- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2005

‘Kong’ sized synergy

NBC Universal is already rallying the troops to help start the “King Kong”-sized media machine for this winter’s remake of the movie classic about the colossal ape.

All nine NBC Universal networks — NBC, SCI FI, USA Network, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, Mun2 and Universal HD — will debut the teaser trailer for Peter Jackson’s “King Kong” tonight at precisely 8:59:30.

The film, scheduled to open during the 2005 holiday movie season, will be offered in high-definition on NBC and Universal HD. According to NBC Universal, the potential audience for the nine-network telecast could exceed 109 million viewers.

Maximum exposure

Two new comedies planned for Showtime will likely have viewers laughing over and over again.

The network will introduce “Weeds” and “Barbershop,” the latter based on the successful movie franchise, with unprecedented bonus plays to maximize their exposure, Reuters News Agency reports.

Each 30-minute show will be rebroadcast every night from 10 to 11 p.m. starting in August.

After a sneak preview episode following the series finale of “Queer as Folk” on Aug. 7, “Weeds” — a single-camera sitcom about a suburban mom (Mary-Louise Parker) who resorts to selling pot to make ends meet after her husband’s sudden death — will begin its regular run at 10 p.m. Mondays on Aug. 8. It will then air every Wednesday and Friday at 10 and 10:30 p.m., followed by another run each Sunday at 10:30 p.m.

“Barbershop” joins the schedule at 10 p.m. Sundays beginning Aug. 14. Additional runs will air in the same time slot Tuesday and Thursday, followed by rebroadcasts at 10:30 p.m. on those days and also on Saturday.

Both series also will be available on video-on-demand for cable subscribers.

Sizzling summer DVDs

Summer used to be the time of year when it was safe to turn off the television, given the glut of reruns.

No more.

Not only are the networks and cable outlets dumping fresh programming upon us, the TV-on-DVD movement is hitting the proverbial fever pitch, Reuters reports.

Studios are planning to release an unprecedented number of boxed sets for the next three months, including packages for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Simpsons” and “Smallville.”

Paramount alone has nearly two dozen titles slotted for these months, including the first season and TV-to-DVD debut of “The Amazing Race.”

“There are so many sets rolling out, and the studios are still making announcements,” said Gord Lacey, who runs the Web site https://www.TVShowsOnDVD.com. “August will clear out people’s bank accounts, and September will push them into debt,” Mr. Lacey told Reuters.

Two factors are fueling the rush, according to studio sources — a weak theatrical slate and the fact that all things TV are front-of-mind as the networks prepare to roll out their new seasons.

One of the busiest dates on the TV-to-DVD schedule is July 26, when releases include second-season sets of “The Brady Bunch,” “Star Trek Enterprise” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Among the first-season sets planned for release that day: “Remington Steele” and “3rd Rock From the Sun,” and Season 6 of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

Report’ eyes China

PBS’ “Nightly Business Report” kicks off a weeklong look at China’s economy tonight.

The series, “China’s Century of Change,” promises exclusive interviews with movers and shakers from the East, and will be presented by show host and Washington bureau chief Darren Gersh and the “NBR team.”

The first installment finds Mr. Gersh examining China’s global brands, including piano builders Pearl River Piano Group. Tomorrow’s segment looks at how the Chinese economy is lagging in the country’s rural areas .

Now in its 27th year, the “National Business Report” airs weekdays at 6:30 p.m. on WETA-TV.

Compiled by Christian Toto from staff and wire reports.

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