Syndie Insider

ET Weekend Hates Football

Weekly hours got a ratings boost in the week ending Dec. 15, according to Nielsen Media Research's national ratings. Paramount's Entertainment Tonight Weekend jumped the most, leaping 94% from the prior week to score a 3.5, much closer to its regular average.

ET Weekend had been hurt the week before by college football preemptions in five of the top-10 markets, so much so that it was knocked out of the top spot among weekly hours for the first time in a year.

Over last year, ET Weekend
was up 13%, reports Nielsen. Second place was a tie between two Twentieth shows: X-Files and The Practice, at a 2.5 average, with X-Files up 25% from the prior week and The Practice up 19%. Year-to-year, X-Files was down 11% and The Practice was down 4%.

Wheel of Fortune
Loves Football

An online component will be launched to support "NFL Players Week" on the syndicated Wheel of Fortune
game show. During the week of Jan. 6-10, NFL players will compete on the show to win money for their favorite charities.

That same week, viewers can enter an online sweepstakes at either or for a chance to win prizes including a Grand Prize trip to the 2003 Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

New Buena Vista Exec Taps New Biz VP

Robert Kaplan has been named director of development for Buena Vista Productions, said Holly Jacobs, executive vice president of BVP last week. Kaplan will report to Karen Glass, BVP's vice president of development. Kaplan will take pitches for first-run syndicated television programs, develop reality programs for prime time and cable, and recruit top producers, directors and writers. He also will oversee programs in development and on-the-air shows, such as The Wayne Brady Show. Kaplan comes to Buena Vista from Universal where he was a production supervisor on the studio's first-run syndicated programming.

Also, Robert Mendez has been named senior vice president of business affairs for Buena Vista Television and Buena Vista Productions. He'll report to Janice Marinelli, president of BVT last week. In his new position, Mendez will oversee all business and legal affairs for the two sister Disney companies. Mendez comes to Buena Vista from Paramount Domestic Television, where he was senior vice president of business affairs and legal.