The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on February 12, 2003 · Page 83
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 83

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Page 83
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ET_E_23_E23_LA_1_02-12-03_we_1_CMYK 2003:02:11:14:47:40 TELEVISION & RADIO CALENDAR WEDNESDAY,FEBRUARY12,2003 E23 LOSANGELESTIMES C HILDREN’S television was pretty awful in the 1960s and ’70s, which didn’t stop me and many contemporaries from absorbing untold hours of rigid-looking animation — usually the more violent and less socially redeeming the better. Perhaps that’s why, for all the studies citing a correlation between TV viewing and aggression, many rational people who came of age during those decades don’t fret much about the likelihood of little Johnny watching animated fantasies and offing his parents; still, there is cause for concern about the resurgence of series that deal in punching and kicking things — and, most insidiously, inspire kids to clamor for the action figures. This weekend, ABC premieres a new Saturday morning twist on “Power Rangers” — which, in its heyday, had kids all over making like Jackie Chan — joining a “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” revival on Fox Box as well as that 1980s toy-industry powerhouse“He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” flexing its muscles on Cartoon Network. These programs arrive on the eve of Toy Fair, a massive trade show that begins Sundayin New York City. The annual event doubles as a launchpad for TV programs that kids will be asked to love and, more pertinently, consume in the years ahead. And consuming, really, is what children’s television is about, with many shows serving as “program-length commercials” — a rightfully pejorative term coined in the 1970s — meant to demonstrate corresponding toy lines. Fox Box, for example, is a brokered arrangement in which 4KidsEntertainment — the licensor behind the WB’s popular “Pokémon” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!” —has essentially rented Fox’s Saturday morning space in a four-year, $100-million transaction. Federal guidelines might obligate Fox stations to broadcast a few hours of enriching kids programs each week, but the deal’s ultimate goal is to enrich Fox, while providing 4Kids a haven to showcase its wares. Although 4Kids Chairman Al Kahn said the kids advertising market has been healthier than anticipated, it’s no secret the company is banking on merchandising tie-ins to make the venture profitable. Appropriately, then, promotion for “Ninja Turtles” includes displays in 270 shopping malls. “You have to look at this like it’s brand new to children,” noted Kahn, who downplayed pressure on 4Kids to find another hit soon, saying, “This is a marathon, not a sprint.” Whatever you call it, the race is to create the next product- moving mechanism — something every kid will want in their Christmas stockings, mining the same vein that resulted in the sale ofa reported $500 million in “Yu-Gi-Oh!” merchandise last year. Seeking to play Grinch to this frenzied consumerism, meanwhile, is a coalition of health and child-advocacy groups, which haspetitioned the Federal Communications Commission to take children’s media into account as it goes about reexamining — and potentially revising — media ownership rules. “This raises a lot of concerns for younger children because of their vulnerability to commercial persuasion,” said Patti Miller, director of the nonprofit group Children Now’s Children &the Media program. Certainlykids have never had more viewing options, though in some instances even that can be illusory, with the same shows spread across multiple outlets. So look for “Power Rangers Ninja Storm” not only on ABC but sister cable network ABC Family, just as CBS’ children’s lineup is plucked from a fellow Viacom asset, Nickelodeon. “We actually think there’s going to be less diversity of programming for kids,” Miller said, adding that in the past both Congress and the FCC have recognized children to be a special audience meriting protection that includes “keeping commercial influences in check.” Managing that, however, is no small feat, especially with advertisers becoming more aggressive about wanting to squeeze their messages into prime-time programs. At a forum last week, Coca-Cola President Steven Heyerthrew down that gauntlet to Hollywood, saying the soft- drink marketer’s goal is to be involved with programs from the outset “so we can embed what we need to say in the work.” As for the notion of whether such arrangements compromise creative integrity, Heyer sniffed, “Forgive my little laugh.” And while the teenagers whose teeth Coke is rotting are doubtless more media savvy than ever in identifying thinly veiled attempts to convince them what’s hip, the little exoskeletons shielding children from their daily shower of product tie-ins are less fully formed. There are some venues that treat kids like somewhat more than simply pint-sized consumers. In addition to PBS’ children’s lineup, TLC and Discovery Kids share a programming block for preschoolers, “Ready Set Learn!,” which relaunches with new series on Feb. 24. The venture is billed as a “commercial-free, sponsor-free” zone for the under-6 set. “There’s no question that the economics of the kids business are being driven by cable ...and the ability to generate off-air revenue,” said Discovery Kids General Manager Marjorie Kaplan, referring to the combination of cable subscription fees and merchandising. Still, she also cited the ad-free block’s appeal to parents, noting that the youngest kids “shouldn’t be exposed to commercial messages, to the degree that’s possible.” Broadcasters, of course, don’t receive subscriber revenue, so the financial pressure on them is more severe. Moreover, the reality is that, in the battle for viewers, nourishing children’s fare inevitably struggles against confections such as “Ninja Turtles,” whose preliminary results sharply improved Fox Box’s previously sluggish ratings. Unfortunately, the next step is for the little darlings who tuned in to plead until they turn green for “Turtles” tchotchkes, eroding parental resistance until they’ve purchased the whole set. That’s the winning formula in a business where watching the show is no longer enough, and “Ready Set Sell!” remains the prevailing war cry. Brian Lowry’s column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at ON TV BRIAN LOWRY These animated kids’ shows, and their toys, look familiar Dong Woo Animation Co. MASKED MEN: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are part of 4KidsEntertainment’s Saturday morning package on Fox. Cartoon Network ACTION FIGURES: “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” has been retooled. By Mark Sachs Times Staff Writer Awoman celebrating her 27th birthday plummets from the balcony of a hotel room to her death more than 100 feet below. Was it a tragic accident that ended a night of heavy drinking and clumsy romance with her married boss, or was it a flat-out case of murder? ASouthland jury reached its decision in November, but you have an opportunity to assess the evidence for yourself tonight at 10 as CBS’ “48 Hours Investigates” rehashes the details of the well- publicized 1996 death of Sandra Orellana. The weekly newsmagazine usually tackles more timely issues than this, but the sordid circumstances and controversial verdict probably helped extend its shelf life in the minds of producers. Yet the sense of drama the program toils so diligently to create works best if you managed to miss the reporting of the case the first time around. Orellana and Robert Lee Sala- zar were in the city of Industry as part of a business trip for their Houston company. After drinking throughout dinner and then later in the hotel nightclub, the two ended up in Orellana’s hotel room, where what happened next, only Salazar knows for sure. The prosecution contends that his spurned sexual advances led him to throw Orellana off the balcony. The defense says the liaison was consensual, and that the woman’s death occurred when she, with a blood-alcohol level of nearly three times the legal limit for driving, fell over the railing while trying to hoist herself up, clad only in a camisole. Salazar’s behavior over the next few hours was so bizarre that it would have left O.J. Simpson shaking his head, and the case even ended up getting entangled in fallout from the Simpson case as well as personnel changes in the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The verdict may leave you shaking your head. TUNED IN Genaro Molina Los Angeles Times ’96 CASE REVISITED: Robert Lee Salazar, center, was accused in the slaying of Sandra Orellana. A drunken night, a hotel room and a murder trial SERIES Playing house: When Donna’s dad’s away, she and Eric get a glimpse of married life on “That ’70s Show” (8 p.m. Fox). Man of peace: Capt. Archer uses diplomacy to prevent war between the Vulcans and Andorians on “Enterprise” (8 p.m. UPN). Explosive plan: “Secrets of the Dead” (8 p.m. KCET, KVCR) A historical investigation looks at the creation, testing and deployment of special bombs designed to destroy German dams during World War II. More cuts: Two more contestants will make it to the next level of “American Idol” (8:30 p.m. Fox). SPECIALS Hate crimes: The “Today” show’s Al Roker is the host of “The Farmingville Incident,” which follows the investigation of a hate crime on Long Island in September 2000 when two Latino day laborers were beaten without provocation (8 p.m. Court TV). MOVIES All shook up: Japanese tourists, an Italian widow and a British outlaw are among those staying at a quirky Memphis hotel in 1989’s “Mystery Train” (7 a.m. IFC). On the eve of war: Vivien Leigh and Robert Taylor star in the 1940 drama “Waterloo Bridge” (7 a.m. TCM). Wartime murder: Dorothy Dandridge and Harry Belafonte star in 1954’s “Carmen Jones” (8:20 a.m. AMC). Rebel slave: The restored version of director Stanley Kubrick’s 1960 gladiator epic “Spartacus” (5 p.m. TCM) stars Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier and Jean Simmons. Springtime for Hitler: Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder star in Mel Brooks’ 1968 classic “The Producers” (8 and 11 p.m. Bravo). SPORTS Pro Basketball: The Lakers play at the Denver Nuggets (6 p.m. KCAL). Today’s Highlights The Early Show “Survivor” host Jeff Probst; Brendan Fraser; women and heart disease. 7a.m. KCBS Today Jon Bon Jovi. 7 a.m. KNBC KTLA Morning News Jennifer Garner; Susan Miller. 7 a.m. KTLA Good Morning America Niki Taylor; Joe Pantoliano; Rachel Hunter. 7 a.m. KABC Good Day L.A. Colin Farrell. 7 a.m. KTTV The Caroline Rhea Show Al Roker; Jeff Probst; model Frederique Van Der Wal (“Celebrity Mole Hawaii”). 8 a.m. KCAL Live With Regis and Kelly Evan Marriott (“Joe Millionaire”); Roma Downey; Hall and Oates. 9 a.m. KABC The View Dr. Michael Baden, forensic pathologist. 10 a.m. KABC The Wayne Brady Show Merv Griffin; Jeff Probst; Susan Tedeschi. 10 a.m. KCAL Good Day Live “The Bernie Mac Show”; display of Oscars. 10 a.m. KTTV Oprah Winfrey The best in food, cars, clothes, etc. 3 p.m. KABC Dr. Phil Twins seek help. 4 p.m. KNBC The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Ben Affleck; Dave Chappelle; Lionel Richie. 11:35 p.m. KNBC The Late Late Show With Craig Kilborn Katey Sagal; actor Jonathan Silverman. 12:35 a.m. KCBS Late Night With Conan O’Brien Goran Visnjic; Heidi Klum. 12:35 a.m. KNBC Last Call With Carson Daly Scott Foley; Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. 1:35 a.m. KNBC Listings include talk shows that provide a guest list. Today’s Talk Shows TIPS FOR TODAY 9-11 a.m.—Larry Mantle’s Airtalk: “Health Dialogues: Drinking Water,” KPCC-FM (89.3). 10-11 a.m.—Morning Symphony: Schubert (“Lieder,” contralto Marian Anderson, pianist Franz Rupp, 1945/1951 recordings), KCSN-FM (88.5). 1-2:30 p.m.—Talk of the City With Kitty Felde: “A Summit on Los Angeles County Infrastructure,” guests include Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill, KPCC-FM (89.3). 2:30-3 p.m.—The Treatment: David Thomson, author of “The New Biographical Dictionary of Film,” KCRW-FM (89.9). 10-10:30 p.m., 2-2:30 a.m.—The Third Man: Lime (Orson Welles) meets a couple of would-be alchemists (originally broadcast Jan. 11, 1952), KNX (1070). DRAMA-COMEDY FAMILY 11 a.m.-1 p.m.—B.B. Good, live from Walt Disney World Resort, KDIS (1110). 1-5 p.m.—DJ Web Fingors, live from Disneyland Park, KDIS (1110). 5-10 p.m.—Ernie D., KDIS (1110). 10 p.m.-3 a.m.—Sheryl Brooks, KDIS (1110). 10:30-11 p.m., 2:30-3 a.m.—Tales of the Texas Ranger: Politicians try to sway agrand jury (originally broadcast April 15, 1951), KNX (1070). POP-COUNTRY- FOLK-JAZZ 6-9 a.m.—Sinbad & Friends, KHHT- FM (92.3). 9 a.m.-noon—Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW-FM (89.9). 10 a.m.-1 p.m.—Global Village ,KPFK- FM (90.7). 1-4 p.m.—Gary Owens, KLAC (570). 8-10 p.m.—Rhapsody in Black, R&B, doo-wop, KPFK-FM (90.7). 10 p.m.-midnight—Chocolate City, KCRW-FM (89.9). Midnight-6 a.m.—Overnight Jukebox, KCSN-FM (88.5). Radio Michael Jackson’s reputation as the king of sweeps remains intact, as ABC’s two-hour “20/20” interview with the singer topped the rating charts despite some heavyweight competition, based on viewing estimates issued Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research. NBC’s “Friends” actually bested the first half-hour of the Jackson special, but the show steadily built to win the 9 p.m. hour versus TV’s top-rated show, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” A follow-up “Primetime Thursday” retained much of that rating, resulting in the smallest audience ever for an original episode of “ER.” “The Bachelorette” delivered astrong performance as well, easily surpassing tune-in for “The West Wing” in its hour. ABC’s highlights, however, were balanced by lowlights, with the new Monday-night dramas “Veritas: The Quest” and “Miracles” looking in need of the latter and “The Practice” suffering as it was sandwiched between them against Fox’s “Joe Millionaire.” The new “Dragnet” also cooled a bit in its second shift, as tune-in dropped 12% from its premiere. Fox’s “American Idol,” meanwhile, is rubbing off on the scripted programs adjacent to it, as the network’s “24,” “That ’70s Show” and “The Bernie Mac Show” all appeared to enjoy a ratings bump last week. The first cable telecast of the NBA All-Star Game also resulted in record basketball ratings for TNT, which averaged 10.8 million viewers, with another 4.8 million watching the network’s “All-Star Saturday Night” event featuring the slam- dunk competition. —Brian Lowry Jackson interview tops chart Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Feb. 3-9) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 272.04 million potential viewers in the U.S. ages 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions. Program Network View- ersProgram Network Viewers 1 20/20 ABC27.11 2 CSICBS25.60 3 FriendsNBC23.37 4 Primetime ThursdayABC22.74 5 Friends (8:30 p.m.)NBC21.99 --------------------------------------------6 ERNBC20.91 7 Joe MillionaireFOX20.60 8 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS20.35 9 American Idol (Tue.)FOX20.06 10 American Idol (Wed.)FOX19.27 --------------------------------------------11 Law & OrderNBC18.33 12 CSI: MiamiCBS18.17 13 The BacheloretteABC17.28 14 60 MinutesCBS16.86 15 Will & GraceNBC16.49 --------------------------------------------16 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC15.87 17 Still StandingCBS15.80 18 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC15.46 19 Fear FactorNBC15.26 20 Without a TraceCBS15.03 --------------------------------------------21 FrasierNBC14.89 22 King of QueensCBS14.86 23 Yes, DearCBS14.80 24 JAGCBS14.10 25 Star SearchCBS13.61 --------------------------------------------26 Judging AmyCBS13.56 27 The Simpsons (8:30 p.m.) FOX13.41 28 The SimpsonsFOX13.40 29 The West WingNBC13.03 30 My Wife and KidsABC12.90 --------------------------------------------31 “Price Is Right: Million” (Wed.) CBS12.84 32 24FOX12.62 33 Everybody Loves Raymond (Sun.) CBS12.54 34 Will & Grace (9:30 p.m.)NBC12.42 35 That ’70s ShowFOX12.21 --------------------------------------------36 The GuardianCBS12.15 37 BeckerCBS12.10 38 Bernie Mac ShowFOX11.79 39 Malcolm in the MiddleFOX11.70 40 DragnetABC11.65 --------------------------------------------41 Third WatchNBC11.55 42 8 Simple Rules ...ABC11.54 43 A.U.S.A.NBC11.53 44 “Price Is Right: Million” (Fri.) CBS11.50 45 Fear Factor (Tue.)NBC11.49 --------------------------------------------46 60 Minutes IICBS11.43 47 “Profoundly Normal”CBS11.41 48 “Kingpin”NBC11.16 49 America’s Funniest Home Videos (9 p.m.) ABC11.13 50 Mr. SterlingNBC11.10 --------------------------------------------51 20/20 (Fri.)ABC11.08 52 NYPD BlueABC11.03 53 According to JimABC10.96 54 American DreamsNBC10.65 55 The DistrictCBS10.63 --------------------------------------------56 Celebrity Mole HawaiiABC10.62 57 HackCBS10.56 58 America’s Funniest Home Videos (8 p.m.) ABC10.48 59 Dateline NBC (Fri.)NBC10.38 60 AliasABC10.28 --------------------------------------------George LopezABC10.28 62 The AgencyCBS10.09 63 48 Hours InvestigatesCBS10.03 64 Malcolm in the Middle (9:30 p.m.) FOX9.82 65 Crossing JordanNBC9.76 --------------------------------------------66 EdNBC9.75 67 “Kingpin” (Tue.)NBC9.60 68 CSI (Fri.)CBS9.59 69 “Budweiser Shoot-Out”FOX9.54 70 Cedric the Entertainer: Presents FOX9.47 --------------------------------------------71 Boston PublicFOX9.17 72 Life With BonnieABC9.01 73 The PracticeABC8.90 74 Less Than PerfectABC8.50 75 7th HeavenWB8.38 --------------------------------------------76 King of the HillABC8.25 77 “Inspector Gadget”ABC8.14 78 SmallvilleWB8.13 79 Fear Factor (Sun.)NBC8.11 80 Touched by an AngelCBS7.81 --------------------------------------------81 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC7.44 82 Veritas: The QuestABC7.21 83 MiraclesABC7.13 84 Law & Order (Sat.)NBC7.10 85 EverwoodWB6.37 --------------------------------------------86 Gilmore GirlsWB6.20 87 King of the Hill (7 p.m.)FOX6.05 88 Meet My FolksNBC5.82 89 “The Shawshank Redemption” ABC5.80 90 WWE Smackdown!UPN5.37 --------------------------------------------91 RebaWB5.36 92 CharmedWB5.14 Fastlane (9 p.m.)FOX5.14 94 FastlaneFOX4.87 95 Joe Millionaire (Thu.)FOX4.70 --------------------------------------------96 EnterpriseUPN4.40 97 One on OneUPN4.06 98 The ParkersUPN3.85 99 GirlfriendsUPN3.69 100 What I Like About YouWB3.68 --------------------------------------------101 PulseFOX3.57 102 Greetings From TucsonWB3.54 Network averages Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season. Network Last week Season to date CBS13.2612.79 -------------------------------------------- NBC12.4311.85 -------------------------------------------- ABC11.8010.79 -------------------------------------------- FOX10.559.53 -------------------------------------------- WB4.614.33 -------------------------------------------- UPN3.633.71 National Nielsen Viewership From Associated Press NEW YORK — An Atlanta- based cable company said Tuesday it plans to launch a 24-hour news channel aimed at black viewers late this year or early in 2004. Major Broadcasting Cable Network, best known for airing the football and basketball games of black colleges, will call its new sister network “MBC News: The Urban Voice.” The plans were announced two months after the much more established Black Entertainment Television announced a sharp cutback in its public affairs programming. Willie Gary, aprincipal of MBC, said the timing is coincidental. “We didn’t plan it that way,” Gary said. “But clearly, it’s a void there from the African American perspective that we will be filling.” MBC News,whichwill be modeled onCNN Headline News, has hired former CNN newsman Gordon Graham. It will show news, sports and weather reports on a 30-minute “wheel,” with occasional other programming. With limited room for more channels on cable systems, the news network will face an uphill battle to survive. The 4-year-old main MBC network claims it is seen in 24 million homes — less than a quarter of the nation’s TV households. MBC isn’t available in New York, but can be seen in Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston. News network plans to target black viewers

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