Daily Marauder



The NBC drama “ER” will air its series finale Thursday after 15 seasons, leaving behind a splintered prime-time landscape as the networks struggle to compete in a digital world. Executive producer Neal Baer admits: “I doubt we will ever see the likes of a show like ‘ER’ again.” (Iwantmedia 3/30, http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-er28-2009mar28,0,1083134.story 3/28)


Time Warner’s CNN is set to finish March third in prime-time ratings behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the first time this has ever happened for the channel that pioneered the cable news genre. CNN is suffering more audience erosion than its rivals. (Iwantmedia 3/30, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090328/ap_on_en_tv/tv_cnn_in_third 3/27)

NBC sliced the cooking competition series Chopping Block from its primetime schedule after airing episodes for only three weeks. NBC told affiliates last Thursday night the series will be off Wednesday nights as of next week, replaced with reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent previously seen on NBC. Chopping Block, featuring Chef Marco Pierre premiered March 12 and NBC will likely air the remaining episodes at a later date. (Cynopsis 3/30)

MTV is adding more music videos to its schedule — at 3 a.m. The Viacom network is launching “AMTV,” a six-hour block for music videos and related programming, harking back to MTV’s origins as a 24-hour home for music videos. The new schedule gives MTV a “palette to experiment.” (Iwantmedia 3/30, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/30/business/media/30mtv.html 3/29)

Tiffany “New York” Pollard returns to reality TV in a new series for VH1 titled New York Goes to Work opening May 4 at 10p. Viewers will vote via their mobile phones each week on three possible job opportunities for Tiffany. If she does well and impresses her employers, she gets a $5,000 weekly bonus, but if she quits, gets fired or messes up, she gets nothing. Episodes will be available at VH1.com the day after each air on the network. (Cynopsis 3/30)

CBS dropped the most in four months in New York trading Monday after UBS analyst Michael Morris recommended selling the shares because the advertising slump may be deeper and longer than expected. Industry-wide ad sales in 2010 will be “very similar” to this year. (Iwantmedia 3/30, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=awY0atdMmecA 3/30)

As expected, Charter Communications has filed for bankruptcy as a way of restructuring its debt. As a result of the move, the country’s fourth-largest cable company will gain about $3 billion through refinancing and new equity investment and pare back its debt load by about $8 billion. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (3/28) , Light Reading (3/27)

Comcast is reconfiguring its video-on-demand architecture and, according to this article, is developing two centralized libraries for its VOD assets, one in West Chester, Pa., and the other in Denver. The initiative apparently will enable the cable firm to offer more than 100,000 VOD titles and a platform for serving personalized ads on a national basis. Comcast officials declined to comment. Multichannel News (3/30)

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March 26, 2009, 7:48 PM
Filed under: BROADCAST/CABLE | Tags: , , , , , , ,


President Obama’s second primetime press conference Tuesday night culminated a week-long whirlwind of media appearances. The one-hour event at 8p aired live on 11 networks including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, MSNBC and mun2  with a combined audience of 40.4 million viewers and a combined HH rating of 25.9. (Cynopsis 3/26)


Nearly a third of young Americans believe Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert are taking the place of traditional news sources like CNN, according to a new Rasmussen poll. The “CBS Evening News” is being “replaced” by “The Colbert Report” and “The Daily Show.” (Iwantmedia 3/26, http://www.popeater.com/television/article/stewart-colbert-replacing-old-news-guys/397294 3/25)


Discovery CEO David Zaslav is seen as cable television’s “fastest rising star,” with a media empire across 173 countries. Zaslav’s boldest move may be the new Oprah Winfrey Network, a channel he will launch by early next year. Oprah is expected to be Discovery’s “biggest brand.” (Iwantmedia 3/26, http://www.forbes.com/2009/03/23/david-zaslav-discovery-communications-business-media-zaslav.html 3/24)


Fox Broadcasting’s move to offer the new drama “Fringe” with limited commercial interruption is finding success, with audiences showing better-than-average ad recall, according to Magna Global. Viewer ad recall is “enhanced” by fewer, shorter breaks. (Iwantmedia 3/26, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Fringe-limited-ad-experiment-shows/story.aspx?guid=%7B7560BA2F%2DE1E8%2D40F6%2D9E2D%2DAA9A2553410A%7D 3/25)


Tuesday night’s season finale of Bad Girls Club on Oxygen was the top telecast for the day with W18-34 among all cable networks and became the series’ most watched telecast among total viewers. Bad Girls Club’s final episode also generated a lot of online activity as it was one of the top ten topics on Twitter. (Cynopsis 3/26)Bad Girls Club


Cable and telephone providers are thinking local, with programming under way or in the works that spotlights community news, traffic updates and weather reports. “Hyperlocal content is a big draw because people really care about what happens right around them,” said Neal Polachek, chief executive of research firm Kelsey Group. The Wall Street Journal (3/25)


Turner Networks’ research indicates that the top 35 ad-supported cable networks gained 7% in total viewers in prime time during the first quarter. According to Turner, which based its findings on Nielsen data, cable networks such as Fox News, MSNBC, ESPN, Cartoon Network and Food Network showed some of the biggest gains. Variety (3/25)

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is hiring Time Warner exec Kelli Turner as CFO. She succeeds Howard Hochhauser, who left at year’s end for the parent firm of Ancestry.com. At Time Warner, Turner held the position of senior VP of operations in the office of the chairman and CEO. (Iwantmedia 3/26, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Martha-Stewart-Living-names-apf-14752821.html 3/26)

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SCI FI Channel‘s season five debut of Ghost Hunters at 9p explored Betsy Ross’ House in Philadelphia, unleashing 1.6 million A18-49 viewers, 1.7 million A25-54 viewers and 2.7 million total viewers as well as a 1.9 HH rating. (Cynopsis 3/13)


All is not sweet for David Alan Grier as his Comedy Central series Chocolate News was not picked up for renewal by the network, reports The New York Times. The show, which ran for ten episodes, was not so much a news parody but more of a sketch comedy series where Grier portrayed fictitious characters to the poet Maya Angelou. Fans of Grier, though, can catch the comedian on this season’s Dancing with the Stars on ABC. (Cynopsis 3/13)


MTV introduces viewers to young, inspiring performers in a new reality musical series Taking The Stage, opening next Thursday at 10p. The series, over ten one-hour episodes, will follow five students who attend the School For Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA) in Cincinnati. (Cynopsis 3/13)

CNN’s Anderson Cooper will file recession-related reports from five U.S. cities in an upcoming special package dubbed “Road to the Rescue: A CNN Survival Guide.” Separately, Tom Brokaw will file similar dispatches for NBC Universal properties USA, MSNBC and NBC. Variety (3/12)

At 8 p.m. Thursday, Time Warner Cable‘s spinoff from Time Warner became official. The transaction, first announced last May, received regulatory approval last month. The cable company’s stock closed 61 cents higher Thursday at $8.33. Multichannel News (3/12)

Despite the ailing economy, cable TV remains a necessity for most people, which, according to Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke, cannot be said for some of the industry’s rivals. “As the economy has gotten worse and worse, very few people are disconnecting their cable television service,” he said. “Far more people are cutting the cord on their phone service. The telephone companies are losing about 10% of their phone customers every year, and about half of those go to the cable companies … .” TechFlash (3/12)

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President Obama’s first address to a Joint Session of Congress this past Tuesday in primetime reached nearly 52.4 million total viewers. The speech was carried live on 10 television networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. (Cynopsis 2/27)


Bravo’s season five finale of Top Chef: New York Wednesday night at 10p cooked up 2.77 million A18-49 viewers and 3.74 million total viewers. According to Nielsen, this season ranks as the highest rated ever as Top Chef: New York averaged 2.14 million A18-49 viewers and 3.02 million total viewers, up 18% and 19% respectively versus Season #4. (Cynopsis 2/27)


The Golf Channel on Wednesday attracted 1.7 million viewers to its first-round coverage of the Accenture Match Play Championship, the largest audience ever to have tuned in to a first round of golf televised by the network. Not coincidentally, it was also the return to action of Tiger Woods. The New York Times (2/26)


FOX ordered two more seasons of The Simpsons ensuring the longest-running primetime series in history goes through its 22nd season. The network approved 44 additional episodes, taking the total library episode count just under 500 at 493. Currently the show is in its 20th season and a global year-long celebration called “Best. 20 Years. Ever” is underway through January 14, 2010, the actual 20th anniversary of the show’s premiere. (Cynopsis 2/27)


CBS confirmed it will continue reality competition series Survivor through the 2009-2010 season, serving up the 19th and 20th editions. Jeff Probst will also remain as host. (Cynopsis 2/27)

General Electric is slashing its quarterly dividend by nearly 68%, a move expected to save about $9 billion a year. The parent of NBC Universal has been paying a regular dividend for more than 100 years. Shares of GE have fallen nearly 70% since mid-September. (Iwantmedia 2/27, http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/GE-slashes-quarterly-dividend-save/story.aspx?guid=%7B618EAEEE%2DE61D%2D4522%2DA8B3%2D21D8DE89E8FE%7D 2/27)

Discovery Channel on Wednesday will debut “Hudson Plane Crash: What Really Happened,” the story of the US Airways flight that crash-landed in the Hudson River in January without the loss of life. The one-hour documentary will feature interviews with passengers, rescuers and aviation experts as well as a new computer animation that will break down the miraculous landing. Broadcasting & Cable (2/26)


Comedian/producer Jerry Seinfeld reunites with NBC for a new primetime comedy-reality series created by Seinfeld’s Columbus 81 Productions and executive producer Ellen Rakieten (The Oprah Winfrey Show) called The Marriage Ref (wt). The series will feature celebrities, comedians and sports stars all judging and offering advice to real-life couples dealing with typical marital problems. In describing the show concept Seinfeld said, “This is not a therapy show, it’s a comedy show.  After nine years of marriage I have discovered that the comedic potential of this subject is quite rich.” NBC so far has not indicated when the show will premiere or be scheduled. (Cynopsis 2/27)

Time Warner says it will complete the spinoff of cable unit Time Warner Cable on March 27. The spinoff is intended to transform the conglomerate into a company more focused on movies, TV programming and magazines and to make both companies more competitive. (Iwantmedia 2/27, http://www.smartmoney.com/news/ON/?story=ON-20090226-001239-1731 2/27)

The cable division within highly diversified Cablevision Systems Corp. reported that revenue grew 7.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008. The cable provider added a total of 101,000 revenue-generating units during the period, including 53,000 VoIP subscribers. Chief Operating Officer Tom Rutledge announced that the company had a wideband service for residential and business customers in the works, but he did not give a specific release date. OneTRAK (2/26) , The Wall Street Journal (2/27) , Light Reading (2/26)

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February 25, 2009, 6:52 PM
Filed under: BROADCAST/CABLE | Tags: , , , , , , ,


Comcast will serve up on its video-on-demand platform in March an exclusive music video package featuring the rock band U2 and its new album, “No Line on the Horizon.” The company, which has more than 1,000 HD offerings via VOD, already has premiered one song off the new album. The Boston Globe (2/24) , NewsOXY.com (2/24)


The CW has announced a handful of renewals for Fall 2009 – five dramas and one reality show. Among the early pickups for next season are Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill; frosh series 90210; a ninth season of Smallville; a fifth season of Supernatural; in addition to cycles 13 and 14 of America’s Next Top Model. (Cynopsis 2/25)

Spotted: Ed Westwick and Chace Crawford last night in the meatpacking district looking as good as I thought they would.


Fox News and MSNBC are seeing big audience gains, while CNN is shedding a large share of its audience. CNN shows hosted by Anderson Cooper and Lou Dobbs are losing viewers; MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is bringing in 134% more viewers than the time period had last year. (Iwantmedia 2/25, http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/showtracker/2009/02/fox-news-and-ms.html 2/24)

“Army Wives,” Lifetime’s most successful series, has been picked up for a fourth season on the female-friendly network even before the third season has premiered. Lifetime ordered 18 new episodes for Season 4, which will debut sometime in 2010. Broadcasting & Cable (2/24)


Summer reality competition series So You Think You Can Dance is scheduled to open its fifth season on FOX with a two-night, four-hour premiere May 21 and May 27 at 8p. (Cynopsis 2/25)

Turner Networks, the big cable programmer that last year made headlines when it scheduled its upfront presentation for ad executives in the midst of the broadcast sessions, and drew comparisons between its lineup and that of NBC, is at it again: The company, with powerhouse networks TNT and TBS, will stage this year’s upfront event on May 20, the same day as CBS. Variety (2/24)

The CW approved a drama pilot order for The Beautiful Life, a drama from executive producer Ashton Kutcher. Featuring an ensemble cast, the drama follows a group of young models living together in New York City. (Cynopsis 2/25)

An updated version of Melrose Place also received a pilot order from The CW. CBS Paramount Network Television will produce the drama about a group of twentysomethings living in the upscale Melrose neighborhood of Los Angeles. (Cynopsis 2/25)


Andy Richter is joining Conan O’Brien as NBC’s The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien begins June 1. Richter will be show’s announcer and also be involved in live and pre-taped comedy sketches. (Cynopsis 2/25)


Nickelodeon has the No. 1 ad-sales organization in television, according to results of the 25th annual “Myers Survey of Advertising Executives on National TV Value and Sales Organization Performance.” The Nickelodeon Kids and Family Group bested more than 35 other national TV sales groups from cable and broadcast to win the competition for the first time. Multichannel News (2/24)

Cable provider RCN added 12,000 customers in the fourth quarter of last year and generated revenue of $188 million, a 12% increase. News of the company’s better-than-expected quarterly results sent its stock 14.7% higher in Tuesday trading. The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (2/24) , CED Magazine (2/2009) , OneTRAK (2/24)

The latest data from Nielsen show that 15 ad-supported cable networks increased their prime-time ratings — nine of them by double digits — from Jan. 26 to Feb. 22. USA Network was the top network with 3.41 million viewers in prime time during that period, a 13% increase, and made a strong showing in all the key demos. Mediaweek (2/24)

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According to Nielsen and based on Live+Same Day data, nearly 37.8 million U.S. viewers tuned in between 10a and 5p to watch inauguration events from a combined total of 17 broadcast and cable networks. This is the most viewers on an inauguration day since Ronald Reagan‘s in 1981 when 41.8 million viewers watched. (Cynopsis 1/22)


From 11a to 2p during the pinnacle of the inauguration coverage Tuesday including the swearing-in ceremony, CNN pulled in the most viewers among the cable news networks with an average of 6.9 million total viewers and 2.8 million A25-54 viewers. FOX News came next with 4.4 million total viewers and 1.3 million A25-54 viewers while MSNBC was third with 2.5 million total viewers and 923,620 A25-54 viewers. (Cynopsis 1/22)

The Sunday night premiere of “The United States of Tara” on Showtime attracted 880,000 viewers. That was better than the debuts of popular Showtime shows such as “Weeds,” “Dexter,” “The Tudors” and “Californication.” The Hollywood Reporter (1/21)

Click on the image below to watch the first episode.  I personally can’t wait for the next one.  Bravo Showtime.


“Trust Me,” a new series on TNT that debuts next week, features a fictional ad agency named Rothman Greene & Mohr. The interesting part is that during the show the made-up ad shop competes with real agency nameplates such as Leo Burnett and DDB for the right to market actual products, such as Unilever’s Dove line, which is a real sponsor of the TNT series. The New York Times (1/21)


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January 16, 2009, 3:33 PM
Filed under: Feature | Tags: , , , , , , ,



In the spirit of giving…oh wait, the holidays are over…in the spirit of the inauguration, Starbucks is giving away a tall cup of coffee (small in normal person speak) when you pledge 5 hours of volunteer time from Jan 21st through Jan 25th.

Here’s a link to the Facebook page.

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