- The Washington Times - Monday, October 2, 2006

Nick at night

MTV has given the green light to a new sketch-comedy series from Nick Cannon.

“Nick Cannon Presents: Short Circuitz” has been given an eight-episode order, and the half-hour show is set to premiere in the first quarter of 2007 as part of the network’s “10 Spot” lineup, Reuters news agency reports.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the series will consist of topical sketches, impersonations, parodies and other comedic elements. It will feature Mr. Cannon, who also is the creator and executive producer, along with comedy-improv players Affion Crockett, Eliza Coupe, Leonard Robinson, Taran Killam and Katt Williams.

Mr. Cannon, 25, starred in the 2002 box-office hit “Drumline” and will appear in the upcoming Robert F. Kennedy biopic “Bobby.”

Luck of the draw

Fans of reality shows about tattoo parlors had a tough choice Sept. 26.

A&E; moved its unscripted series “Inked” to Tuesday nights, where it competes directly with TLC’s “Miami Ink.”

The victor? “Miami Ink,” MediaWeek.com reports.

Two back-to-back premiere episodes of “Inked” delivered an average 590,000 total viewers in the 10-to-11 p.m. slot, while a “Miami Ink” repeat served up an audience of 785,000 viewers. TLC also beat A&E; in the core demographics, averaging 523,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 to A&E;’s 351,000. TLC had 569,000 18- to 49-year-old viewers versus A&E;’s 417,000.

In the 18-to-34 demographic, TLC outpaced A&E; by a measure of 306,000 to 259,000. “Inked” previously had occupied A&E;’s Wednesday 9 p.m. slot. In its new time period, it leads out of a one-hour block of “Dog the Bounty Hunter.”

Both tattoo series premiered within a day of each other in July 2005.

Fox fight

Fox News Channel and the cable and satellite providers that carry the network may be gearing up for a financial fight, Associated Press reports.

If things go badly, the ratings leader in cable news could disappear from some television screens.

As Fox celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, some 10-year contracts with providers will expire. Fox says the systems pay about 25 cents per subscriber each month to carry its programming. The network, pointing to its ratings, wants to increase those fees to $1.

Fox claims rival CNN frequently gets about 50 cents per subscriber and that Fox’s fee is a bargain because its ratings have eclipsed CNN’s for five years.

“It seems like we’re probably worth at least twice as much as they are,” Fox News chief Roger Ailes told AP.

The suburban ring around New York, the nation’s largest and most influential media market, will see one of the first fights.

The deal between Fox News Channel, which is owned by News Corp., and Cablevision Systems Corp. expires Saturday, 10 years to the day after Fox began airing. Cablevision has more than 3 million subscribers in the New York City metro area. On Sept. 16, Fox ran legal notices in several suburban New York newspapers warning that the network’s programming “may be interrupted or terminated” soon because of the contract expiration.

Cablevision claims that because Fox gave it money for marketing considerations at the beginning of its contract, its effective monthly payment has been 16 cents, making Fox’s proposed increase even larger.

Cablevision is known for playing tough in negotiations. Its customers went a full season without New York Yankees games because of a dispute with the YES network.

The negotiations come in the midst of Fox News Channel’s first ratings slump. Through the end of August, the 1.4 million viewers Fox averages during prime time (including weekends) was down 13 percent from 2005, according to Nielsen Media Research. Second-place CNN averages 745,000 viewers.

NBC gets a ‘Life’

NBC has picked up a drama pilot from its sister company, NBC Universal Television Studio, TVWeek.com reports.

The hourlong pilot, titled “Life,” follows a falsely imprisoned police officer who rejoins the force as a changed man to find out who really committed the crime for which he was charged.

“Life,” the brainchild of executive producers Rand Ravich and Far Shariat, will be filmed sometime this season and is expected to be in contention for a series pickup in fall 2007.

Fox 5 plays ball

Even in the nation’s capital, some things — such as Major League Baseball — are more important than news.

Beginning tonight, Fox 5-WTTG will shift its “Fox 5 News at 10” to its sister station, WDCA My20, at its regularly scheduled time while MLB post-season games air on Channel 5. The change will continue each night MLB post-season games are played in prime time.

Compiled by Kelly Jane Torrance and Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web, wire and staff reports.

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