- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Anchor blogging?

The blogosphere helped take down Dan Rather, even if the CBS news anchor and his network declared otherwise in the wake of the memogate scandal that surfaced during the contentious 2004 presidential race.

Now NBC may let its news anchors and celebrity interviewers pen blogs of their own to maintain the integrity and appeal of America’s news networks, its top executive told Reuters News Agency.

Jeff Zucker, president of NBC’s Universal Television Group, said entering the generally opinionated world of blogs — that’s Web logs for the uninitiated — might be one way TV networks could keep their grip on viewers who increasingly surf the Internet for news.

“Over the next two years, network news is going to go through a lot more changes,” Mr. Zucker said at a conference on high-speed Internet use hosted by the Internet media company Yahoo. “This is one of the biggest issues facing traditional network news divisions.

“I don’t know why Brian Williams isn’t blogging right now,” Mr. Zucker said, referring to his network’s new nightly news anchor.

Mr. Zucker also said he envisioned a similar blog for Katie Couric, the co-host of NBC’s “Today” show.

The new blogs are among the latest attempts by TV news divisions to keep pace with the times. Networks can no longer rely on a dinnertime audience to tune into their half-hour newscasts, given the inroads made by 24-hour cable news channels and the wide availability of breaking reports on the Internet.

Leslie Moonves, chairman of CBS and co-president of its parent company, Viacom Inc., said earlier this year that his network was considering changes to its news, such as having several people anchor the program as an ensemble or broadcasting the show from different cities, according to Reuters.

Up to 74 percent of high-speed Internet users say they get more varied perspectives from online news outlets, according to a survey co-conducted by Yahoo.

C’ is for Cutie

Fox’s teen hit “The O.C.” invites Death Cab for Cutie to play in its fictional Bait Shop on tonight’s episode.

It’s nothing new for the drama to feature of-the-moment music on its show, given that “The O.C.” holds such a cherished place in the hearts of its young fan base.

The Bait Shop — which has welcomed such buzz-worthy acts as Modest Mouse, the Killers and the Walkmen — comes from “personal wish fulfillment,” show creator Josh Schwartz told Associated Press.

Mr. Schwartz said his show’s writers conceived the Bait Shop as one of “the iconic locations that add to the mythology of the show, such as the pool house, the pier and the beach.”

During “The O.C.’s ” first season, the kids went to a Rooney concert, which Mr. Schwartz says was part of the inspiration for the Bait Shop. “We thought, how great would it be if we could do more with all this music that we love on the show?” he says.

He admits that not everyone is pleased with the addition of the Bait Shop this season. In a recent “O.C.” that subtextually aired some viewers’ complaints about the declining quality of the show’s second season, Seth (Adam Brody) uttered a line about last year having more fistfights and this year having more live music.

“Apparently not everybody is as psycho about music as I am. Now we’re trying to have more fistfights and live music, so everybody wins,” Mr. Schwartz says.

Two as ‘One’

“One Tree Hill” actors Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray are hoping their romance never gets canceled.

The two met while starring on the WB teen drama and tied the knot at a seaside ceremony Saturday at the Casa del Mar hotel in Santa Monica, Calif., Miss Bush’s publicist, Sarah Fuller, told AP.

Miss Bush, 22, and Mr. Murray, 23, met in 2003 while filming “Hill,” in which she plays feisty cheerleader Brooke Davis and he plays Lucas Scott, a brooding intellectual struggling to find peace.

They were engaged in July 2004. Mr. Murray told AP he proposed while they were in Australia, where he was finishing work on the remake of the horror classic “House of Wax.”

“I had a bunch of roses, and I put lights down on a tennis court that spelled something out for her,” he said at the time without offering more details.

“House of Wax” opens next month. Miss Bush stars in this summer’s “Supercross.”

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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