TONYS: ANOTHER REASON FOR MAKING WHOOPI
Whoopi Goldberg has been selected to host the 62nd annual Tony Awards -- Broadway's version of the Oscars -- at New York's Radio City Music Hall next month. Her selection ends a two-year experiment to streamline the awards ceremony by eliminating the hosts. Far from boosting ratings, however, the revamped awards show, televised annually by CBS, drew the Tonys' smallest audience ever last year. In a statement, Goldberg said, "I love Broadway and I'm thrilled to be doing anything for the first time. I'm gonna have a blast." Tony nominees are due to be announced next Tuesday.
INTERNET BECOMES SOAP BOX FOR SNL COMMENTS
Producers of NBC's Saturday Night Live are giving political satire, long a staple of the show, a home of its own on the Internet. Broadcasting & Cablereported on its website today (Friday) that NBC plans to gather a plethora of SNL sketches together to form a site where visitors can view performances by their favorite impersonators of politicians -- and the guest appearances of the politicians themselves. The site will also reportedly include interactive elements, allowing, for example, visitors to vote -- not for the candidates but for the SNLperformers playing them. It was not clear whether the site is intended to be permanent or whether it will exist only through the duration of this year's election campaign.
FCC MAY PROBE MILITARY-ANALYST-GATE
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Thursday that the commission is "looking into" complaints that the television news networks violated FCC rules when they presented military analysts on their news programs who had ties to military contractors and who had received "talking points" from the Pentagon. Asked about a letter sent to him by Michigan Congressman John Dingell, chairman of the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, asking for an investigation of the matter, Martin told reporters that he is already looking into the matter and would soon announce whether he believed it warranted a full probe.
DESPITE STORMY RELATIONS AT ABC, MCPHERSON TO REMAIN
Despite industry rumors that his relationship with Disney executives had deteriorated and that he was on the way out, ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson on Thursday was reported to have signed a new four-year contract with the Disney-owned television network. Terms of his deal were not disclosed. McPherson is credited with bringing such hit shows as Grey's Anatomy and Lost to the network.
NBC COMPARES APPLES WITH APPLES
NBC, which last year, refused to continue providing television shows for sale on Apple's iTunes Store, has begun making full episodes of The Officeand 30 Rockavailable to users of Apple's iPhone. The shows can only be viewed via a wireless connection; AT&T's Edge broadband service, the default service on U.S. iPhones, is too slow to allow acceptable video images to be presented. The shows are currently available on the iPhone without charge and ad free.