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Archives: May 2010

Shanks Joins Fox Sports As President


Eric Shanks Eric Shanks, who brought a drama about football to DirecTV and oversaw the real thing, is joining Fox Sports as president.

The 38-year-old takes over for Ed Goren at the division that carries NASCAR, the NFL and Major League Baseball.

He had been executive vice president of entertainment at DirecTV since 2006, where he helped engineer a deal to bring original episodes of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights” to the satellite operator. Shanks also worked to bolster what was arguably DirecTV’s most critical brand differentiator: “NFL Sunday Ticket.” More…

Redstone: Viacom, CBS Will Never Be Sold

The Hollywood Reporter

Sumner Redstone CBS Corp. and Viacom chairman and controlling shareholder Sumner Redstone reiterated Wednesday that he will never sell Viacom or CBS. Wall Street observers have at times suggested a sale to another entertainment or distribution giant.

“I will never, never sell Viacom or CBS,” Redstone said at the CBS Corp. annual shareholder meeting in New York on Wednesday.

At the event, president and CEO Leslie Moonves was also asked about a possible link-up between CNN and CBS. Although the two companies maintain a good relationship, no larger deal is happening “right now,” he replied. More…

Broadcast Legend Art Linkletter Dies

Associated Press

Art Linkletter Art Linkletter, who encouraged both kids and grownups to say the “darndest things” during his decades as a genial but gently mischievious television personality, has died at age 97.

The host of “People Are Funny” and “House Party” of the 1950s and ’60s died Wednesday at his home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles.

“He lived a long, full, pure life, and the Lord had need for him,” said his son-in-law, Art Hershey, the husband of Sharon Linkletter Hershey said.

Linkletter had been ill “in the last few weeks time, but bear in mind he was 97 years old. He wasn’t eating well, and the aging process took him,” Hershey said. More…

Disney Insider Scandal Fuels Chatter About ABC Sale

The Wall Street Journal

ABC Mickey Mouse Story The insider trading scandal that erupted at The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday led to more speculation that the media giant is considering a sale of its ABC broadcast network, although the company denied that negotiations are taking place.

Shares of Disney rose 2.3% to $33.07 Wednesday after reports that Bonnie Hoxie, administrative assistant to Zenia Mucha, the company’s head of communications, was arrested in Los Angeles along with her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag.

The two were charged with trying to sell insider information, including word that Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger was in “serious and advanced negotiations with two private equity firms” to sell ABC, but no price had been determined, according to the criminal complaint. More…

Tampa’s WTSP Set to Launch 5:30 p.m. Newscast

St. Petersburg Times

WTSP logo Local CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 will match its local competitors’ newscast schedules this summer, launching a new 5:30 p.m. newscast to bump Inside Edition, stating June 7.

The show, led by top evening anchors Reginald Roundtree and Heather Van Nest, will also feature chief meteorologist Tammie Souza. Inside Edition will move to 4:30 p.m. behind Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

The move is the last step in a long road back from the days when WTSP aired the syndicated show Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. to impressive ratings. More…

Gray Cuts Boxes, Grows HD, 16×9 News


Jim Ocon Since joining Gray Television as its chief tech a couple of years ago, Jim Ocon has been on a mission to streamline operations at the 36-station group. Mostly, this involves reducing the number of hardware and software products and the attendant support and maintenance costs.

“If you were to compare Gray to candy, Gray would be a bag of Skittles,” he says in this interview with TVNewsCheck. “We have every color and every flavor. We’re trying to get down to at least three flavors instead of 16.”

Ocon, who previously worked at Pappas Telecasting and is based at WOWT, Gray’s NBC affiliate in Omaha, Neb., also discusses the group’s plans for rolling out HD or widescreen news at more stations, the limits of centralized monitoring and control and the troubles with VHF in a digital world. More…

Fox News Refutes Applause Conspiracy


Fox News, Obama It all started with Michael Moore (as it often does).

The filmmaker tweeted about Fox News ‘altering’ a video to make it look like nobody was applauding for Pres. Barack Obama. But its not true.

Fox News posted a clip from Pres. Obama’s speech at West Point, and when comparing it to the White House video, the audience applause appears to be missing. Some sites like The Huffington Post joined Moore in jumping to the audio conclusion, but it sounded fishy–conspiracy theories aside, why would Fox News intentionally take out applause?

Fox News explained to Mediaite what happened More…

In Denver, KDVR Enters 10pm News Battle

Denver Post

KDVR How much news can one market absorb? Denver TV viewers will get another bedtime news choice next month.

KDVR-Channel 31 will join the already competitive 10 p.m. news battle on June 28 with the launch of “Nightside,” a half-hour which, like the 9 p.m. newscast, will be co-anchored by Ron Zappolo and Libby Weaver.

The program is intended to focus on exclusive enterprise stories. Expect a different format than “Fox 31 News at Nine O’Clock.”

“We see an opening at 10 o’clock,” KDVR/KWGN VP of Content Carolyn Kane said Wednesday. More…

Fox Business Replaces ‘Happy Hour’ with Willis Show

Los Angeles Times

Gerri Willis Fox Business Network confirmed Wednesday that the network is cancelling its afternoon show “Happy Hour” and replacing it with “The Willis Report,” a consumer-oriented program hosted by former CNN personal finance editor Gerri Willis.

Willis’ show, which will premiere June 7 at 5 p.m. ET, will mark a change in tone from “Happy Hour,” which was produced live out of the bar of the Bull & Bear restaurant of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

“Gerri brings a fresh, no-nonsense approach to complicated financial issues and her new program will be a clear reflection of that,” Roger Ailes, chairman of Fox News and Fox Business, said in a statement. More…

In New Era of TV, Rival Hosts Drown Out King

The New York Times

Larry King The biggest interview on television last week, with the Senate candidate Rand Paul, happened at 9 p.m. But regrettably for CNN’s Larry King, who used to rule that time slot by wooing newsmakers, the interview was booked by his higher-rated competitor, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Next week will be Mr. King’s 25th year on CNN, but these are hard days for the host, and not just because he is being beaten in ratings and bookings.

Although still the linchpin of CNN’s lineup, he has come to embody an enormous problem facing the cable news channel. How can he and CNN compete in prime time when viewers seem to crave partisan political programs and when prominent guests–the lifeblood of Mr. King’s show–would rather burnish their images on other channels? More…