Monday, June 29, 2009

Has NBC Had Enough Change? At SVU, Yes!

Hargitay, Meloni returning to 'SVU'

Stars ink new deals for procedural's 11th season

By Nellie Andreeva

June 29, 2009, 05:38 PM ET


After on-again, off-again negotiations, Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni have inked new deals to continue on the crime procedural, which is coming back in the fall for its 11th season.

Additionally, Christine Lahti has signed on to play the assistant district attorney on the veteran series for the first four episodes. Stephanie March will return after that to reprise her role as ADA Alexandra Cabot.

Sources said Hargitay and Meloni, who regularly negotiate their contracts together, have inked one-year deals with an option for a second year.

Despite the conglomerates and particularly NBC Universal being in cost-cutting mode, Hargitay and Meloni are said to have boosted their most recent salaries of about $385,000 an episode. In a rare feat for show talent, they have been able to negotiate a piece of "SVU's" lucrative back end, sources said.

Taking all into account, Hargitay's and Meloni's paychecks are expected to grow to more than $400,000 an episode, solidifying Hargitay's position as the highest-paid woman in television and Meloni as one of the top male earners.

All parties involved declined Monday to comment on the terms of the agreement.

Hargitay and Meloni's deals come more than a month after NBC closed a deal with Wolf Films for "SVU's" renewal. At the time, NBC brass said the show would return with or without its stars as the networks and reps for the actors had reached an impasse.

The two sides resumed talks at the beginning of June and, after a series of sessions, the deals were finalized last week.

Crime procedurals are more resilient than character dramas in replacing leads, but losing both Hargitay and Meloni, considered the heart of the show, was a potential big blow to "SVU."

Hargitay is repped by Paradigm. Meloni is repped by Gersh.

The Last Jackson Themed Hour

Dateline: the final hour of prime tonight, Monday the 29th.

This will add a certain bitter after-taste to all of the sweet memories offered since Thursday, as it's the infamous interview by Martin Bashir from 2003.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yep, Tonight has Changed

Now, Farrah moves to first two hours, an hour obit Dateline for Jacko in the last hour, and Chopping Block has been extended to July 24th.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

About Friday Night's Prime...

Based on APT at this moment, NBC is still planning to run Farrah's Story in the last two hours of prime Friday night, the 26th of June. Ratings for this special are pure from the first run of Farrah's Story just a month ago.

Sunbelt and MediaGeneral stations have this special in Inventory, plus the Premieres and other summer changes in Specials with customized audience estimates. Use the SpecialES Selling Book if it runs only once and isn't sports.

Michael Jackson Obit Hour Tonight at 9p/8p

Oh my.

Farrah Fawcett Specials Tonight & Friday

The Listener has been yanked off tonight's schedule. An hour-long Dateline will replace.

Tomorrow night's last two hours of prime will be the rebroadcast of "Farrah's Story" replacing the normal 2 hour Dateline.

NBC Summer Changes Plus Fall Premiere Dates

And it's not even Friday afternoon!

I'll begin working on my clients now. I'll indicate here when the job has been completed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

US Open Challenge Rescheduled for July 4th

It moves between 5 hours of Wimbledon airing in the morning and early afternoon and AMA Motocross after. This 90 minute special was originally scheduled for yesterday, but was preempted due to rain delays.

All stations will have their inventory and estimate updated by first thing Tuesday morning.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Back in the office a day early.....

I flew down to Birmingham on Thursday and had great, but really brief, meetings will all the sales reps who handle my clients. I also was able to listen to a fascinating presentation by ODI's contact @ Nielsen Media.

Seems Nielsen is moving into the 21st Century this winter, no longer recording electronic versions of your data on individual DVDs and then FedExing them to Birmingham but instead will provide ODI (and the companies who do similar things with their data) with an online download as soon as the data is available. Why do you care? Most of my clients will get data at least one day sooner. And for several stations that currently have to wait until Saturday for data will now get information on Friday. (For many years, seven of my Sunbelt clients got their November Sweeps data on Christmas Eve. Guess what I would do all Christmas Day?)

Also, next year there will be Program Titles available for use in CABLE, so if your client thinks they are buying a specific program but they are actually getting a tight time period daypart rotation, you'll be able to show the ratings for both the actual show and the broader daypart. Great competitive stuff.

Nielsen is also going to be making changes to reporting thresholds, much like their "fatal flaw" in the old STAR software. You might pull a report and instead of getting numbers, you'll get a text comment about not enough intab for that demo and daypart. Smaller markets are going to be pounded by this, so it's going to mean more work for me, or people at stations who do what I do.

I had to return a day early... Karen came down with something on Thursday and I came back to care for her. As I told the guys in Birmingham, I only have two interests: taking care of Karen, and taking care of you, my clients.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jackson Has Estimates....

All of my current NBC stations now have May 09 data installed, Program Average titles assigned for when you have to make a "pure book", and I've totally hand-built 4 new selling books for each.

Master Planners covering all non-sports programming airing between now and the end of March 2010 have been sent out. Go to Open Avails, check the box View Public Area and look for the planner there. I've also activated MAYES estimates for schedules airing in 2010; I keep those hidden until there's far less chance of confusion about which May you're looking for.

In general, NBC seems to have lost large chunks of younger demos in this May book. I'm going to go back to each station and review estimates to see if blending the March 2009 PAVs can help mitigate some of the pain caused by May results.

Jackson Arrives!

And I'm already in the thick of it.

Folks in MS should have a Master Planner in the next 3 hours.

Monday, June 15, 2009

KTVH, KPVI and KCWY Ready!

With a busy summer and fall schedule, NBC stations take about twice the amount of man-hours to custom install this May book compared to my Fox clients this sweep.

So I'm delighted to finish all three Sunbelt NBC stations this evening. Inventories have been published. Each station's GM/GSM has a Master Planner containing all non-sports inventory and estimates through March 2010.

These first planners, aside from Prime, are almost all pure May 2009 pure PAVs projected to future viewing levels. As you'll see, some dayparts beg for multiple-book averaging which I'll address with each of you. Prime and Specials are almost always a blend of PAVs , but have been updated to use May 09 data whenever possible.

I'll try to polish off KFXP now... but that's not NBC!

The Sunbelt LAN is back up...

So, I'll begin again on the work that should have been done by now.

On the other hand, I'm reminded how fortunate I am and have been since 2007.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunbelt Stations..

My Sunbelt clients may have to wait a while for their data and estimates; although I easily access their primary server through ODI's normal methods, the internal LAN Sunbelt IT maintains (and ODI servers use) has been down since last evening, from the many times I've checked since. Since I can't access the servers in Montana, Idaho or Wyoming where the data is kept, I'm pretty well SOL.

I've sent emails to my clients at each station, but as you might imagine, their email is on the same Sunbelt intraLAN, so this blog may be the only way they'll find out about it before Monday morning.

My Sunbelt clients have been using my program average-based estimates for nearly a decade. They've also had to deal with frequent IT outages. Heck, that's why I learned to build my own computers in 2001. Today, all 5 of the computers (except my laptop) I use in my business were custom built by me, and I'm a Microsoft Registered Partner. While waiting for the Sunbelt LAN to live again, and having to check frequently, I'll be installing Windows 7 on yet another PC I built from parts I purchased online.

Yet another weekend spent waiting for the IT crew... ahh, it brings back memories. Bad memories.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pocatello, Casper and Helena Data Arrives....

Something was going on with Sunbelt's primary server earlier today... I just now got the email sent by the server itself indicating data arrived and was ready for installation. Hmm...

Four of my client stations are in these markets, so I'll be busy all weekend, and I'll post when all are completed by Sunday night.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Everyone is updated...

with the exception of Fresno whose server has been unavailable this week.
I'm contacting ODI Support to see what's going on.

There are still 3 hours left till 5pm in Manhattan, so there still may be changes made.

NBC Changes Next Two Monday Nights...

Yep, it's Friday afternoon @ 30 Rock.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent, scheduled for the 2nd hour of prime on Monday, June 15th and 22nd, is replaced with a second hour of GetMeOutOfHere, extended from just one hour.

I'll pause the May 09 book install in TN to update all my NBC clients right now. Restart MediaOffice to see the updated inventory... I'll post here when all clients have been updated.

"We realize this is a genre change and very late." LOL

Chattanooga and Fresno Data Arrives..

Both stations will get their May 09 books installed today!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

NHL: Game 7 Airs for sure Friday Night

Stanley Cup action ends this Friday night, preventing the encore version of The Listener from airing during the first hour of prime.

Wednesday, look for Olympic scheduling, as APT hints of details pending.

Fort Wayne May Data arrives!

I'm on the MediaOffice server now, assigning May 09 PAV titles to inventory lines, plus creating 4 new quarterly selling books based on May shares.

Based on information I've gotten from New York, most NBC stations will not be happy with May 09 Prime shares. For my clients, that's not a problem, as I can buffer the impact of a "less than optimal sweep" by averaging in other appropriate and ethical program averages from recent books.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bye Bye, Howie..... Hello, Encore Listener

If the Penguins win tomorrow night's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup, there will be a Game 7 on Friday night.. but if there is no game on Friday night, previously scheduled for the first hour, Howie has been replaced by an encore episode of The Listener. Of course, both options will be listed in your MediaOffice inventory until Wednesday morning.. or Tuesday night depending on how late I stay up. :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ok... it's Friday Afternoon @ 5pm in NYC....

It's a summer weekend.. Manhattan must be emptying out right about now.

This means NBC must have JUST sent out an email changing next week's prime, right?

Yep.. now there's a two hour GetMeOut on Wednesday, nuking yet another Wolfe rerun.

Didn't they think of this ahead of time? Hey.. I shouldn't complain. This kind of scheduling keeps me in business.

Have a free Donut...

KrispyKreme is giving away a free donut today.
Dunkin' Donuts is, as well, but you have to buy a cup of coffee to get it.

LaMars? LOL.

Stanley Cup Game 6 This Coming Tuesday

If you were wondering where NBC was going to get the extra hour of GetMeOutOfHere running on Monday night, next Tuesday evening edition has been preempted by Game 6 of NHL. Encore L&O:SVUs get bumped on the 9th as well.

The Stanley Cup game is already in your NHL/Winter folder... I'll be putting next Tuesday Prime on hiatus just for safety reasons... you don't want to be selling Wolfe reruns for that night, do you?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Prime Changes for next Mon, Sat and Sunday

Oh man... would you believe they've changed Saturday night rerun lineups for the summer again?
Yep.. more sliding of Dick Wolfe tiles starting the 13th.

Plus, they've shortened the 2 two hour 10.5 Apocalypse into 1 THREE hour movie to air on Sunday, June 14th if they don't have Game 7 of the Stanley Cup. NBC didn't have much of a choice with 10.5, as an early start to Stanley Cup made previous plans a bit ungainly.

Next Monday's GetMeOutOfHere has been extended to two hours, nuking L&O:CI.

And, presumably, on the 12th, there will be a two hour Dateline after Howie's last airing. But heck... who knows? At least if there's a change, you'll read about it here within minutes.

Yep, This Friday Has Changed.....

Isn't it nice NBC has given you a full 52 hour notice about Brian Williams' White House special being repeated in a two hour block this Friday?

Howie Doesn't air this Friday.. so the last gasp for the OCD comic will be June 12th.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

More Changes to Summer Wednesdays

Law & Order episodes scheduled for the first hour of Wednesdays in July have been replaced by more America's Got Talent.

Leno's Hour Begins September 14th

This probably means premiere week will also be that week.

Monday, June 1, 2009

August Wednesday Prime Changes Again

First hour of prime from August 5th through September 9th is now either TV's Catch Phrases or Most Outrageous Moments. Today's announcement replaces information sent out by NBC on Friday... since I worked all weekend, I previously typed "yesterday".

All my clients have been updated. Inventory and estimates for the SNL Specials replaced have been removed, as well.

Summer Prime Update Complete...

All of my clients had newly updated inventory and selling book estimates for Prime when they came into work this morning... I had a busy weekend.

Here's an article from the New York Times about NBC's Leno move:

June 1, 2009

A Revolution in Prime Time, but Will It Work?

LOS ANGELES — On Monday night, when Conan O’Brien officially takes over “The Tonight Show” from Jay Leno, it will mark an unusually peaceful transition of power in Hollywood.

Then comes the revolution.

NBC’s decision to move Mr. Leno to his own talk show at 10 p.m. in September is not only the signature television event of this season, it may be among the most pivotal changes since the network evening newscasts were expanded to 30 minutes, from 15, in 1963.

If successful, “The Jay Leno Show” at 10 p.m. could reshape prime time by leading other networks to move to less expensive shows, pushing more programming to cable and rewriting the financial underpinnings of entertainment production.

If it fails — as skeptics, including many rival network executives, predict — then NBC will be left scrambling to find fill five prime-time hours a week.

Prime time has “looked pretty much the same” for decades, said Robert Thompson, a professor of television at Syracuse University. Pitting a low-cost talk format like Mr. Leno’s show against the typically expensive dramas at 10 p.m., he said, “is the biggest sign yet that we’re really, finally entering a whole new ballgame.”

Those with stakes in Mr. Leno’s success or failure go well beyond NBC executives and Mr. Leno himself. They include the Hollywood production studios; the writers, directors and actors who keep the entertainment engine humming; the image makers who place stars on talk shows; the owners of local stations across the country who depend on inheriting audiences from 10 p.m. shows; and even perhaps the anchors of the ABC news program “Nightline.”

Already, NBC’s competitors have built their new season schedules with Mr. Leno in mind. Leslie Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, called the 10 p.m. talk show “a real sea change” for the industry when he unveiled his network’s schedule in New York last month. Seeing an opening to gain audiences at 10 p.m., CBS said it would move its hit “The Mentalist” to Thursdays at 10 p.m. to compete with Mr. Leno.

NBC’s move has also caused planning battles inside ABC, whose 10 p.m. hours have been a string of disappointments in recent years. Although ABC will again fill 10 p.m. with new dramas this fall including “Eastwick” and “The Forgotten,” one ABC employee acknowledged that “Nightline,” the late-night ABC News show, has been talked about as a future 10 p.m. possibility.

Such a move could save money across several days a week and also free ABC to move its own late-night star, Jimmy Kimmel, up to 11:35 to challenge Conan O’Brien on “The Tonight Show” head to head.

At the same time, many TV executives doubt that “The Jay Leno Show” will work. A chorus of entertainment industry executives interviewed in the last two weeks was all but unanimous in predicting NBC’s experiment is wrong-headed and doomed to failure.

“One thing you never do in television is cede territory,” said a senior executive with long experience developing programs for both production companies and networks.

The executive, who asked not to be identified because of continuing business with NBC, said the scripted shows arrayed against Mr. Leno — including “CSI: Miami” on CBS and repeats of “The Closer” on TNT — would all benefit greatly from the move. “If I’m a producer of a scripted show, I would rather be up against Leno than any other form of competition — now and always. It’s like getting a bye in a tennis tournament,” he said.

But that is rooting interest talking. For its part, NBC has marshaled research that shows viewers expressing high interest in seeing Mr. Leno earlier in the evening. Because Mr. Leno’s show will cost less than an equivalent hourlong drama — one-fifth as much, according to the host — it can afford to receive lower ratings, too.

At a 1.8 rating among the young adult viewers that NBC seeks — a prescription for cancellation for a network drama — Mr. Leno “would be a home run,” said Jeff Zucker, the NBC Universal chief executive who engineered the Leno move.

Mr. Leno had been averaging about a 1.3 rating at the 11:30 time slot, when there are fewer viewers to compete for. Scripted dramas that are successful at 10 p.m. tend to average a 2.5 rating or better for first-run episodes, or they do not stay on the air for long.

Both Mr. Zucker and Mr. Leno said in interviews that success will have to be graded over 52 weeks because Mr. Leno will have many more nights of original shows than his competitors.

Mr. Zucker pointed to evidence showing that the most-watched show at 10 p.m. is TiVo, reflecting the number of people who play back shows using digital video recorders. With so many people in playback mode at 10 p.m., NBC suggests topical comedy, delivered fresh every night, would be an attractive alternative.

Beyond the cross-predictions lies a basic truth: the move has grabbed the full attention of the television industry.

“Anytime you lose potential real estate, it isn’t good,” said David Nevins, the president of Imagine Television, one of the business’s most highly regarded production companies, with shows like “24” and “Friday Night Lights.” Like other companies that supply shows to all the networks, Imagine has to be concerned about any shrinking of the network landscape, though Mr. Nevins added, “if by doing this it strengthens their network, then it makes sense for NBC.”

Like NBC, CBS has commissioned research about the move, but it found the results unreliable because, CBS executives said, people cannot be expected to predict accurately how they will react to a still-theoretical program.

Executives in Hollywood are reacting nonetheless. Foremost in the minds of many are concerns about the cultural impact of the reduction in network time available for scripted shows. NBC’s 10 p.m. hour, after all, gave life to “Hill Street Blues,” “St. Elsewhere” and “ER.”

Depending on Mr. Leno’s performance, other prime-time shuffles may follow. Mr. Thompson at Syracuse said it was likely that if Mr. Leno was “even the least bit successful,” the other networks would consider replacing scripted shows with some form of less expensive programming in the hour.

Cable channels, too, are feeling the ripple effects of Mr. Leno’s move. Executives at Turner Broadcasting, the owner of TNT and TBS, are hoping that Mr. Leno’s arrival in prime time will accelerate the long, steady shift of viewers to cable from broadcast channels and enhance cable’s image as a home for high-quality programs.

The company is predicting that up to 10 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds will migrate to cable this year. Michael Wright, a programmer for Turner, said TNT and TBS “hope to be a safe harbor” for writers and actors.

Already, viewers have heard one small indication of how Mr. Leno thinks things might go. As he joked recently, “The new movie ‘Star Trek’ takes place so far in the future, Conan O’Brien is doing a 10 o’clock show.”