Alphabet Soup

As a longtime reader of the L.A. Weekly, home of such brilliant reportage as Rian Malan’s penultimate piece on X in the early ’80s, I feel compelled to address a mere handful of Nikki Finke’s laughable inaccuracies in her recent “Deadline: Hollywood” (trenchant!) missive on The CW TV network [A Considerable Town, “Screwing the TV Viewers,” April 28–May 4]. To wit:

1.) “Execs at CBS and Time Warner greedily expect The CW to be profitable in its first year.” An American business expecting to make money?! As David Johansen would say, “The Nerve!”

2.) It is correct that The CW will program “merely 13 hours of prime time,” just as The WB does (FYI: FOX “merely” programs 15 hours of prime-time television), and The CW will also schedule 10 additional hours of daytime programming and five hours of children’s programming, including one hour of educational/informational content on Saturday mornings, in an aggressive effort to address federally mandated stipulations.

3.) “Everything on UPN will have first shot at coming back,” quoth The Raven, Ms. Finke’s winged source (with apologies to E.A. Poe and J.J. Burnel) — a ludicrous assertion, given scheduling meetings for The CW’s inceptive 2006-’07 schedule have yet to convene. Nothing like an unnamed source! And a psychic at that! I’m sure this is what Bob Woodward had in mind when he was freezing his tootsies off in that parking garage.

4.) The CW “hampers competition and harms consumers.” Uh, how? Glad to see Ms. Finke embrace the credo “Facts are stupid things.”

5.) Vis-à-vis “pork rinds” — referring to WB/UPN TV stations that did not affiliate with The CW — I’m fairly certain 20th Century Fox Television’s My Network TV would dispute this chopped characterization, as they have aggressively touted their incipient alliance with said stations.

6.) “The WB was a dumping ground for Warner Bros. TV pilots and series not picked up by major networks.” A simple phone call to the producers and studios associated with such fan favorites as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dawson’s Creek, Felicity and 7th Heaven, among other programs, would refute this noxious theorem.

7.) The Family Friendly Programming Forum, an esteemed organization that contributed seed money for the initial pilot scripts for a number of fine television projects, did not “develop” — a risky, multimillion-dollar proposition left to profiteering conglomerates like Warner Bros. and CBS — Gilmore Girls or any other television program.

8.) As millions of fans will tell you, including every WB employee and/or executive ever associated with the eternally classy Reba, her last name is McEntire. Ah, fact checking . . . a lost art.

I could go on, but “Nausea” is on the turntable and requires immediate volume elevation to 11.

Paul McGuire

Senior Vice President, ?Network Communications

The CW

Finke responds: What’s bizarre is that McGuire doesn’t dispute even once my reporting that Les Moonves kidnapped The CW, won a negotiating advantage over Warner Bros. and seized sole custody of the netlet for business decisions and programming. In fact, McGuire doesn’t deny anything within my column or find a single inaccuracy. Instead, he takes out of context what I wrote, or purports to quote from my column when he’s actually changing words and meaning, or outright fabricates. For example, McGuire claims I wrote that The WB was a dumping ground for Warner Bros. TV pilots and series not picked up by major networks. Actually, what I wrote was that it was “planned as a dumping ground.” And McGuire disputes that the Family Friendly Programming Forum developed Gilmore Girls when I can cite scores of other articles reporting exactly that. Finally, McGuire says no 2006-2007 meetings have taken place yet. Then why has The CW already acknowledged to the press some shows are certain to be returning?


Our cover story on Jon Brion [“Jon Brion’s Amazing Musicquarium,” May 12–18] misidentified the director of the upcoming film There Will Be Blood. P.T. Anderson is the director.

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