Second Season for Showtime’s 'Tudors’
New York —The king will live for another year on Showtime.
The premium channel has renewed its original drama series The Tudors just two installments into its freshman campaign. The network also confirmed it has green-lit a new Tracy Ullman sketch show, dubbed State Of The Union, as well as a second season of its documentary series This American Life.
After a stellar April 1 debut, viewership for The Tudors — which chronicles the early years of the reign of Henry VIII — dropped sharply in its second week. The series’ April 8 episode averaged 775,000 viewers, down from the 1.28 million garnered during its premiere week, according to Showtime executives. The 10-episode second season will debut sometime in 2008.
State of the Union will feature Ullman performing several characters, each representing a slice of American life, Showtime said.
Ex-MTVer Sherman Tapped to Light Fuse
New York — Cablevision Systems has recruited MTV Networks veteran Eric Sherman to light a fire under its music-oriented video service.
Sherman, the former senior vice president and general manager of VH1 Classic, VH1 Soul and VH1 Classic Records and MTV’s MHD HD channel, was named president of Fuse. Sherman was let go in an MTVN reorganization in February.
Cablevision also shifted Fuse from its Rainbow Media Holdings portfolio to its Madison Square Garden unit.
The move could make Rainbow — which controls WE tv, AMC, Voom HD Networks and The Independent Film Channel — more attractive for a possible sale. The MSG unit controls Madison Square Garden, MSG Entertainment, MSG Media, MSG Sports, the National Basketball Association’s New York Knicks and the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.
“We believe that the strength of Madison Square Garden with its legendary venues, entertainment properties, teams and award-winning television networks, together with the youthful dominance and national reach of Fuse, is a powerful combination that strengthens our overall business,” Cablevision vice chairman Hank Ratner said in a statement.
Nielsen Partners Up for Out-of-Home Service
New York — Nielsen Media Research and Integrated Media Measurement will launch a co-branded service this fall that will measure TV viewing that takes place outside of the home.
The service, expected to debut in September, will mark the first time Nielsen will offer ongoing audience estimates of television viewing in out-of-home locations such as offices, fitness clubs, hotels and bars.
Nielsen will offer a national out-of-home measurement service, as well as local out-of-home services in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Denver, which are the first markets in which IMMI has established panels. The six local services will each have a participating panel of about 500 people, or a total of 3,000 participants.
The sample for the national service, totaling 2,500 panelists, will be comprised of a portion of participants from the local services, plus an additional 1,700 people from around the country. The new service builds on Nielsen’s Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative, which seeks to measure television viewing on every platform where it is available.
The results of a recent Arbitron Television Services study indicated that 35% of viewers spend some part of their week watching TV outside the home, much more than the 15% ad agency and TV executives had estimated.
WE Sets a Date for 'Get Married’ Premiere
New York — Following a regional run in Atlanta, a wedding magazine show was scheduled to take the plunge nationally on Sunday.
The half-hour series Get Married, set to debut on WE on April 15 at 9:30 a.m., provides tips and news for those betrothed to make their big day special in every way. Hosted by Atlanta TV and radio personality Jenn Hobby and featuring industry expert Crys Stewart and correspondent Jessica Campbell, Get Married will present trend stories, celebrity interviews, surveys and information/suggestions about invitations, bridal gowns, wedding halls and honeymoon destinations.
The series is the progeny of Get Married, Atlanta, which ran on the Pax TV affiliate (now Ion) in Atlanta for two years. Get Married has gained WE scheduling bliss via a time buy through 2008, and plans to produce at least 26 original episodes at the time, according to show spokesman.
The initial entry on WE was to include segments on wedding dress trends and bridal makeovers, showcase the work of celebrity florist Mark Held and celebrity photographer Robert Evans, and include a wedding day remembrance by Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell.
RCN, America Channel Reach Carriage Terms
Herndon, Va. — RCN and The America Channel have reached a memorandum of agreement for carriage of the network on a linear basis, with a la carte and video-on-demand distribution rights for additional sports programming distributed by the service.
The RCN agreement includes carriage of America Channel on all of its systems, with attractive channel designation. RCN will distribute the network’s regional feeds, including AC New England, AC Northeast and AC Mid-Atlantic.
RCN will also receive extensive a la carte and VOD carriage rights to offer live football, basketball and other games, as well as campus-generated lifestyle content, from universities within the RCN-system footprints.
TAC has partnered with 15 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I conferences, including the Colonial Athletic Association, Patriot League, Ivy League and America East Conference, representing 146 universities, to begin providing coverage of football, basketball and other sports this fall.
In addition, the parties will cooperate on co-branding and co-marketing opportunities to customize TAC’s service for local communities.
SES Signs 5 Networks for IPTV Service
Princeton, N.J. — Satellite-services provider SES Americom has added 53 new channels to the lineup for its Internet Protocol TV distribution service, inking transport deals with Comcast Networks, Fox Cable Networks, NBC Universal, Showtime Networks and Turner Broadcasting System. The deals bring SES Americom’s IP-Prime service to more than 350 channels from more than 40 programmers, including A&E Television Networks, Fox News Channel, Hallmark Channels, Lifetime Networks, MTV Networks and The Weather Channel.
Currently one of the biggest programmers absent from the lineup is ESPN. SES Americom senior vice president of media partnerships for Bill Squadron said the company is in negotiations with the sports programmer. “It would be erroneous to say we won’t have ESPN,” he said.
SES Americom expects to officially launch IP-Prime in the next few weeks. The company is marketing the “turnkey” service to small and midsize telcos as way for them get an IPTV service up and running quickly — and less expensively — than cobbling together the infrastructure and services. However, individual IPTV operators will need to separately negotiate carriage deals with each programmer. “We may be in a position to put together carriage agreements on behalf of our international programmers, but I think the conclusion that we drew was that it’s important for these carriage agreements to be between distributor and programmer,” Squadron said.
SES Americom’s partners for IP-Prime include Cisco Systems, Harmonic, Siemens, NDS Group and the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC), which represents 1,300 U.S. phone companies that have fewer than 100,000 customers. Squadron said the service has completed trials with four NRTC members.—Todd Spangler
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