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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

Nickelodeon‘s “2009 Kids’ Choice Awards” attracted 7.7 million viewers Saturday night, the largest audience ever for the annual franchise. After the awards show, Nick debuted “The Penguins of Madagascar,” which pulled in 6.1 million viewers, a record for a premiere on the network. TVWeek.com (3/30) , Mediaweek (3/30)

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MTV has ordered four more seasons of its long-running “The Real World” series. The current iteration, “The Real World: Brooklyn,” will wrap up Wednesday night, and producers already are at work on the show’s next stop: Cancun, Mexico. The Hollywood Reporter (3/30)

Haven’t we had enough? The Real World would be more interesting if we could periodically vote people off.

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NBC invested two more seasons into high school football drama series Friday Night Lights. NBC and DirecTV have completed a 26-episode order agreement (13 eps per season) for the series produced by Universal Media Studios. The deal also allows Friday Night Lights to premiere on DirecTV with a second window on NBC. (Cynopsis 3/31)

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Monty Python fans get ready for a new six-part, original documentary series, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut) is set to air on IFC this October from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Coinciding with the comedy troupe’s 40th anniversary, surviving members John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will participate in this retrospective anthology taking viewers from the beginning through the end. (Cynopsis 3/31)

ABC barely got the new baby changed and diapered when it announced it cut the episode order for new midseason comedy In the Motherhood, per Variety. ABC will air just six episodes this season including the pilot, despite the network originally ordering 13 episodes. This news comes directly after ABC premiered the series last Thursday night to lukewarm reviews and ratings results: a 2.1/6 among A18-49 and 6.7 million viewers. ABC, though, says there isn’t room on the schedule for all 13 episodes as Ugly Betty returns in the time slot it has temporarily left open as of May 7. (Cynopsis 3/31)

ABC and Mark Burnett are working on a reality series Shark Tank, an adaptation of the British hit Dragon’s Den where ambitious entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to five multimillion tycoons in hopes of receiving investment money. ABC ordered seven episodes and this marks the first time the network partners with Burnett who has successful shows on the three other major broadcast networks. The format originated in Japan and is now a global hit with Dragon’s Den airing on BBC Two in the UK for six seasons and here in the US on BBC America. ABC has not yet set a premiere date for Shark Tank though sometime next season is probable. The five “sharks” have been tapped: Robert Herjavec (internet security systems), Kevin Harrington (infomercials), Barbara Corcoran (real estate), Kevin O’Leary (top Canadian investor) and Daymond John (FUBU sportswear). (Cynopsis 3/31)

The BBC version is so intriguing to me.  To anyone who counts themselves as an entrepreneur, you will deeply appreciate this series.
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Fox is said to be planning to launch a Saturday late-night show featuring comedienne/actress Wanda Sykes. The show is believed to be more in the mold of Bill Maher’s show on HBO than a typical talk show. It will air Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET and will be an hour long. (Iwantmedia 3/31, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/191000-EXCLUSIVE_Fox_Eyes_Wanda_Sykes_For_Saturday_Late_Night.php 3/31)

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FOX is getting back into the reality dating/competition genre on a new series titled More to Love, reports THR. FOX along with partner Mike Fleiss, producer of The Bachelor, will focus on “average looking” people who are overweight and looking for love. The series will copy the format of The Bachelor as a group of real women compete for the attention of one guy who, according to producers, looks more like a Kevin James-type. (Cynopsis 3/31)

Starz Media tapped UK-born actor Andy Whitfield to portray the warrior hero Spartacus in the new action series, Spartacus: Blood and Sand. In addition, Lucy Lawless was cast as Lucretia, who along with her husband Batiatus, own the Ludus or gladiator camp and thus Spartacus. Production on the series begins Wednesday in New Zealand and will open on Starz next January. Starz Media produces with Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi and Joshua Donen as executive producers. (Cynopsis 3/31)

Time Warner and Time Warner Cable began trading independently Monday, marking what Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Bewkes called “a new era for Time Warner.” Bewkes went on to say that his company is “committed to investing more money than last year in the top-notch content that defines our brands — while we run our businesses more efficiently than ever.” The Hollywood Reporter (3/30)

Time Warner’s spinoff of its cable division dropped the owner of Time magazine and Warner Bros. to third place among U.S. media companies, behind Disney and News Corp. Analysts say: “It’s better to be Disney than a company that’s a third of the size like Viacom.” (Iwantmedia 3/31, http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a6m8W1j7WL9g 3/31)

(Below) The problem isn’t “supporting the infrastructure.” The problem is figuring out how to maneuver in a world with new entry-level competition encroaching in markets where your audience generally despises you.  This shouldn’t help that problem.

The newly spun-off Time Warner Cable will impose premium rates on big users of broadband in Web markets in Texas, New York and North Carolina. “We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business,” says CEO Glenn Britt. (Iwantmedia 3/31, http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/mar2009/tc20090331_726397.htm 3/31)

News Corp.’s Fox Soccer Channel is beating out Disney’s ESPN for the rights to show European Champions League soccer games next season. ESPN held the right since the 1994-95 season. ESPN shares Major League Soccer rights with Fox and other networks. (Iwantmedia 3/31, http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Fox-wins-US-TV-rights-to-apf-14796331.html 3/31)

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