Skip to main content

The week that was

The color of money

ABC TV President Alex Wallau
headed a group of 24 network execs who met with the NAACP and Latino, Asian Pacific American and America Indian organizations last week to discuss minority casting

ABC says it has 23 African Americans in supporting or lead roles this fall, up from 15 last year, six Latino actors (versus 5) and three Asian Americans (versus 2). There are no American Indians in series. The coalition said ABC was worst of the major networks last year. ….

Diversity chieftains
from the Big Four
broadcast networks were also in Washington last week to update congressional
minority caucuses on efforts to include more ethnic groups among their characters. ...

has signed a sponsorship deal with Samsung
and Sears
to underwrite televising its 2001 college football
schedule in HDTV. The agreement marks the first time a full season of college football has been broadcast in HDTV. Sears will show the games in stores on Samsung sets. ...

New York's principal public TV stations WNET(TV) and WLIW(TV)
agreed last week to merge operations. WLIW board member Anne Ellis
resigned in opposition to the plan, questioning whether Long Island viewers might be shortchanged. The deal must still be approved by the New York State Supreme Court and the FCC.

The people mover

A week after ABC Cable
restructured its networks' business operations and management hierarchy, the Disney Channel
named Gary Marsh
the channel's new exec VP of original programming and production; Andrea Taylor
senior VP of marketing, and Jill Casagrande
senior VP of programming. All three will report to Disney Channel's GM Richard Ross.
Several new executives were named under them, too. ...

Robert Sachs, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, got a contract extension, to Dec. 31, 2004. (His contract was originally due to expire next July.) ...

Tribune Television
dubbed Bill Shaw
VP, sales, overseeing all advertising-sales activity. Previously, Shaw had been president and CEO of Fox Television Sales, the joint venture between Petry and Fox that sold national-spot TV time for the Fox-owned stations.


Hallmark Entertainment
bought back an 8.2% stake in its Crown Media
subsidiary from EM.TV, a German programming company that also owns The Jim Henson Company. The deal frees Crown Media from the shackles of Henson's children's programming. Crown Media's Odyssey Channel
relaunched Sunday as the Hallmark Channel.

National Geographic's Explorer series is moving from CNBC
beginning in October 2001, with 48 new episodes a year. ...

has picked up Cybill Shepherd's
old sitcom Cybill. The production company's partners, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner
and CarynMandabach, are Oxygen co-founders. ...The return of World Wrestling Federation
star The Rock
last Monday gave The National Network
its largest audience in the channel's 18-year history. Raw is War averaged a 5.7 rating, according to Nielsen. In July, the net achieved a 1.0 prime time rating, up from a 0.6 in July 2000. ...

Television reported an 18% drop in operating cash flow to $77.4 million for the second quarter on a 10% revenue decline to $176.4 million. For the first six months, cash flow is down 22% to $128 million and revenue is down 11% to $324 million. The company said it expected a 10%-14% revenue decline in the third quarter. ...

Pax TV
struck joint-sales agreements with Hearst-Argyle-owned NBC
affiliates in four more markets, bringing the number of Pax JSAs to 55 of its 68 stations. The new deals are between KCRA-TV (NBC) and KSPX-TV (Pax) in Sacramento, Calif.; WESH-TV (NBC) and WOPX-TV (Pax) in Orlando, Fla.; WDSU-TV (NBC) and WPXL-TV (Pax) in New Orleans and WXII-TV (NBC) and WGPX-TV (Pax) in Greensboro, N.C. ...


News Corp. and Hughes Corp. denied that there are any major environmental liabilities snagging their merger negotiations, as BROADCASTING & CABLE reported last week. Hughes says the only environmental issue deals with an old GM Delco Electronics plant in Santa Barbara, Calif., that is "relatively insignificant." A News Corp. executive also minimized the environmental issue.