Tuesday, January 24, 2006

UPDATE: Dishing Lifetime A La Carte?

In an ominous move for cable networks in general, Dish Network wants to make Lifetime available to any subscriber who requests it.

Under the proposal, Dish Network wouldn't charging viewers for the channel. Instead, it will pay Lifetime an undisclosed rate for each customer desperate enough to demand their Golden Girls repeats and Meredith Baxter flicks.

Lifetime is unlikely to accept the deal, as they want, as it's called in the biz, "full penetration."

The deal, if accepted, would save Dish millions, and set a new precedent cable networks surely won't like- as it'll take money right from their coffers.

That's All Folks For WB, UPN; New Frankensteined Network To Be Formed From Flaming Wreckage

Holy shit.

In a huge announcement today seemingly out of nowhere, CBS (owner of UPN) and Time Warner (owner of The WB) say they're merging the two mini-nets to form one giant... uh... mini-net.

Sifting through the press release, they'll seemingly pick and choose the best shows from both networks (all three of them), and run them on the affiliates they deem most desirable.

It actually makes a ton of sense- almost too much sense, in fact.

The WB and UPN, as they're known today, will be kaput as of Fall 2006.

The network will get to pick and choose shows from their current schedules, including America's Next Top Model, Beauty and the Geek, Smallville, Gilmore Girls, Supernatural, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, Reba, and WWE Smackdown

I doubt the "big four" are shaking in their boots. But it's still likely to be more successful than the status quo.

Lifetime Refuses to Do the Dishes

Lifetime says it has rejected a "take it or leave it" offer from Dish Network to put its networks back on the air.

“The Network For Women”, as it calls itself, is reportedly seeking a 76 percent rate hike from the company, said the offer was “unfair and unreasonable.” Echostar, who owns Dish Network, was actually seeking to cut Lifetime’s fees by a third. Sounds like they ain’t even close.

In fact, Dish has already replaced Lifetime Movie Network- maybe permanently- with competitor Oxygen.

In related news, Valerie Bertinelli’s handlers report her royalty payments have dropped by half since the bitter split.

Losties Get Raises

The cast of ABC's Lost, fresh off a Golden Globe win for best drama, thas received a substantial raise, in exchange for an additional year to the actors' current contracts.

Under the deal, the actors will earn almost $80,000 each an episode next season, more than doubling their current salary in most cases.

However, the network offered no guarantees about survival for any character, meaning anyone could be killed off at any time.

NBC Ruffles Scheduling Feathers

NBC is shaking things up again.

After having moderate success with its new Thursday block, more programming changes are afoot. In March, the ‘Cockers will move Law & Order, The Apprentice and Las Vegas to new time slots, among other moves.

The net also announced next-season renewals for My Name Is Earl and The Office, and that they’d likely keep the shows on Thursday night.

Get your scheduling scorecard ready:

NBC officially pulled the plug on The West Wing and Will & Grace.

Crime drama Heist will takes over the Law & Order timeslot, Wednesdays at 10 pm. L&O moves back an hour to 9pm.

Fridays will see the move of Las Vegas to 9pm, while Dick Wolf’s new Conviction will fill the 10pm hole.

Dateline NBC moves to Saturdays at 8 pm.

Howie mandel’s Deal or No Deal, will run for a week beginning February 27th and move to a weekly slot the following week, airing Mondays at 8. At 9, a newly located Apprentice moves in. Fear Factor which switches to Tuesdays at 8.

The network announced no plans for Joey, Thick and Thin or Surface, but did reveal they were planning a summer return of Last Comic Standing.

Got all that?