Grammer to get $1.6M per episode

Kelsey Grammer is set to become the highest-paid TV actor ever. Paramount Network TV is close to signing the Frasier
star for a record $1.6 million per episode through 2004, sources confirmed. Three months ago, NBC agreed to pay Paramount more than $5 million per episode through May 2004. Frasier
enters its ninth season this fall. Paramount executives had no comment.

For DBS, it's all local stations or none

The federal district court in Virginia Friday upheld a law requiring satellite TV carriers to offer either every local TV station in a market or none. DBS providers, which provide programming with nationwide signals, say they don't have the technology to offer so many local signals and want to carry only channels of major network affiliates.

Sinclair victory

Sinclair won't face an Aug. 6 deadline to sever ties with four stations the company operates but does not own, thanks to an order by the federal appeals court in Washington last week. The divestiture date was imposed by the FCC in 1999 when it set restrictions for ownership of two TV stations in the same market.

The four affected stations are in markets where the company also owns a station outright: Columbus and Dayton, Ohio; Charleston, S.C., and Charleston, W.Va. The four local marketing agreements violate an FCC ownership rule forbidding one company from controlling two TV outlets in a market containing fewer than eight separately owned stations.

Hard Knox gets a Hard knock

New Line Television's planned syndicated action series Hard Knox
turned out to be aptly named. The studio has pulled the plug on the series just weeks before it was to debut nationally in 92% of the country. The series featured former Melrose Place
star Thomas Calabro and Six Million Dollar Man
Lee Majors. New Line Executive Vice President David Spiegelman said, "Although we are frustrated with the outcome, it does not make good business sense to move forward as our international partners were unable to generate a sufficient number of deals."


DirecTV and EchoStar last week asked the FCC to bar MDS America from conducting any experiments on its service. MDS' service allegedly can share direct-broadcast-satellite spectrum to deliver multichannel video and data services terrestrially without causing interference. In May, the FCC gave MDS an experimental license to test its technology in Florida.

New news chief at WHDH-TV

Edward Kosowski, news director at KGO-TV San Francisco, was named news director for WHDH-TV Boston. He replaces Nancy Nydam, who left the station following reported disagreements over direction of the news. Although WHDH-TV has kept its ratings up, it's been embattled. Besides Nydam's departure, the removal of anchor Kim Carrigan led to flak from the local press. Kosowski has been with ABC's KGO-TV for three years and was assistant news director at NBC's WRC-TV Washington.

SGI says goodbye to Pentium

In September, Silicon Graphics Inc. will discontinue its ZX10 Pentium III-based workstation. It will not develop software for the new Pentium IV chip but will shift R&D to Intel's 64-bit "Itanium" chip technology, on which its new 750 workstation for Linux is based. Future SGI products will also support Intel's upcoming "McKinley" technology.

Drew Carey signed through 2004

ABC has renewed Warner Bros.' The Drew Carey Show
through the 2003-04 season for more than $150 million. It already had rights for the upcoming season. Carey himself signed a new contract at more than $600,000 per episode. Neither Warner Bros. nor ABC would comment.

FCC can't repossess auctioned licenses

A federal court has ruled that the FCC violated bankruptcy laws in repossessing wireless licenses from NextWave, which had won 90 licenses in 1996 but was unable to pay the $4.7 billion bid. The spectrum was re-auctioned in January in a larger block that garnered $17 billion. The FCC can appeal but has said it will return the spectrum to NextWave if it loses the court fight.

Univision gets Latin American programs

Univision has teamed with two Colombia's RCN and Venezuela's RCTV for access to new programming in 2002. Financial terms were not disclosed. Under a five-year deal, Univision gets exclusive U.S. rights to 300 hours of novelas, including Eco Modo, a sequel to the currently popular Spanish-language soap opera Betty La Fea. Venezuela's RCTV, in a 10-year deal, will provide at least 800 hours of original novelas. RCTV is giving Univision access to its novela
library, 1,200 hours' worth of content that has not yet aired in the U.S.

School's out, Blind date's up

The end of the school year, which generally coincided with the ratings period ended June 10, was a boon to the youngest-skewing syndicated strips. With the teen audience jumping 188% from the week before, according to Nielsen Media Research, dating strip Blind Date
scored a season-best 2.4 national rating, up 9% from the previous week.

Also stronger was Change of Heart
(2.0, up 5%). Off-net sitcoms Seinfeld
(3.9, down 5%) and The Drew Carey Show
(2.9, down 9%), however, logged their worst marks ever.