• Grilling Networks for Reality Show Improprieties: Who Cares?
    Questions about the Iraq War? Move aside - we've got bigger issues here. Someone gave an "Idol" contestant an unauthorized haircut. A couple of days ago at the TV critics tour in Los Angeles, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson was dogged by questions concerning possible problems of judges and viewers voting on "Dancing With The Stars."No formal action would be taken said the network. Now yesterday, Fox Entertainment President Peter Ligouri said there would be an independent investigation of "American Idol" by a team of lawyers because of an alleged relationship one contestant had with the …
  • Does DreamWorks Have Something to Talk About?
    While a number of reports sprung up today about how NBC Universal is rumored to be in negotiations to buy DreamsWorks SKG, the live action film entertainment company, DreamWorks executives aren't talking. At least, not today. Two days ago it was a different story. Apparently one DreamWorks spokesperson did talk to the New York Post and said the company wasn't for sale. Then yesterday, a DreamWorks statement said that person wasn't authorized to talk.
  • "Law & Order's" Dick Wolf Complains
    Some TV producers say they get no respect from TV writers - not giving their actors their due and not in a proper dollars-and-cents, business way. Dick Wolf feels that his "Law & Order" shows are in that camp and doesn't know why. He is angry that critics placed more attention on "Alias" than "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," especially when "Criminal Intent" pulls in more money in syndication and after-market license fees and advertising dollars than "Alias."
  • Customer Service Problems Still Plague Cable
    Television hasn't always had the best customer service. Scores of viewers might tell you that TV and networks don't respond - or at least not quickly enough -- to their problems: the cancellation of their favorite shows, too much sex and violence on TV shows, or too little sex and violence on TV shows. And not only viewers think this; TV and ad executives say they should do a better job. Much of the complaints in the TV business over the years has been directed at cable operators.
  • NBC's Reilly Says No Quick Turnaround
    It's a story and explanation that won't end for NBC. NBC's president of entertainment, Kevin Reilly, is telling critics again things aren't so well - and there may not be a quick turnaround. This was a dire prognosis for NBC - more severe than Reilly made for advertisers during the upfront presentations this past May. Not that critics and TV writers were anticipating anything else.
  • 'Mars' Will Orbit CBS, But 'Chris' Will Remain The Third Rock From Viacom's Other Son
    Ever since Viacom took full control of part-time television network UPN and folded it under the management structure of its CBS Television unit, the press have speculated on all sorts of interconnections between the two broadcast television networks. The common wisdom has been that UPN would essentially morph into a me-too version of CBS, offering second chances for failed CBS series, or a secondary outlet to gain additional coverage for ongoing CBS shows.
  • Ratings Legislation -- A Tough Act To Follow
    The political debate surrounding regulation of television ratings is heating up once again, with not one but two bills now working their way through Congress -- one in the Senate, the other in the House. What's clear is that prospects for a law regulating TV ratings - and indirectly, how TV advertising is bought and sold - has never been greater. What's not so clear is who is orchestrating the political agenda, and perhaps more importantly, toward what end and for what gain. While it may be apparent that Nielsen Media Research opposes such legislation and anti-Nielsen group Don't …
  • Medium Cool - Once Again
    Network TV is cool again. Water-cooler cool, that is. That's the pitch network executives are making this week to people who are notorious for being some of the biggest coolers of network TV shows: television critics. Apparently, the critics reacted rather coolly to the pitch. "Traditional network programming had been overshadowed in the pop culture landscape in recent years by such cable hotshots as HBO's 'The Sopranos' and 'Sex and the City' and FX's 'The Shield'," observed The Hollywood Reporter's Cynthia Littleton, in her coverage of a CBS briefing Tuesday during the Television Critics Association's annual press tour …
  • Ad Tapping Versus Ad Zapping: What Does TiVo Know?
    The great ad zapper is taking steps to become the ultimate ad tapper. As expected, TiVo has unveiled an array of new features it says will reposition it from an advertising avoidance technology to one that enhances the TV advertising experience, making it more interactive, more relevantly targeted, and giving it direct response features that will make TV ads more akin to online ads. It will also make it more difficult for TiVo subscribers to avoid an advertiser's message. And that may ultimately be the bad news for viewers, advertisers, and especially for TiVo.
  • Taking A Page From The Book Of Nielsen Revelations
    It's not exactly the second coming, but some new developments indicate NBC may be poised for a resurrection. And one of them may be Jesus Christ. NBC, which has seen its prime-time schedule unravel - and along with it, its advertising market dominance - has recently begun paying for old sins. Mainly greed and gluttony. You could see that in its upfront market performance, which put it in a clean-up position in a progressively downward market. That cut into NBC's market share, as well as its average CPM.
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