Looking for TV network trend stories this season was easy and early for the press with the strong return of ABC and the quick fall of NBC. But just when you thought the press may be sending NBC away for good, the Peacock network might have another calling. God has a hand in this. This week's religious-thriller "Revelations," a six-episode series from NBC, debuted to good viewer numbers. Add this to NBC's healthy mid-season "Medium" on Monday nights, and now critics have a more complicated story to tell.
Everything is a TV show -- even announcing the TV schedule of National Football League games. For the second year, the NFL Network offered up a live show, "NFL Total Access Schedule Show" recently - to talk about "Monday Night Football" match-ups and holiday games. But, unlike the games themselves, there were no scores, post-game interviews, or player-of-the-game awards.
Chrysler Group looks like its inked the first pre-upfront deal of the season. But don't go looking for that money at ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox. Try DirecTV. The giant automotive maker struck an advertising deal for new interactive ads and other marketing tricks with the satellite TV distributor.
TV sports programmers haven't had much good news recently - what with the absence of the NHL and still lackluster NBA ratings. Now, just when you thought Tiger Woods was finally going to become just a great, average golf player, he not only finds his stroke but some drama at the CBS "Masters" golf event.
The last great pool of broadcasting stations is up for sale, but does it matter? Not unless you are looking to crunch some numbers - or some abs. Paxson Communications entertained offers from two parties last week -- the talent management company, the Firm and TV entrepreneur Byron Allen. Both are interested in spending some $2.2 billion for the company and reports sent Paxson's shares skyrocketing.
It's the same old song - cable is taking money from broadcast networks. But the real picture isn't always realized, nor does it seem advertisers get the right exposure. Discovery Networks has predicted another $500 million will shift from broadcast to cable during this year's upfront, while other pro-cable prognosticators say that number could be as high as $1 billion.
ABC wants its football like it wants its hamburgers from Burger King - just the way it likes it. That means switching ABC's high-profile "Monday Night Football" to its Walt Disney Co. sister cable network, ESPN, and moving ESPN's "Sunday Night Football" package to ABC.
In typical governmental, hyperbolic fashion, the Corporation of Public Broadcasting (CPB), which acts as an ombudsman of sort for public broadcasting, has hired - who else - two ombudsmen. Former NBC newsman Ken Bode and former Reader's Digest editor William Schulz are coming on board to promote balance and accountability, according to CPB executives.
Al Gore's new cable channel wants to take on MTV -- as well as Fox News, CNN, and possibly some advertising agencies. The new network called Current, which will focus on current events for young adults 18 to 49, looks to take on the MTV audience - in a more serious way. MTV has done its best with its Rock the Vote and other community efforts - but these public service pushes have always been a subset of MTV's general interest entertainment programming and music videos.
Seeking friendly and financially strong companies, the cable industry's National Cable & Telecommunications Association's conference in San Francisco, is looking for media industry allies. With bankruptcy and financial issues surrounding some companies - Adelphia Communications and Cablevision Systems -- Steve Burke, COO of Comcast Corp. called on other industries, from wireless phone carriers to Internet content providers, to help bring some joy to the rest of the cable business.