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Fast Track

Norville Signs Off MSNBC Talk Show

MSNBC’s Deborah Norville Tonight is ending in mid-January; she’ll continue with the syndicated magazine Inside Edition.Her cable show, weeknights at 9, is a distant third against its cable news competitors, Larry King Live on CNN and Fox News’ Hannity & Colmes.

Chosen Ones: Trump at NBC, 'Model’ at UPN

The Apprentice finale was enough to give NBC the Thursday-night 18-49 crown last week, with a 7.8 Nielsen rating and 17 million total viewers. West Point grad Kelly Perdew will be Donald Trump’s newest employee.

UPN’s surprise hit, America’s Next Top Model, chose 19-year-old Eva Pigford as winner of the reality show produced by and starring model Tyra Banks. Viewership of the finale topped the previous two editions, with UPN grabbing 6.5 million viewers and a 2.9 rating/8 share in adults 18-49.

Fox Sued Over 'Trading Spouses’

RDF Media, which produces Britain’s Wife Swap reality series, has sued Fox and producer Rocket Science Laboratories, arguing their Trading Spouses series infringes on its copyright. The suit says Fox and Rocket Science “willfully and illegally develop[ed] a show, Trading Spouses, that incorporated all of the expressive elements and trade dress of Wife Swap, versions of which have aired on British television since January 2003 and in the U.S. on the ABC-TV network since September 2004.”

ABC Affiliates Pony Up for 'MNF’

The majority of ABC affiliates approved a new four-year agreement that calls for stations to ante up more dollars for ABC’s Monday Night Football package. The network affiliate plan, the third such deal for ABC, is an addendum to stations’ individual affiliation agreements and is meant partly as a signal to the NFL that stations will help pay big bucks.

ABC needs assistance paying for the hefty $500 million-per-year contract, which expires after the 2005-06 season; affiliates at first were balking at upping their contribution.

In the new deal, ABC is getting a financial boost from stations and assurances on clearances. In return, stations will get additional advertising and promotional inventory in prime time. The deal will run through 2008 only if ABC re-ups with the NFL. The network has not yet struck a deal for its NFL rights past the 2006 Super Bowl.

Fox Names Reality Channel Chief

After starting his career more than two decades ago as a geologist, 25-year reality programming veteran David Lyle will now mine for TV hits as the head of Fox’s new Fox Reality Channel. “It’s digging for gold in a different way,” says the Sydney, Australia, native, who comes to the new reality channel from FremantleMedia North America, where he served as president of entertainment since 2001.

CBS Boosts Role For Schweitzer

Viacom Inc. Co-Chairman Les Moonves created a new CBS marketing group, naming veteran George Schweitzer president. Schweitzer will run all marketing and ad efforts for CBS and sister netlet UPN.


During the week of Nov. 28, new magazine show The Insider posted a Nielsen household rating of 2.9, beating Access Hollywood’s 2.3 rating. A page 27 story in the Dec. 13 edition misstated the ratings. Season-to-date, the shows are tied with a 2.5 household rating.