Pasadena, Calif. -- USA Networks Inc. president of
programming and marketing Stephen Chao said last week that he is bumping up marketing
spending this quarter and next to support the service's existing slate of original
shows, which were created by his predecessor.
During his remarks at the Television Critics Association
summer tour here, Chao also reiterated, without giving any new details, his commitment to
increasing original productions at USA, which, he said, had built a reputation as an
Chao, brought in by USA Networks chairman Barry Diller
earlier this year, added that USA Network's new Saturday-night original programming
could speak for itself. At that point, he quickly left, and clips of new USA series The
Net and Sins of the City were shown. Chao didn't say how much more USA
will be spending for marketing this quarter and next.
Chao's surprise appearance marked part of an awkward
transition that has been taking place at USA since Diller acquired it and Sci-Fi Channel
and began bringing in his own team. Rod Perth, USA Networks' president of
entertainment, usually does USA's presentation at the TCA. But he has tendered his
resignation, and he is leaving this month.
So Chao stepped in to do the TCA duties last week for a
slate of shows that Perth created. And in yet another odd note, USA vice president of
long-form programming Ian Valentine actually conducted a presentation and panels featuring
talent from some of the network's new original movies, including Every
Mother's Worst Fear with Cheryl Ladd and The Jacqueline Susann Story with
Michelle Lee. Valentine has submitted his resignation, and he will be following Perth out
Valentine is expected to be replaced by Adam Shapiro, a
veteran of Kirshner-Locke,according to sources at USA.
Also at the TCA tour last week:
Comedy Central said it will air a condensed version
of the New York Friars Club Roast of Drew Carey Oct. 28.
The History Channel has hired journalist Arthur Kent
to host its History Undercover series. The network will also air more than 200
60-second programs during the next two years as part of Timelab 2000, with the
segments hosted by actor Sam Waterson.
A&E Network will air a two-hour special, One-on-One
with David Frost -- George Bush: A President's Story, Aug. 25.
Knowledge TV said it would begin a West Coast feed
of its programming Aug. 1 on Satcom C3, transponder 20, channel 15.
Game Show Network unveiled three new original shows
for the summer and fall, as well as its "Win TV," which it described as an
"enhancement." Among the new shows is Extreme Gong Show, a spinoff of the
old Chuck Barris show, which will feature "twisted" vaudeville-type acts. Win TV
will provide viewers with additional information about shows on the screen and contests,
and it will eventually become interactive.