
representation of Jackson and rejected the singer’s claim that he was
“There was no betrayal at all. The film was
true to his musical achievements and gave him every opportunity to
explain himself,” he added. “He was never prevented from explaining
what he was doing. At the end of the day, we stand by the film.”
has extended its contract to cover tennis’ French Open through 2006,
the company said. The four-year deal calls for ESPN2 to cover the
event on weekday mornings this year from May 26-June 4, while ESPN
will provide coverage of both women’s semifinals and one men’s
semifinal as the networks carry more than total 80 hours of coverage.
The deal also gives ESPN video-on-demand rights as well as the right
to run primetime highlight shows and reruns on ESPN Classic and offer
highlights over the Internet.
a super Valentine's Day this must be for Trista Rehn, who scored one
for the girls by being ABC TV's very first "Bachelorette'' to preside
over her own male meat market. She must feel a sense of satisfaction,
today of all days, in knowing that she showed America that men are
just as willing as women to behave like idiots on television in the
name of nabbing a spouse.
That's what we're supposed to think,
On the face of it, the recipe for
``The Bachelorette'' looks just like the past two ``Bachelor'' shows
but in reverse. A couple of dozen cute single guys compete on camera
for the chance to land a hot babe who's looking for a husband. She
gets to chat them up about serious issues such as emotional commitment
and jewelry and see what they look like in swim trunks. Then she
decides who stays and who goes.
Still, there are some key differences
between the two versions. The single-gal contestants who enrolled for
the two ``Bachelor'' shows had never seen the prize bachelor they'd
eventually be competing for. They only had to be told he was handsome,
successful and packin' a two-carat rock, for them to sign on. Marriage
was the brass ring.
But what guy wants to compete against
a bunch of other guys just to get married -- for its own sake? What
kind of lame prize is that? Even the show's producer told TV Guide
recently that at first he doubted he could find enough male
contestants for a ``Bachelorette'' show.
Then came Trista. She was the
runner-up on the first ``Bachelor,'' the babe who left with the broken
heart instead of the man. But every guy who watched that show got to
see her in a bikini and watch her put the moves on the bachelor. Not
only does she look like Malibu Barbie, she used to be a Miami Heat
cheerleader. (Sorry, Miami Heat ``dancer.'')
ABC had no trouble lining up male
contestants as long as they knew Trista was the prize. But what about
the marriage thing? Even the guys who seemed the most smitten by
Trista had trouble saying the ``M'' word. They seemed more interested
in knowing if there would be beer provided on the group dates.
Of course, Trista had no trouble
talking about marriage. She said she was tired of being alone and
wanted to find Mr. Right.
She revealed her standards at the end
of each show before the humiliating ``rose ceremonies,'' when she
jettisoned some bachelors but pinned a rose boutonniere on the guys
she deemed Trista-worthy. She confided on camera that she thought
she'd found several prospective husbands among the contestants she'd
known for only a few hours. Even when she was doing the
choosing, she looked desperate.
A poet in the
It's true a few of the bachelors did a
pretty decent job of sacrificing their dignity. Ryan the firefighter,
who made it into the Final Two, wrote some embarrassingly noxious
poems to win Trista's heart. (After a so-called ``fantasy date'' at a
marine mammal park, he penned an ode that included the line, ``You and
me and Shamu makes three.'')
But, it seemed pretty clear that most
of the guys had agreed to be part of this circus just so they could
date a cheerleader. As pathetic as that is, it doesn't meet quite the
same standard of degradation set by female wedding-contestants on the
Still, it was nice to see the last
dozen guys subjecting themselves to the rose ceremonies just for the
chance to hit the hot tub with Trista.
Isn't it romantic?
Viewers were fuming and David Letterman was cracking wise
about Fox promotions for "Joe Millionaire" that seemed to promise more
than the show delivered.
Evan Marriott didn't make the final choice between would-be loves
Sarah and Zora Monday night, although network hints seemed to indicate
that he would. Instead, the episode was mostly a recap.
"We got duped. We totally got duped," viewer Cynthia Wiggin of San
Carlos said Wednesday. She dismissed the episode as "Total filler. A
whole filler night."
CBS' "Late Show" with Letterman showed a familiar video clip
Tuesday of Osama bin Laden speaking in a cave - but this time, he
supposedly was fuming about Fox.
"The treachery of the infidels has reached a new height," said a
voiceover offering a mock translation. "We had been led to believe
that last night would be the finale of 'Joe Millionaire.'"
Fox said it didn't intend to suggest Marriott was going to make his
"The payoff was always going to be on Feb. 17," spokesman Scott
Grogin said Tuesday. "It's possible we were a little over the top with
our promos and we're sorry if people felt misled."
A chat board on Fox's official "Joe Millionaire" Web site was
smoking with comments from angry fans.
"I really don't know if I am going to watch the last show or not,"
one person wrote. "At this point I am soooo mad I don't care who wins.
Anyone else feel this way?"
"No, I will not watch the finale," read a subsequent posting. "Fox
has lied to us, and I feel that they should be punished for that. ...
Bad move, guys. It will be a while before I put my trust back into
Grogin said the network hopes any upset viewers would reconsider.
"We would hope that our audience will tune in. If they do they will
not be disappointed," said Grogin, who promised that next Monday's
two-hour finale would contain surprises.
Even the pros found Fox's approach misleading. The entertainment
news magazine "Access Hollywood" had reported Monday that Marriott's
decision would be revealed that night.
"It just shows how low it can go," said "Access Hollywood"
executive producer Rob Silverstein. "I thought it was pretty blatant
and I think it upset quite a number of people. It upset us."
In return, Silverstein said, the newsmagazine's Pat O'Brien "ripped
'em twice" in reports Tuesday.
"Joe Millionaire" itself is built on a lie. The women vying for
Marriott's affections think he's worth $50 million when, according to
Fox, he's really making $19,000 a year as a construction worker.
"I think that when people get involved in these unscripted shows
these days, they know they're in for a ride," Gail Berman, Fox's
entertainment president, said last month in defending the concept.
Disney kids shows will disappear from the UPN television network this
The Walt Disney Co. has decided not to renew its deal to provide
shows such as "Digimon,""Legend of Tarzan" and "Recess" on UPN
affiliates Monday through Friday afternoons and Sunday mornings,
Disney announced Thursday.
The decision reflects the poor ratings programs for younger
children draw on broadcast networks and the migration of viewers to
cable channels such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel, Disney
In 2001, both NBC and CBS stopped programming Saturday morning kids
shows. NBC struck a deal to lease that time to cable channel Discovery
Kids while CBS gave its Saturday morning block over to sister network
Disney has provided kids shows for UPN for the past three years and
has seen ratings slip while it has added several new cable channels,
including Toon Disney and ABC Family. When its contract expires Aug.
31, Disney will move its UPN shows to one of its other networks,
After exploring alternative children's programming, UPN has decided
to give the time back to its affiliates. The Disney shows had been
airing two-hour blocks of shows each day. Affiliates will now fill
that time with local programming, UPN said.
Broderick Becomes 'The Music Man'<<
for ‘The Music Man’<<
"Music Man" Fan Site
For Matthew Broderick, "The Music Man" is simply a fact of life.
"As a young child, I remember my father playing the record and
singing some of it in the car," says the son of the late actor James
Broderick. "I don't remember when I first saw it, or if I first saw it
on the stage or the movie version. It seems like I always have seen
"Everybody's seen it, even if they haven't seen it."
Either way, they have a golden opportunity to see it again thanks
to Broderick, who headlines a new production of this ageless musical
comedy. Also starring Kristin Chenoweth, Victor Garber, Debra Monk and
Molly Shannon, "Meredith Willson's 'The Music Man'" airs on ABC Sunday
at 7 p.m. EST.
The story should strike a familiar chord: A roguish traveling
salesman, "Professor" Harold Hill (Broderick), comes to circa-1912
River City, Iowa, a town of good-hearted but hard-headed citizens who,
as one of the delightful songs warns, "can stand touching noses for a
week at a time and never see eye-to-eye."
With singing, dancing blandishment, Hill offers his solution for a
crisis the townsfolk never knew they had: the at-risk morals of their
youth, whose best chance for safekeeping, he argues, is to form a
brass band. He sells the requisite band uniforms and instruments, as
well as a guarantee of instant virtuosity.
Can Hill win over these tough prospects? Can he make time with the
lovely librarian and piano teacher (Chenowith), who is surer than
anyone that Hill is up to no good? Can his charming, bamboozling soul
be redeemed by the finale?
A less certain issue: Can Broderick make his audience forget, at
least for three hours, the towering, some would say definitive
interpretation of Hill by Robert Preston - who created the role on
Broadway in 1957, then starred in the 1962 film version?
Going into the project, the 40-year-old Broderick was well aware he
would be dodging a vast shadow.
"But I wouldn't like to not do something because I was afraid," he
says, "so if it's a good piece of material and good people involved,
I'll try it. But once you start to work on it, you realize how hard it
is to do these things that are so identified with other people."
Not that he hasn't been down this road before - just two years ago,
in fact - and triumphed.
"I was terrified taking on 'The Producers,'" Mel Brooks' smash-hit,
Tony-sweeping Broadway musical in which he and Nathan Lane dared to
retrieve the roles originated by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel for
Brooks' 1967 farce.
"That was one of MY favorite movies, too," notes Broderick. "I
didn't want to be making a lousy version of a great film! In the same
way, 'The Music Man' is terrifying. I think it's crazy to do it, in a
way. On the other hand ... why not? Not many people get the
No wonder he savored the opportunity to perform such
rafters-rocking numbers as "Trouble" and "76 Trombones."
Despite Broadway success with "The Producers" and a revival of "How
to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" in the mid-'90s,
Broderick had never done a musical on film, and wanted to. And for
someone inculcated with "The Music Man" from childhood, pulling off
his performance must have been a snap - wasn't it?
"Well, yeah, everybody thinks that," says Broderick, his smile
registering a reporter's joke. "But it was all I could do to learn the
steps and the lyrics. And then you have to record the music and learn
the timing, to match your lips to it. Very difficult. A lot of work to
it, believe it or not."
In a two-decade career ranging from light comedy to the
heartbreaking Civil War film "Glory," Broderick seems never to have
shied from a challenge, though he accounts for his wide range of roles
with modest explanations like "it just happened" and sizes up his
steady employment by saying "I've never disappeared, somehow."
Now, as the whole world knows, he has a long-term engagement as a
dad - an often times tuckered-out dad.
"For a while he'd wake up every three hours," says Broderick,
reporting on son James, born in October, "and I woke up when he'd wake
"But it was much harder on my wife," he hastens to add -
"breast-feeding and stuff."
Broderick's wife, of course, is Sarah Jessica Parker, whose
stratospheric stardom on HBO's "Sex and the City" meant fanatic press
attention on her pregnancy.
"Bizarre," declares Broderick. "I've never been a part of any of
that before. There were photographers sitting on the stoop across the
street from our apartment. I'd walk the dog and they'd take pictures
of me and my dog."
>>ESPN b’cast to go hi-def<<
~First telecast on March 30, 100 planned~
A “revolution in resolution” is coming from ESPN,
which will use that tag line for its new national advertising campaign
to promote its high-definition programming.
Beginning March 30, ESPN will offer 100 live HD
telecasts this year, including the Women’s NCAA Basketball Final Tour,
the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and games from the NHL’s Stanley Cup
Playoffs. The all-sports network has already started promoting
high-definition with five- and 10-second promos that will soon be
joined by longer commercials touting the “revolution in resolution”
and “the pictures in sports.”
“We’re just starting to chum the waters,” and
Sean Bratches, executive vp affiliate sales and marketing. “We’re
going on to 30-second (spots), and we’ll expand it from there.”
ESPN will leverage all of its television, radio
and online properties for the campaign, which is being handled
in-house. Spots are not scheduled to run on non-ESPN properties.
Segments of select ESPN telecasts will feature
broadcasters showing off and HDTV set inside the booth in order to
educate viewers on the product. In addition, ESPN will conduct
product demonstrations on a dozen HDTV sets at sports venues beginning
with Anaheim’s Edison Field on March 30, enabling fans to compare
high-def with the real thing. “It will be the ultimate product
sampling opportunity,” said Bryan Burns, vp strategic planning and
ESPN is still hammering out the details of the
campaign’s retail presence with such chains as Circuit City and Best
Buy, as well as other sponsors and affiliates.
HDTV is heating up elsewhere on cable as well,
with new HD offerings announced by Showtime and InDemand.
Showtime will boost the amount of original
programming it airs in HD, including six primetime series as well as
original movies and the Feb. 22 Mike Tyson-Clifford Etienne fight.
InDemand will begin offering HD movies on its
video-on-demand platform, beginning in April with “My Big Fat Greek
Wedding” from HBO Enterprises.
>>Easy as ABC: Television
Viewers Flock to ABC Special on Michael Jackson<<
Michael Jackson just missed his demo crown—by a
nose. “20/20: Living With Michael Jackson,” ABC’s two-hour Thursday
special featuring the singer, was the week’s No. 2 program in the key
Even so, Jacko was boffo. The ABC special,
produced by Granada Television, was the most-watched program of the
week ending Feb. 9, with an average of 27.1 million total viewers,
according to figures from Nielsen Media Research.
ABC’s “The Bachelorette” scored its highest
women 18-49 numbers to date. But the network’s new block of Monday
dramas—“Veritas,” “The Practice” and “Miracles”—has run into serious
problems, placing a depressing fifth (behind the WB Network) in 18-49.
ABC News’ Barbara Walters will host the 62nd
George Foster Peabody Awards at a luncheon May 19 at New York’s
Waldorf Astoria Hotel. The Peabodys honor outstanding works in radio,
television, and new media that were broadcast last year.
>>Review for ‘The Music Man’<<
Broderick Becomes 'The Music Man'<<
"Music Man" Fan Site
The bottom line: Even with its oddly younger
cast, this great musical enjoys a triumphant march.
Youth isn’t only wasted on the young. It’s also
squandered in an otherwise spectacular new version of Meredith
Willson’s treasured “The Music Man,” the timeless tale of a con artist
who gets tripped up by love. Set in River City, Iowa, not long after
the turn of the 20th Century, ABC’s musical also pays
homage to Americana and the innocence and simplicity of small-town
In a well-intentioned, if misguided, effort to
bring the beloved musical to a new generation, exec producers Craig
Zadan and Neil Meron decided to revise downward the ages of many of
the characters. They made the bickering school board members look
like recent high school graduates. They made the self-important
buffoon of a mayor (Victor Garber) two decades younger than he should
be. They made Kristin Chanoweth, who plays Marian the librarian,
stretch all her acting muscles to come off as a “sadder but sider
girl.” And they picked Matthew Broderick for the role of charming
fast-talker professor Harold Hill despite his look of youthful
innocence that runs counter to what might be expected of an
experienced flimflam artist.
Thankfully, they didn’t change the main theme to
If the intention was to make the townspeople
less cartoonish, it was doomed from the start. Willson wanted them to
be exaggerated characters and the dialogue he wrote for them and the
names he gave them reflected that.
Granted, anyone playing the part of Harold Hill
after Robert Preston has an almost impossibly hard act to follow.
Preston played the role on Broadway and reprised it in the 1962 film.
He sold the lyrics as convincingly as he sold the expensive band
instruments and uniforms. Broderick, despite his considerable acting
skill, simply doesn’t rise to the level of assertive yet engaging
The too-youthful look of the cast might have
made this version look a little like a college production if it didn’t
have so many good things going for it. Music producer and conductor
Michael Kosarin makes Willson’s songs sound as good as ever.
Choreographer Kathleen Marshall arranged one superb number after
another, including fantasy dance sequence in the library that is
unforgettable. Production design and set decoration is similarly
excellent, beautifully capturing the period look.
And, to be fair, some key roles were very
well-cast, including Debra Monk as Mrs. Paroo, Marian’s mother; young
Cameron Monaghan as Winthrop Paroo, Marian’s little brother; and David
Aaron Baker as Mercellus Washburn, Harold Hill’s confidant.
Director Jeff Bleckner imbuses the telefilm with
the color and merriment it requires, though his emphasis on close and
medium shots almost to the exclusion of wider angles limits our
appreciation of the overall small-town atmosphere.
The Walt Disney Co. has promoted Jim Hunt,
10-year veteran of the company, to executive vp and chief financial
officer of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide. Hunt will oversee
the financial activities of Disney’s theme parks and resorts in
California, Florida, Japan, France, and Hong Kong as well as Walt
Disney Imagineering, Disney cruise lines and Anaheim Sports. Hunt
joined Disney in 1992 as vp finance at the Walt Disney World Resort in
February 12, 2003:
Executive Friedman to be Consultant<<
Friedman, the executive vice president of ABC News and top deputy to
News chief David Westin, said Wednesday he's stepping away from
management to teach and produce news.
Friedman, 57, will work part-time at ABC News as senior news
consultant. He'll produce major special events coverage and help train
A veteran news executive with both NBC and ABC, Friedman spent
several years as executive producer of "World News Tonight." He was
also a London-based manager responsible for international news
"My recent experience as producer of ABC's 9-11 anniversary
coverage proved to me again that my interests are now more in
production than in management," Friedman said. "My new agreement
enables me to continue doing what I love at ABC News, with enough time
left for other projects and for teaching at the university level."
There was no announcement made of a successor.
Monday, February 10, 2003:
>>Jackson’s many faces prove too much for rivals<<
He hasn’t had a major song in years, but TV
viewers can’t seem to resist Michael Jackson.
The special “20/20: Living With Michael Jackson”
gave ABC its first Thursday night victory in a February sweep since at
least 1991. The two-hour special, in which a British journalist
tracked the mysteriousness pop singer as he cavorted on his Neverland
ranch and confided details of his plastic surgeries and private life,
crooned to an 11.0 rating/25 share in the key 18-49 demographic, with
27.1 million total viewers.
The fierce competition clobbered CBS’ “Star
Search” finale at 8pm, a distant third. Overall, ABC too the prize in
18-49. ABC also edged out NBC in total viewers, 25.8 million vs. 19.5
that won a DuPont Award, a Peabody Award and an Emmy Award for its spot
coverage of Sept. 11 was caught unprepared for the Saturday-morning
shuttle Columbia disaster and admitted as much last Thursday in a
conference call with unhappy affiliate news directors.
Already the only major cable or
broadcast news network without a Saturday-morning news presence, ABC
suffered further from the absence of a fiber optic line connecting it
with its own Dallas affiliate, WFAA-TV.
The line is an expensive proposition,
network insiders said, but Cable News Network was able to use its line
to take WFAA’s historic video of the shuttle breakup long before ABC.
And many ABC affiliates carried CNN over
The network itself called the conference
following complaints from affiliates and ABC-owned stations,
collectively trounced in that Saturday’s ratings even by cable network
CNN. ABC News president David Westin, who called the meeting, admitted
his own frustration with Saturday’s coverage and vowed more funding,
better staffing and better training for weekend coverage.
KETV(TV) Omaha, Neb., news director Rose
Ann Shannon, who chairs ABC’s affiliate-news-advisory board, said she
came away from the conference encouraged.
"I felt ABC acted quickly to address the problems," she said.
Mo., — The second "Bachelor" is still a
bachelor. Aaron Buerge, a 28-year-old banker from Springfield, Mo., proposed
to Helene Eksterowicz at the end of the second season of "The Bachelor,"
ABC's romance-reality series in which an eligible guy chooses a bride from
among 25 hopefuls.
An estimated 29 million viewers watched the Nov.
20 finale, as Buerge got down on one knee and placed a diamond ring on
Eksterowicz' left hand. (He refused to let the show spring for the rock, and
insisted on buying it himself.)
Now, he says in the Feb. 17 issue of People magazine that the engagement was
over by New Year's.
"There has not been any dagger throwing," Buerge said, adding that neither
had been unfaithful. He said he and Eksterowicz, a 27-year-old school
psychologist from Gloucester City, N.J., stay in touch by e-mail, and will
explain why the romance died on a Feb. 20 ABC special.
So did Eksterowicz keep the ring? "That will be revealed," a network
spokeswoman said Wednesday. BACK TO
March 21, 2003:
ABC dropped the ball, again<<
apologize to affiliates for being late and leaving some without a newscast.For
the second time in six weeks, ABC affiliates are complaining that their
network let them down in crisis coverage.~
YORK -- ABC News executives apologized to network affiliates Thursday for
failing to bring viewers the opening minutes of the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq and for leaving dozens of stations across the country without any
late-night news coverage of the war.
Affiliates had been told that Walt Disney Co.-owned ABC News would feed them
coverage, so many stations sent their late news staffers home Wednesday
evening and didn't prepare newscasts. When ABC abruptly ended its news
programming at about 11 p.m., some stations, such as KVUE-TV in Austin,
Texas, suffered the embarrassment of temporarily going to black -- with no
In New Haven, Conn., WTNH-TV aired long stretches of commercials. WSB-TV in
Atlanta, like many others, had to substitute news from CNN. Some went with
Network-owned stations in cities such as Los Angeles (KABC-TV)
and New York (WABC-TV)
were largely unaffected and continued to receive the network's news feed.
An ABC News spokesman said what he described as a miscommunication left
affiliate stations "in an untenable position.
"We deeply regret that we let them down," the spokesman said.
ABC News President David Westin and ABC Television President Alex Wallau
apologized Thursday, with Wallau personally calling affiliates. People
familiar with the situation blamed the problem on a breakdown in internal
A "good portion" of ABC's more than 200 affiliates were affected, said Bruce
Baker, executive vice president of Cox Television and chairman of ABC's
ABC executives "made a mistake and they regret it and they're taking full
responsibility, which is positive," he said.
But Baker called the lapse "troubling." Stations make much of their money
from their local newscasts, and glitches, particularly when viewers are
especially eager for news, can have long-term ramifications.
Moreover, it was the second time that ABC News found itself behind its
rivals in jumping on breaking news recently. After the network trailed in
coverage of the Columbia shuttle disaster, Westin apologized and said the
network would put safeguards in place.
"They promised us it wouldn't happen again and it did," said one news
director, who asked not to be identified.
That ABC would make such a mistake after months of preparation, and on the
night that hostilities were widely expected, was puzzling.
When the U.S. attacks on Baghdad began Wednesday night, ABC still was airing
entertainment programming and didn't have its war team ready. Rival networks
quickly switched to news.
"Early in the coverage, it appeared that the network was not prepared with
Peter Jennings in place," Baker said.
When it finally broke away from entertainment programming 10 minutes behind
the competition, ABC "did have coverage, but they didn't have the A-team in
there," Baker added. Instead, Chris Wallace anchored from Washington --
interviewing an ABC News producer because no reporters were available.
BACK TO TOP
Walt Disney Co.'s ABC-TV unit and the National
Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians agreed to suspend talks and
extend a labor agreement between the two sides because of the war in Iraq.
The current collective bargaining pact covering more than 2,500 broadcast
workers nationwide was scheduled to expire March 31. The contract has been
extended to May 12.
BACK TO TOP
“The Academy Awards is
traditionally the most-viewed televised entertainment even of the year,”
says Andrea Wong, senior vp alternative series and specials at ABC
Entertainment, the network that has broadcast the Oscars since 1976.
“However, by moving up the airdate, we’ll be able to promote the event
during the February sweep, and we’ll be able to take advantage of larger
viewing levels to attract an even greater audience.”
It is in the Academy’s
best interest to stymie the ratings deadline. Those numbers influence
advertising prices for subsequent Oscar broadcasts, and if ratings
improve before the Academy’s deal with ABC expires in 2008, so does the
asking price for TV rights.
Sources say the network pays about $45 million for
each year’s ceremony, which more than covers the Academy’s annual
operating budget. (The Academy spends $22 million of its own on each
Oscar ceremony, the sources add.)
BACK TO TOP
DirecTV Inc. is threatening to drop
ABC Family from its satellite television lineup over what it calls an
unreasonable price hike request by the Walt Disney Co.
BACK TO TOP
March 12, 2003:
>>ABC News Introduces
Online News Channel<<
YORK (AP) - Aiming to become a regular presence on computer screens, ABC News
has introduced ABC News Live, a 24-hour online channel featuring live feeds as
well as anchored coverage of events.
The streaming-video service provides programming that includes
C-SPAN-like coverage of speeches and briefings, as well as replays of ABC
News programs such as "World
News Tonight," "Nightline,"
Morning America." Archived news footage is available, along with
headlines, sports, weather and business updates.
Coverage for special events will include a "virtual control room" which
allows the viewer to choose from up to four simultaneous feeds displayed
on the screen.
Designed for computer users who have high-speed broadband Internet
access, ABC News Live, which began Wednesday, is initially available to
subscribers of ABC News On Demand, a service that lets users paying $4.95
a month view taped ABC News clips and programs; and RealNetworks Inc. (RNWK)'s
RealOne SuperPass service, which includes ABC News On Demand as part of
its video package for $9.95 a month.
ABC, which a few years ago abandoned plans to start a cable news
network, has characterized its new "channel" as an initial step toward
becoming the first Internet news network.
BACK TO TOP
Related ABC Web Pages:
"The View" was
nominated for a Daytime Emmy which was only fitting, since this ABC
chat show aired the announcements live Wednesday.
"If we are not nominated, this could be
one of the most embarrassing moments on `The View'," Barbara Walters
told her co-hosts. "And, on this show, that is saying a lot."
No cause for red faces. "The View"
snagged nominations in the categories of talk show and talk show host
(for Walters, Meredith Vieira, Star Jones, Joy Behar and the
now-departed Lisa Ling). It has never captured an Emmy.
Last year's winner for best drama,
"One Life to Live," was shut out as nominations were claimed by "The
Young and the Restless," "As the World Turns," "The Bold and the
Beautiful" and "Port Charles."
Newcomers Dr. Phil McGraw and Wayne
Brady were among those in the talk show host category, with their
respective series also claiming talk show nominations.
"Jeopardy!," last year's winner, was
joined in the game or audience participation category by "The Price is
Right," "Hollywood Squares," "Wheel of Fortune" and "Win Ben Stein's
For lead actor in a drama series, the
nominees were Maurice Benard, "General Hospital," Anthony Geary,
"General Hospital," Ricky Paull Goldin, "Guiding Light," Grant
Aleksander, "Guiding Light," Thorsten Kaye, "Port Charles," and Doug
Davidson, "The Young and the Restless."
"The Bold and the Beautiful's" Susan
Flannery, who took last year's award for lead actress in a drama
series, was nominated along with Nancy Lee Grahn, "General Hospital,"
Kim Zimmer, "Guiding Light," Eileen Davidson, "The Young and the
Restless," and Michelle Stafford, "The Young and the Restless."
And why was the oft-nominated Susan
Lucci missing from that roster?
The "All My Children" diva wasn't
among those on the "pre-nomination list," according to Soap Opera
Weekly Executive Editor Carolyn Hinsey, appearing on "The View" to
give expert analysis. Lucci's presence on the soap was limited last
year, Hinsey explained.
"The 30th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards"
will be given out by the National Academy of Television Arts and
Sciences on May 16 in a ceremony at Radio City Music Hall televised by
has announced the next star of The Bachelor, and he's as
different as you can get from faux Joe Millionaire: 27-year-old
Andrew Firestone, great-grandson of the tire-company founder.
Firestone will begin his televised search for Ms. Right when The
Bachelor 3 debuts Wednesday, March 26, at 9 p.m. on ABC7.
ABC had promised that the next Bachelor would be "the son of one of
America's most affluent and prominent families." Firestone's father is the
founder of California's Firestone Vineyard, and his mother is Catherine
Boulton, former soloist in the British Royal Ballet.
Andrew Firestone is a sales manager for the Firestone Family Estates
and lives in San Francisco. He was born in the Santa Ynez Valley and
attended prep school and the University of San Diego, earning a degree in
business administration in 1998. After backpacking in Europe, he did a
tour of duty at the family vineyard during the harvest.
"I plan on starting a family someday, and by growing the family
business, I will be building my children's future as well," he says in a
biography on the vineyard's Web site.
Producers of the series originally contacted Andrew's older brother
Adam to be a contestant, only to find out that Adam is married and has
four children. But Adam suggested his brother for the role.
and HDTV: Progressive Together<<
has chosen to blaze its own trail when it comes to HDTV. Alone among the
major networks, ABC has adopted the 720p (1280x720 pixels, 60 Hz picture
refresh) HDTV standard for all prime-time filmed programs, movies, and
selected sports events. Not only that, ABC has also made an effort to
include Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on many of these programs.
There have been numerous debates about the superiority of 1080i vs. 720p
for HDTV. Many 1080i advocates state the total number of image pixels
(2,073,600 vs. 921,600 for 720p) tilts the table in their favor. However,
that number needs to be taken with a grain of salt; 1080i is an interlaced
format with two fields each containing 1,036,800 pixels.
In the same time interval, a 720p signal has been completely refreshed.
Given; 1,036,800 pixels are still more than 921,600, but we're really
splitting hairs here. And there is no doubt that progressive scanning is
always better for live action. You won't see any 'jaggies' or motion
artifacts as you might with interlaced picture delivery.
Both formats are compressed about the same amount prior to transmission
in the ATSC standard. 1080i 4:2:0 video is packed down 51:1, whereas 720p is
scrunched up by a factor or 46:1. From a display standpoint, there are
numerous projectors, monitors, and integrated TVs that have equivalent
resolution to map 720p signals 1:1.
Not so with 1080i, where there are hardly any such options. Toshiba's
57in. LCoS set mentioned in last month's CES report does have a 1920x1080
pixel array, as do the new 52in. and 54in. TFT LCD monitors from LG Zenith
and Samsung. But that's about it.
ABC's Super Bowl telecast was likely a dual-truck affair, mixing as it
did a combination of 720p widescreen shots with 480i cutaways and
slow-motion replays. There are a few new 720p remote trucks under
construction for ABC that will also be put to use by ESPN's new HD sports
network, scheduled to come on-line in April of this year.
With ABC planning HD coverage of the 2003 Stanley Cup and NBA Finals --
not to mention the 2003 Monday Night Football schedule -- we'll have
sufficient opportunities to observe 720p acquisition and production in
action. (Maybe we'll even get lucky and see the Academy Awards in 720p this
year, now that they have moved to a more spacious theater!) BACK TO
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