This Just In4/28/2006 8:00 PM Eastern
Lifetime Cancels 'Missing’ Despite Ratings Uptick
Los Angeles — The fourth season of Lifetime Television’s one-hour drama series Missing, starring Vivica A. Fox, Mark Consuelos and Caterina Scorsone as an FBI team who locate victims through unorthodox methods, will go missing.
Despite a ratings uptick during its third campaign, Missing, which averaged a 1.9 household rating for 19 premiere installments, up from a 1.7 mark in its second campaign, will not return to the women’s targeted-network. Viewers found the last of its 55 original installments Feb. 5.
Earlier this year, Lifetime ran the last premiere installment of Strong Medicine, which ran for six seasons totaling 132 episodes, the longest run of any basic-cable network drama.
Up next for Lifetime on the original series side: Lovespring International, which bows in June and features an ensemble cast stationed in an 'elite Beverly Hills’ matchmaking agency that is actually located in Tarzana, Calif.; and Angela’s Eyes, about an FBI agent who has the gift of knowing when someone is lying. It is slated to premiere in July.
NCTA’s Annual Guide Moves to the Internet
Atlanta, Ga.— Cable executives attending last month’s National Show who were looking for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s annual cable programming factbook handout can now find that information on the Internet instead.
The NCTA has officially shelved its Cable Developments and Television Critics Tour-based Cable Programming Guidebook publications and moved the information to a programming-dedicated area at www.ncta.com.
NCTA spokesman Paul Rodriguez said the Web site versions of the two publications allows the organization to provide updated and pertinent information about cable networks and their valuable content.
The Web site, which officially launched the week after the April 9-11 National Show, features historical and contact information on nearly every national, regional and startup cable service. NCTA had printed that information annually for the last 29 years as part of its Cable Developments book.
In addition, the site also features information on cable’s original programs formerly included in the NCTA’s biannual Cable Programming Guidebook, which stemmed from the organization’s oversight of cable’s Winter and Summer TCA sessions. The NCTA will yield control of the TCA cable network presentations to the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, beginning this summer.
FX Sets Truncated 'Rescue Me’ Webisodes
New York — In a major multiplatform promotional deal, FX and Sony Pictures Television will make available an original, scripted 15-minute version of the network’s Rescue Me to various video-on-demand and video broadband outlets prior to the series’ premiere May 30.
The video short, dubbed Rescue Me 2.5, features series star Denis Leary and the show’s cast. It is scheduled to air from May 8- 29 on the Internet via AOL as well as on free VOD through Adelphia Communications Corp., Comcast Corp., Cox Communications and DirecTV Inc., according to FX officials.
Further, Rescue Me 2.5 on May 30 is expected to run on the Reuters NY electronic billboard in New York City, with audio provided through low-level speakers and a cell-phone simulcast. FX has yet to reach any mobile deal.
Slim Bulks Up More On Univision Shares
Los Angeles — Mexican telephone mogul Carlos Slim Domit is continuing to bulk up his personal holdings in Univision Communications Inc., buying another 3 million shares of the Spanish-language broadcaster’s stock for about $102 million, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
Slim, the chairman of Mexican telephone giant Telefonos de Mexico, said in a filing April 27 that one of his holdings — Telmex Trust, the pension fund of the telephone company — purchased 3 million shares of Univision on the open market between March 23 and April 3 at an average price of $33.88 per share. That adds to the 8.5 million Univision shares Slim purchased through another of his holdings between March 9 and March 20.
Slim also serves on the board of directors of Group Televisa S.A., which owns an 11% interest in Univision. In the SEC filing, Groupo Televisa said it held a board of directors meeting on April 27 and authorized chairman and CEO Emilio Azcarraga and executive vice president Alfonso de Angoitia to enter into a group with others to make a plan or proposal for a transaction with Univision that would result in its increasing its minority stake in the broadcaster.
That appears to confirm earlier reports in The Wall Street Journal that Groupo Televisa was considering joining with several private equity firms to boost its stake in Univision to 25%, the federally mandated limit for foreign ownership in U.S. broadcast companies. Univision is based in Los Angeles.
Univision put itself on the block in February, after it hired adviser UBS Investment Bank to explore its options, including a possible sale. Analysts have speculated that Univision could sell for as much as $12 billion to $14 billion.
News of Slim’s increased interest in Univision comes in the wake of reports that The Walt Disney Co. and CBS Corp. are considering teaming up on a bid.
FSN Southwest, Astros Launch Spanish Show
Irving, Texas — FSN Southwest and Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros will launch a rare Spanish-language magazine show on the predominately English-language service.
The 30-minute Contacto con los Astros, which was scheduled to debut April 30 after the network’s Astros-Cincinnati Reds telecast, will provide game summaries and previews. New episodes will run on Sundays immediately after an FSN Southwest Astros telecast.
Jon Heidtke senior vice president and general manager for FSN Southwest, said that while the show is specifically targeted to Astros fans, the network’s other pro franchises could take a swing at the concept if Contacto proves successful.