SEACREST: A $45-MILLION IDOL
Ryan Seacrest will earn $45 million over the next three years for continuing to host American Idol, the Hollywood Reporter reported today (Monday), citing no sources. The trade publication said that the deal with CKX, Inc., which purchased Simon Fuller's 19 Entertainment (which produces American Idol) for $200 million in 2005, will be announced today. It will effectively treble Seacrest's current salary of $5 million per year. Seacrest is one of the media's busiest figures. Under a deal with Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, he serves as managing editor and anchor of E! News, is executive producer and host of E!'s Live From the Red Carpet, and is the producer of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. In addition, he hosts the nationally syndicated radio shows On-Air With Ryan Seacrest and American Top 40.
EVERYONE OUT OF THE POOL?
One of the first experiments with pooled local news coverage appears to be coming apart in Atlanta. WGCL, the CBS affiliate owned by Meredith Broadcasting, has pulled out of its joint undertaking with with Fox-owned WAGA and MyNetworkTV affiliate WXIA, owned by Gannett Broadcasting, Broadcasting & Cable reported today (Monday). "It just wasn't working for us," station general manager Andy Alford told the trade publication. The pool agreement went into effect on May 18 with each station contributing a cameraman to the pool. Decisions on what would be covered were reached on a "majority rules" basis, said Alford. But the pool thereby limited the station's ability to stand out from the pack. "We want to focus on differentiation, and the pool didn't always allow us to do that," he told B&C.
BLACK JOURNALISTS REBUKE ABC ON ARTICLE ABOUT JACKSON KIDS
The National Association of Black Journalists has condemned an article that appeared on the ABC News website titled "How Will Michael Jackson's 'White' Kids Get Along in a Black Family?" The article by Luchina Fisher, a producer of entertainment features for ABC News, said, "There's nothing unusual about black families taking in their kin. ... But when the children look more white than black, eyebrows -- and stereotypes -- get raised." In the NABJ's statement, the group's president, Barbara Ciara, commented: "Anyone with 20/20 vision can see the variety of shades that encompass African-American people. It's a false issue considering the growing number of biracial and blended families here in the United States and [the article] -- by its title -- suggests race somehow is more important than being surrounded by a loving and supportive family." The NABJ president also took note of Fisher's comment that "living with their black relatives may require some adjustments." She asked, "Are you serious? By all accounts these children have known no one else but their black relatives during their young lives." She concluded that the article demonstrates that ABC News "is out of touch and uninformed." ABC has not responded to the NABJ's rebuke.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO JACKSON REALITY SERIES?
Cable channel A&E had been working on a reality project that would have brought back the Jackson family to TV prior to the death of Michael, the Hollywood Reporter reported today, citing no sources. The trade publication said that the channel had commissioned a one-hour special that would have featured Jackie, Tito, Jermain, Marlon and Randy -- but not Michael -- as they prepared a new album and concert tour. It had been scheduled to air next year and metamorphose into a reality series afterwards, depending upon ratings and viewer reaction.
BROADCAST RATINGS SINK TO HISTORIC LOWS
The series finales of CBS's Harper's Island and ABC's Eli Stone went virtually unnoticed on Saturday as broadcast viewing remained at historic lows. The two-hour Harper's Island finale averaged just 3.8 million viewers, while ABC's Eli Stone finished with just 2.8 million. The top-rated show for the night was a repeat of NBC's venerable Law & Order: SVU, which pulled in 4.8 million viewers. Earlier in the evening the network's high-budget Kings drew just 1.6 million viewers. Meanwhile USA Today observed that the three weeks ending July 5 were the broadcast networks' lowest rated in history.
AFTRA HEAD: NO MERGER TALKS WITH SAG FOR NOW
The head of the American Federation of Television and Radio artists sees little hope of a merger with the Screen Actors Guild before the next round of contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers in 2011. In an interview with today's (Monday) New York Times, AFTRA President Roberta Reardon noted that SAG has new board elections set for next fall, which could change the complexion of its board. Reardon says that although she, too, will be up for reelection, she is so far running unopposed.