36.3 "MISSING" VIEWERS
A new study indicates that 36.3 million persons watch television in out-of-the-home locations that are not measured by the Nielsen ratings surveys. The Total TV Audience Monitor said Monday that nearly 10 million of these are college students. Others not rated include those watching in restaurants, bars, workplaces, hotels, and second homes. If they were included in the ratings, the study suggested, ABC's Monday Night Football telecast would increase its ratings by 9 percent or 1,400,000 viewers. ABC's NCAA telecasts would see a whopping 16 percent increase among adults 18-34. And ESPN's 18-34 total audience would rise 17 percent. In fact, according to the study, during an average week ESPN is viewed by four million college students, more than watch any other network.
AD SALES FOR KIDS SHOWS SOAR
Ad sales for Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, and other kids cable networks have soared 15-20 percent in the upfront market, Advertising Age reported Monday. The trade publication quoted Viacom President and COO Mel Karmazin as saying that its Nickelodeon channel is "seeing very strong double-digit pricing increases" at the half-way point in its upfront sales effort. Ad Age also reported that according to "media estimates," 50-70 percent of all children's TV advertising inventory has been sold.
SET GIVES RISE TO THE SERIES
Transylvania, the television series that NBC is developing as a spinoff of the upcoming universal movie Van Helsing, may not employ any of the characters from the movie -- but will employ the set, the film's writer-director, Stephen Sommers, has told the online Sci Fi Wire. In fact, Sommers suggested, it was the set itself that gave rise to the series. "One day we were just sitting on the set, which [production designer] Allan Cameron had built this fantastic village for, and I'm like, 'I'd hate to tear this down,'" Sommers said. "I mean, it's so fantastic, and I'd hate to bulldoze it. 'We ought to do something with it. Let's do a television show!' And that's when my wheels started spinning." Although the movie features some of Universal's classic monsters, including Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolf Man, producer Bob Ducsay told Sci Fi Wire: "It takes place in the late 1800s, like Van Helsing, and it takes place in Transylvania. But none of the characters intersect. It's actually a new idea that just takes place in the world [of the movie].
MURDOCH SAYS OIL CRISIS COULD HURT HIS TV BUSINESS
Rupert Murdoch expressed concern Monday that a substantial rise in the price of oil, produced as a result of, say, a revolution in Saudi Arabia, could wreak havoc in many of the world's economies, and might be particularly devastating in China. "I operate a business there," Murdoch told the Milken Institute's annual Global Conference in Beverly Hills, CA. "We see all of this wonderful expansion around us, but the fact is it is still a centrally planned economy and historically, centrally planned economies, particularly of that size, do become unmanageable." In the past, Murdoch has been sharply criticized for his apparent efforts to curry favor with the Chinese communist regime -- particularly for his agreement to drop the BBC World Service from his Star satellite service and for ordering his HarperCollins publishing unit to dump a book critical of China by Christopher Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong.
JERRY SPRINGER -- THE OPERA COMING TO BROADWAY
The award-winning London musical Jerry Springer -- The Opera is finally set to debut in the U.S., opening first in San Francisco next spring, then moving to Broadway on Oct. 20, 2005. The show, which originally attracted attention at the 2002 Edinburgh Festival, has become a hit on London's West End. It has been endorsed by Springer himself, who, in the musical, is shot and killed by a disgruntled guest in the first act, then opens in hell in the second. Springer has been portrayed in the London production by Michael Brandon, who gives a remarkable impersonation of the talk show host. In an interview with the Associated Press on Monday, producer Jon Thoday said, "Jerry Springer is a musical that appeals to people who like musicals and people who don't. ... It's got crossover appeal. It has brought a whole new audience into the theater. And it's very funny. Aside from The Producers, there are [currently] not that many genuinely funny musicals."
DODI'S FATHER SUING CBS FOR SHOWING PHOTOS OF DIANA ACCIDENT
Mohamed al-Fayed has instructed his attorneys to "take whatever legal action they could" against CBS for airing photographs of the dying Princess Diana on its magazine program 48 Hours Investigates last week. Al-Fayed's son Dodi, Diana's lover, was also killed in the 1997 accident was examined in the TV report. The pictures were displayed as the doctor who treated Diana at the scene of the accident was interviewed. It was not clear what legal actions were being contemplated by al-Fayed's attorneys.
FIRE BURNS THIRTY
Denzel Washington had his best weekend ever at the box office as his latest film, the revenge flick Man on Fire, brought in $22.7 million, beating the movie that analysts had thought was most likely to capture the weekend crown, Jennifer Garner's 13 Going on 30. Together, the two top films killed Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2, which saw its ticket sales plummet 59 percent from the previous weekend. Overall, the box office saw a 12-percent rise from the comparable period a year ago, with the top 12 films grossing $84 million. The top ten films over the weekend, according to final figures compiled by Exhibitor Relations (figures in parentheses represent total gross to date):
1. Man on Fire, 20th Century Fox, $22,751,490, 1 Wks. ($22,791,395 -- From Wednesday); 2. 13 Going on 30, Sony, $21,054,238, (New); 3. Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Miramax, $10,410,219, 2 Wks. ($42,961,864); 4 . The Punisher, Lions Gate, $6,287,612, 2 Wks. ($24,167,233); 5. Home on the Range, Disney, $3,570,296, 4 Wks. ($42,554,404); 6. Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Warner Bros., $3,417,478, 5 Wks. ($76,795,462); 7. Hellboy, Sony, $3,112,647, 4 Wks. ($54,803,288); 8. Johnson Family Vacation, Fox Searchlight, $3,094,697, 3 Wks. ($25,039,859); 9. Ella Enchanted, Miramax, $2,965,922, 3 Wks. ($17,477,322); 10. Walking Tall, MGM, $2,66,332, 4 Wks. ($40,530,881),
NOVELIST CUSSLER TRIES TO HALT SHOOTING OF SAHARA
Famed action/adventure novelist Clive Cussler has sued Philip Anschutz's Crusader Entertainment in an effort to halt the shooting of a movie version of his book Sahara, maintaining that his deal with Crusader gave him unqualified script approval and that the screenplays that have been submitted to him have been unacceptable. He told the Denver Post: "They've sent me seven scripts, and I've inserted each one in the trash can." Crusader has now countersued, accusing Cussler of delaying production of the film. In its complaint, the company said, "To option the rights to the entire [Dirk Pitt] series, Crusader paid Cussler an extremely handsome price -- even by Hollywood standards." Production of the film, which stars Matthew McConaughey as Pitt, Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn, has already begun. In its counterclaim, Crusader accuses Cussler of attempting to "foment opposition to the film among his fans, and to organize a fan campaign to coerce Crusader into letting Cussler write the screenplay."
STALLONE PLANS TO SOCK MGM WITH A LAW SUIT
Sylvester Stallone is planning to sue MGM for allegedly reneging on an agreement to produce Rocky VI, and then refusing to allow him to shop the script for the film to other studios, the New York Post reported today (Tuesday) in its "Page Six" column. The newspaper also reported that Stallone is furious about MGM's plans to produce a boxing reality show that it is billing as "just like Rocky," while Stallone himself has sold his own reality boxing show The Contender. An MGM spokesman told the newspaper: "We own the name and the rights to 'Rocky,' and can do what we want with it. [Stallone] has no basis for a lawsuit."
HEALTH CODE VIOLATIONS RAMPANT AT N.Y. THEATERS, SAYS REPORT
A New York television station has discovered numerous violations of health codes at the city's movie theater concession stands. WCBS-TV reported Monday that one theater, the Film Forum in Manhattan, was slapped with three critical health violations during one inspection, in which evidence of mice and the personal cleanliness of employees were cited. According to the station, health inspection records show that 18 theaters had no trained person on duty to handle food and that nearly three-quarters of the theaters in the borough of Brooklyn and two thirds of those in Queens were cited for a critical health violation last year.
MOVIE FINANCING SCAM LANDS FOUR IN JAIL
A federal court in Long Island, NY has convicted four persons of conspiracy and fraud as part of a scam in which shares in two movies were sold in a telemarketing scheme to 600 investors, with nearly 45 percent of the $13 million raised pocketed by the telemarketers. One of the victims, Carol Ann Kinghorn, a psychologist who said that she lost $20,000 in the scheme, told Newsday. "It's a very sad state of affairs when people interested in the arts and promoting it [are victimized]." The two films produced with the remainder of the money, The Amati Girls, starring Cloris Leachman and Paul Sorvino,and Carlos' Wake, starring Rita Moreno and Martin Landau, saw limited release and flopped.
CRITIC SAYS STUDIOS LIKELY TO FUEL PUBLIC IRE WITH DVD "SPECIALS"
Boston Globe pop critic Renée Graham has castigated film studios for their increasing tendency to release multiple DVD versions of hit films. Graham points out that Miramax is currently planning to release six different DVD releases of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, noting that Miramax COO Rick Sands recently told the New York Times: "Vol. 1 goes out, Vol. 2 goes out, then Vol. 1 Special Edition, Vol. 2 Special Edition, the two-pack, then the Tarantino collection as a boxed set for Christmas. ... It's called multiple bites at the apple." Graham predicts that the public will soon wise up to the fact that it's being exploited, observing: "Studio suits would do well to remember the hard lessons learned by the record industry. As CD prices inexplicably increased year after year, some fans turned to peer-to-peer downloading services ... for their music fix. The music industry has been crying foul ever since and suing the very people it wants to purchase its product."
DISNEY SWITCHES BOARD MEETING FROM ANAHEIM TO BURBANK
The Walt Disney Co. bushwhacked reporters Monday by moving its annual board retreat to its Burbank headquarters. The press had been expecting the meeting to be held at a hotel in Anaheim, near the Disneyland theme park. Today's (Tuesday) Los Angeles Times quoted an unnamed Disney critic as saying, "Apparently, they were concerned that there could be a media circus and it would be very difficult for directors to walk in and out of the hotel lobby without having the press pounce all over them."
MOVIE SCREEN EXPLOSION IN RUSSIA
The number of movie screens in St. Petersburg, Russia is expected to rise from 28 to 90 by the end of the year, with 26 set to open in "the next few months," according to the English-language website of The St. Petersburg Times. In reporting on the theater growth, the publication quoted analysts as saying that it "will transform the city's cinema market from being an underdeveloped one to nearly complete saturation in one year." The Times further observed that 80 percent of the audiences attending the new theaters had not been going to the movies in recent years. It noted that they are being attracted by "Hollywood blockbusters" but that "Russian and European alternative films will be provided with screen time occasionally."