Monday, June 27
Alas, Lance Armstrong didn’t make it into the five finalists for last night’s unveiling of the Discovery Channel’s “Greatest American,” but take heart, Mr. Yellowjersey: Greatest American’s ratings have been ungreat. Besides, you’re still No. 1 in Discovery’s programming heart. “Lance Week” starts tonight at 8 (ET) with The Science of Lance Armstrong. Don’t expect an exposé about the “science” behind his amazing powers; Armstrong bikes for the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. As it happens, the Tour de France starts Saturday. Comcast’s brawny Outdoor Living Network, suffering Lance-in-France Fever as well, plans 300 heures of live coverage.
Tuesday, June 28
Gladiator or Troy? Thumbs up or thumbs down? ABC sweats the response to the first night of the $30 million, six-hour miniseries Empire (two-hour premiere, 9 p.m. ET) set in ancient Rome. Meanwhile, HBO would like to feed ABC execs to the lions for stepping on its $100 million 12-part sword’n’sandals epic, Rome, coming this fall. We may have to punch out during Empire’s last half-hour to watch Comedy Central. Haven’t seen Stella yet, but we’re giving it a chance just because the comedy about three suit-wearing goofballs (premiere, 10:30 p.m. ET) had the moxie to advertise on Gawker.com. In New York today, representatives from AOL, Microsoft, Texas Instruments and a raft of other tech-centric companies convene for the Entertainment Technology Alliance’s three-day ETA Summit at the Javits “Hey, at Least We’re Not the Jets Stadium Complex” Convention Center.
Wednesday, June 29
The Humanitas Prizes will be handed out today to luncheoneers at the Hilton Universal hotel in Los Angeles. The prizes honor the writers behind movies and television “that affirm the human person, probe the meaning of life, and enlighten the use of human freedom.” This year—and we find this is difficult to believe—there won’t be an award in the 30-minute TV category. Humanitas prez Frank Desiderio explained: “We couldn’t find three shows that demonstrated great writing and keen insights into the human condition.” A pity. Terry George, nominated in the film category for Hotel Rwanda, would have found something to chat about with the gang from Joey.
Thursday, June 30
MTV’s gay network launches today, and for that we are extremely grateful—because it afforded the opportunity to ask the B&C art department for the Logo logo. With that off our checklist, now we can turn to another journalistic dream: reporting about a person whose name is Photo Caption. (For more on Logo and the prospects for a spate of new gay TV networks, see page 29.)
Friday, July 1
Over the anguished cries of the Don’t Count Us Out crowd, Nielsen switches over to all–local-people-meter measurement today in Philadelphia and Washington. We were going to make a crack about Michael Copps’ having a lot of time on his hands to watch TV in Washington, since his FCC seat was due to expire yesterday, but we hear the Democrat is a lock to be renewed for another five years. The Bush administration is just waiting to bundle him with a couple of Republican nominees so the whole group will roll through the confirmation hearings faster than Lance Armstrong chasing down some poor bastard in the Pyrenees.—Mark Lasswell
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