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The week that was


CNN's retooled Headline News
didn't score big in the Nielsen ratings or with TV critics, who found the banter between anchors and cluttered screen annoying. "It's now like one of those hopelessly overstuffed ice cream flavors that Ben & Jerry's keeps introducing in an attempt to grab more shelf space," quipped the Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson. Ratings didn't budge beyond its typical 0.2 household rating in the first days after the Aug. 6 relaunch. …

rolls out most of its fall premieres the week of Sept. 17.… The WB
begins airing new shows Sept. 14, ending with the Oct. 16 debut of Smallville

debut schedule will begin with the Sept. 5 season premiere/Wednesday-night debut of newsmagazine 20/20
and end Sept. 30 with the debut of new drama Alias.
interactive channel ESPN Today
has attracted about 500,000 users since it launched last month. The channel is currently available only to 2 million DirecTV
subscribers who buy the interactive package.

Job Shifts

Barry Wallach,
named executive VP of NBC Enterprises, rejoins his old Eyemark boss, now president of NBC Enterprises, Ed Wilson. Wallach, previously head of domestic sales at CBS/Eyemark, will now oversee all broadcast and cable sales for NBC. …

ABC Cable
named a slew of execs to populate its newly created worldwide brand-strategy team. Sandy Wax
becomes SVP of brand strategy and planning, and Adam Sanderson
is SVP of brand marketing. Both Wax and Sanderson will work under Eleo Hensleigh, the group's EVP. John Rood
was named VP of brand marketing, Scott Fuller
is VP of brand management and Vycki Smaldino
was promoted to VP of brand services. All three will report to Sanderson. …

The Senate confirmed Nancy Victory, 39, to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Victory was formerly a partner at Wiley, Rein and Fielding. …

Ex-Cablevision Systems executive Mark Lipford
has been tapped to run Cox's 367,000 subscriber Las Vegas systems. Lipford was previously a Cablevision
regional VP overseeing more than 1 million customers in New Jersey and southern New York. …

David Brown
is the interim mass media and cable adviser to FCC Commissioner Kevin Martin. Brown was an attorney in the FCC's Video Services Division.

Tube Rulings

For the 16th consecutive week, NBC
won the adults 18-49 crown, and it added a total-viewers victory in the week ended Aug. 5. NBC averaged a 3.3 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.2 million viewers, Nielsen said. ABC finished second in both categories with a 2.6 rating in adults 18-49 and 7.8 million viewers. NBC's Fear Factor again was the week's most-watched show, with 15.4 million viewers, and highest-rated series in adults 18-49, with a 7.1/22. …

Big Brother's move to 9 p.m. didn't seem to hurt CBS.
Ithad its best Tuesday-night ratings ever on Aug. 7, averaging 8.9 million viewers and a 4.1 rating/12 share in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen.
CBS moved the show from 8 p.m. because of its racy content. …

canceled Sex Wars
and National Enquirer: Uncovered
but is developing syndie shows for 2002. MGM is working on Twisted Justice, a Politically Incorrect
spin on the court genre starring Hollywood lawyer Howard Weitzman
and produced by American Gladiators'
Ron Ziskind.

For the week ended July 29, most returning courtroom series
gained ground or held even. Judge Judy
rose 6% from the previous week to a 5.6 Nielsen household score. Divorce Court jumped 4% to a 2.6, its best performance in nine weeks. Judge Joe Brown (3.4, up 3%), Judge Greg Mathis (2.0, up 5%), Power of Attorney (1.9, flat) and Judge Hatchett (1.9, up 6%) rounded out the group. People's Court (1.7, down 6%) was the only one to fall. …WRBW-TV Orlando, upgraded Twentieth Television's Divorce Court
from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. And Texas Justice, Twentieth's regional series rolling out nationally in January, has landed more clearances, including KMSP-TV Minneapolis and KPTV-TV Portland, Ore.