TV & Media
Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar

    Today's Items
 
The TV Column

By John Carmody
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 4, 1998

  The TV Column


NBC's Myers Hitches Wagon to a Starr
There has been a change in the chief congressional correspondent assignment at NBC News, as incumbent Lisa Myers takes on the new task of covering the office of independent counsel Kenneth Starr . . .

Replacing her will be Gwen Ifill, who has been a national political correspondent for the past three years . . .

Myers has been on the Hill for five years . . .

CNN Desk Changes
CNN in Washington has named John Towriss to the new title of director of Washington news coverage, overseeing newsgathering, planning and management of the assignment desk . . .

He comes from CNN HQ in Atlanta, where he was executive producer for special events . . .

Craig Broffman, who was senior assignment manager, becomes senior producer for news packaging and will contribute to major Washington news coverage, according to the network . . .

In Other News: Cuomo Goes to Fox
Christopher Cuomo, who has been a substitute host on CNBC’s "Equal Time" and has done political analysis for cable networks including CNN, has joined Fox News Channel as a political contributor . . .

Cuomo is executive vice president of the Cassandra Group, an asset-management firm . . .

And yes, Dad is the former governor of New York . . .

Inter-Network News
ABC Inc. president Bob Iger, refusing to take advantage of a window in his current five-year contract, has decided to remain at the Walt Disney-owned company for another 2 1/2 years . . .

Iger, 46, signed the contract in July 1995 when Disney agreed to buy ABC for $19 billion. Since then his entertainment division has seen its prime-time ratings fall off sharply (ABC’s news division isn’t doing all that well, either), which led to speculation in Manhattan he might take advantage of the window . . .

Which reminds us: With all the network newscasts hammering viewers with their interest in the White House shenanigans as well as the threat of war in Iraq, first-place "NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw" stepped off its biggest margin of victory over second-place "ABC World News Tonight With Peter Jennings" since the week of Dec. 21, 1987, and its best over "CBS Evening News With Dan Rather" since the week of March 10 a year ago . . .

For the week ending Jan. 30, NBC averaged a 9.7/17, compared with an 8.5/16 for ABC and an 8.2/16 for CBS . . .

Despite the hard work of all three, last week’s news ratings were off about 6 percent from the previous week (though NBC’s was +4 percent); compared with a year ago the same week, ABC was down 8 percent, CBS was off 4 percent, though NBC was up 1 percent . . .

Weekend Worriers Numbers
Last Sunday, Monica Lewinsky’s attorney, William Ginsburg, appeared on all five Sunday morning shows, a course record, between 9 and noon . . .

This hat trick plus two produced a 6.5 rating and a 20 percent audience share on Channel 4 for NBC’s "Meet the Press," as well as a 5.6/17 for ABC’s "This Week With Sam & Cokie" on Channel 7, a 2.7/9 on CBS’s "Face the Nation" on Channel 9 and a large 2.6/6 for "Fox News Sunday" on Channel 5 . . .

The previous Sunday, in the national ratings, "Meet" had its biggest margin of victory over its ABC rival in at least a decade . . .

Each local ratings point represents 19,273 TV homes . . .

Saturday night’s edition of "ABC News Saturday Night" will feature one of those "Peter Jennings Reporting" specials, this one called "Showdown With Saddam" in which P.J. will report on a "secret CIA campaign" to remove the chap from power . . .

Programming Changes
CBS, ABC and NBC are each introducing three new series after the Winter Olympics on CBS are finally out of the way . . .

"Four Corners," a drama about two proud families in a Southwestern community, premieres on CBS with a two-hour episode on Tuesday, Feb. 24, before a-ridin' into its regular 10 p.m. Tuesday slot the next week . . .

It stars Ann-Margret and Sonia Braga . . .

As previously announced, "The Closer," the network’s big-ticket sitcom starring Tom Selleck as a "legendary advertising executive," bolsters the Monday night lineup starting Feb. 23 by anchoring the 9 p.m. time slot . . .

Familiar CBS face Ed Asner and Penelope Ann Miller also star . . .

In addition, CBS is dragging back "Candid Camera" for the 8:30 Friday night slot starting Feb. 27 . . .

Peter Funt, son of creator Alan Funt, and Suzanne Somers will host . . .

Over at ABC, they’re giving "Soul Man" on Tuesday and "Ellen" on Wednesday a little rest. The network says "Ellen" will be back in six weeks, but "Soul Man" gets only the promise of a spring return . . .

Meanwhile, the NBC castoff "Something So Right" shows up on Tuesday, March 3, at 8:30. Set in New York, the family comedy stars "thrice-married" Mel Harris and twice-married Jere Burns. As a general rule, one should be wary of any network sitcom that uses "thrice" in its handouts . . .

Another sitcom, "These Are the Days," will premiere Tuesday, March 10, at 9:30 . . .

It’s a "reality-based ensemble comedy" from the writers-producers of "Roseanne," about a working-class couple in Queens whose lives are uprooted when down-on-their-luck family members move in for an extended stay . . .

And "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place," which was originally scheduled for Fox, starts Wednesday, March 11, at 9:30 . . .

As you might suspect, it’s about a trio who share life, love, friendship and pizza in Boston . . .

Ryan Reynolds, Richard Ruccolo and Traylor Howard have the title roles. All three are complete strangers to TV series, which should allow them to sneak out of town without the need of disguises when the roof caves in . . .

The following item is a little curled around the edges, but last Thursday’s appearance of the NBC sitcom "Just Shoot Me" as a substitute for the sad sack "Union Square" in the important 8:30 time slot proved to be impressive enough to heighten speculation that the show has a good chance to get a permanent slot on Juggernaut Night next fall, after "Seinfeld" is well gone . . .

NBC Entertainment has already rewarded the sitcom, set in a New York magazine, with a run on Thursdays starting Feb. 26 . . .

"Union’s" unforgiveable sin was losing too much of the "Friends" audience from 8 p.m. to help "Seinfeld" at 9 . . .

"JSM" turned that around big time, holding 98 percent of the "Friends" audience (an all-time holding action in that time period for NBC) while totaling up the highest ratings ever for the network in that time slot. It’s even in consideration for "Seinfeld’s" slot next fall . . .

It didn’t have quite that effect on local audiences, losing 9 percent of the "Friends" audience on WRC, though "Seinfeld" went through the roof (23.6/34) here in the next half-hour . . .

In addition, NBC will premiere two other new sitcoms next month . . .

On March 17, the Tuesday lineup gets some changes as "For Your Love," billed as a romantic comedy, debuts at 8:30 and "Lateline," a spoof of news programs starring Al Franken, steps in at 9:30 . . .

NBC will also introduce "House Rules" on Monday, March 9, in the 8:30 time slot where "Fired Up," which is already taking a nap, hasn’t done well and "Jenny" has already been canceled‚. . .

And "NewsRadio" goes back to Wednesdays at 8, replacing reruns of "3rd Rock From the Sun" . . .

   
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

Back to the top
Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar