Entries in Television Category

CBS and Warner Brothers have announced the end of the line for CBS' UPN and WB's The WB networks effective this fall as the two units will combine to form a new single entity to be coined "The CW". The new network will offer carry-over prime-time programming from both UPN and WB when it launches in September, along with keeping the children's afternoon and Saturday morning offerings currently called "Kids WB". The move will have the biggest impact on Metro Detroit's WDWB-TV 20, which will be left without a network affiliation once the WB ceases operations this summer. Current CBS-owned UPN affiliate WKBD-TV 50 will become the Motor City's home for The CW.

Across the rest of Michigan, it is uncertain what the effect will be once the new network begins operations. Currently, Lansing/Jackson has a full-time UPN affiliate on WHTV-TV 18 and West Michigan viewers can see UPN shows on a series of low-power stations called 'The X' (based at WXSP-CA channel 15). UPN programs are also available on several other stations on a tape-delayed basis or as part of HD secondary channels. The WB has several cable-only outlets across the state in addition to an HD secondary channel offered by WEYI Saginaw and on a tape delayed basis on WZPX-TV 43 Battle Creek.

UPN, The WB Merging Into CW Network (Media Week)

UPN and WB TV networks merged into new CW net (Detroit Free Press)


FSNAn exclusive interview with Red Wings defenseman Jiri Fischer will air Monday on FSN Detroit's Red Wings' Pregame at 8:30 PM, prior to the Red Wings-Calgary Flames telecast. FSN's John Keating conducted the interview Friday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Following is an excerpt from the interview, as Fischer answers how often he thinks about the Nov. 21 incident in which he collapsed on the bench, went into cardiac arrest and was revived via an automated defibrillator: “Not daily, but quite frequently. But I don't look at that night as a bad thing at all. Everybody says 'I'm very sorry for what happened,' which I extremely appreciate, but I always say, why would you be? It could have been a lot worse. I'm not trying to be cheesy, but when you get that close to not being here – everything could have been taken away instantly – and being here, being healthy, mentally being fine…it's really like winning the lottery, so I've already won mine. I don't take many things for granted anymore. I feel very good about every day.”

The interview, Fischer's first public comments since a Dec. 12 news conference, also includes his recollection of that night and he addresses the topic of his hockey future.


Letter To Detroit Lions Owner Cites The Importance Of Local Television Coverage In Building Fan Interest; Broadcasters Ask Governor Granholm, Lawmakers And Congressional Delegation For Support

MABThe Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is asking National Football League (NFL) team owners to reconsider their recent decision to ban local TV crews from sideline coverage during NFL games. The decision, made by NFL team owners at their recent spring meeting, will prevent local TV crews from capturing game action images for broadcast on news and highlight shows. “For more than 40 years, local television stations have helped build a relationship between pro football teams and their viewers,” said Karole White, MAB President and CEO. “The move to ban local TV crews from game coverage will deny viewers the unique local coverage of NFL games they've come to expect.”

In a letter, the MAB has asked Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford to reconsider the sideline ban, highlighting that Michigan taxpayers helped finance the Lions' home stadium, Ford Field, and that, “A ban on photojournalists at Ford Field would prohibit objective coverage of news events in a publicly funded facility and impede local broadcasters' mandate to serve their community.” “The NFL's sideline ban sets a troubling precedent,” said White. “Subsequent bans of still photographers and other local media will only give the NFL increased editorial control over media coverage of their sport.”

In a separate letter, the MAB has asked Governor Jennifer Granholm, state lawmakers, and Michigan's Congressional delegation for support in contacting NFL representatives seeking a reversal of the sideline ban.


Tigers Home Opener on April 10th, plus 15 other games to air on Channel 20

The Detroit Tigers senior vice president of business operations Duane McLean announced today that TV20 (WDWB) and Fox Sports Net (FSN) Detroit will air the Detroit Tigers opening day game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on Monday April 10th. The game will be broadcast on FSN Detroit and simulcast on TV20, beginning at 12:30 p.m. EDT. Working with the Tigers, FSN also has acquired the rights to 15 additional Tigers games this season – starting in June – that will be televised on TV20 and a to-be-determined network of over-the-air stations throughout the state.

Mario Impemba and Rod Allen will be announcing all the televised games for FSN Detroit and TV20. “We're pleased to reach this agreement with FSN Detroit and TV20, and provide fans and communities with over-the-air Major League Baseball in 2006,” said McLean. “We worked diligently for several months to reach an agreement that is good for our fans, good for our broadcast partners and good for the Detroit Tigers. Broadcast negotiations are often complex and thanks to terrific efforts by both FSN Detroit and TV20, we've got a good agreement and there are now more opportunities for fans to follow the Tigers throughout the season – and just in time for Opening Day!”

FSN“I'm thrilled that together, we're able to give our entire community the opportunity to watch the pageantry of Opening Day in Detroit," said Greg Hammaren, vice president/general manager, FSN Detroit. "FSN Detroit, TV20 and the Tigers all worked as a team to produce and deliver additional games this season for fans to enjoy." “We are proud to be part of the collaboration that delivers a home run for Detroit's baseball fans,” said Sarah Norat-Phillips, president/general manager, TV20 Detroit. “I especially credit Greg Hammaren for his energy behind the agreement and thank the Detroit Tigers for their ongoing efforts to reach an agreement.”


The Tigers, FSN Detroit and TV20 have agreed to boost Detroit's 2006 baseball television schedule by 15 games, including a simulcast of Monday's Opening Day game against the Chicago White Sox that will provide Detroit's audience with "free" TV coverage... Tigers fans get 'free' TV (Detroit News, Sat 4/8)


LPTV stations WUHQ-LP Channel 29 Grand Rapids and WHNE-LP Channel 32 Flint have become affiliates of the America One TV network. Traverse City's WLLZ-LP Channel 12 is also a full-time affiliate of America One.

WUHQ at one time was an affiliate of America's Outlet Store before becoming independent last May. WHNE, which just recently began operations, previously was airing programs from Urban America TV.


Tigers-A's Game Presented with Limited Commercials; Telecast Sprinkled with Fan, Player Vignettes
and July 4 Baseball Stories Narrated by Ernie Harwell

FSNOn Tuesday, July 4, the Detroit Tigers visit the Oakland Athletics in a game televised by FSN Detroit. The Independence Day telecast is billed as the FSN / Tigers Fourth of July Celebration, filled with many special features and presented with limited commercial interruptions. Live coverage begins at 4:30 PM with Tigers Pregame, followed by the Tigers- A's game at 5:00 PM.

During select between-inning breaks, FSN is providing a series of minute-long vignettes featuring players and fans talking about what Independence Day means to them. Also to be included in the telecast are mini-documentaries about the Fourth of July in baseball history, narrated by Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell.

“Baseball and the Fourth of July are emblematic of summertime in our country,” said Greg Hammaren, Vice President/General Manager, FSN Detroit. “We are proud to partner with the Tigers to provide fans this celebration of our national pastime.”


Local Broadcast Legend to Team with Greg Kelser

FSN Detroit and the Detroit Pistons have announced the hiring of George Blaha as the new play-by-play voice for the regional network's coverage in 2006-07. Blaha, beginning his 31st season as the “Voice of the Pistons”, teams with veteran analyst Greg Kelser for FSN's 40-game telecast schedule (37 regular season, 3 preseason). The Blaha-Kelser team makes its debut Oct. 16 when the Pistons host the Utah Jazz in preseason action.

"An entire generation of Pistons fans have grown up with George calling games. We're thrilled to bring his style and passion to our Pistons telecasts,” said Greg Hammaren, Vice President/General Manager, FSN Detroit. “His addition is a direct result of the strong partnership FSN enjoys with the Pistons organization.”

Blaha is the longest tenured play-by-play announcer in the state of Michigan following the retirement of legendary Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell. Blaha brings a high-energy style to go with his extensive basketball knowledge and demonstrates a true passion for Pistons basketball. His trademark colloquialisms such as, “two and twenty-two to play” and “a high glass gun that goes” have thrilled Pistons fans of all ages for three decades.

Blaha was the recipient of two prestigious industry honors in 2003. He was voted Michigan's best play-by-play announcer by statewide readers of the Detroit News and was also honored with the Ty Tyson Award for broadcasting excellence by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

Blaha also handles play-by-play duties for Pistons games televised by WMYD-TV20. He also hosts the “Pistons Weekly” television program that airs on FSN Detroit and has handled play-by-play duties for Michigan State football since 1971. Kelser begins his 10th season on FSN's Pistons coverage. A former NBA player (Pistons, Sonics) and a star on Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship team, Kelser has been part of Pistons television or radio coverage since 1988. He will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 30.


Six of Eight Games Televised Live; Two Games Streamed Live at msn.foxsports.com/regional/detroit

FSNFSN Detroit for the ninth consecutive year is the exclusive television home of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Football Finals. The 2006 edition is Friday, November 24 and Saturday, November 25 at Ford Field.

Six of the eight championship games are scheduled to be televised live. The other two games – Division 4 on Friday and Division 3 on Saturday – will be streamed live at msn.foxsports.com/regional/detroit, plus televised
on a same-day delay basis on FSN Detroit. FSN Detroit began carrying the state football finals in 1998, receiving a Michigan Emmy for its coverage of the 2002 title games.

Here is the lineup of the 2006 MHSAA Football Finals on FSN Detroit, available in more than 3.2
million cable and satellite homes throughout Michigan and portions of Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana:

Friday, November 24:

10:00 AM, LIVE: Division 8 Final – Crystal Falls Forest Park vs. New Lothrop
Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler Sideline: Shireen Saski

1:00 PM, LIVE: Division 2 Final – Muskegon vs. Warren De La Salle
Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler Sideline: Shireen Saski

4:30 PM, LIVE: Division 6 Final – Saginaw Nouvel vs. Inkster
Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick Sideline: Shireen Saski

10:30 PM, delay: Division 4 Final – Coopersville vs. Zeeland West
Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick Sideline: Shireen Saski
(Division 4 game available live online at 7:30 PM at www.FoxSports.com/Detroit;
FSN telecast is replayed Sunday, Nov. 26 at 10:00 AM).

Saturday, November 25:

10:00 AM, LIVE: Division 7 Final – Muskegon Catholic Central vs. Grass Lake
Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: Stan Edwards Sideline: Shireen Saski

1:00 PM, LIVE: Division 1 Final – Macomb Dakota vs. Rockford
Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: Stan Edwards Sideline: Shireen Saski

4:30 PM, LIVE: Division 5 Final – Menominee vs. Madison Heights Madison
Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: Rob Rubick Sideline: Shireen Saski

11:30 PM, delay: Division 3 Final – East Grand Rapids vs. Farmington Hills Harrison
Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick Sideline: Shireen Saski
(Division 3 game available live online at 7:30 PM at www.FoxSports.com/Detroit;
FSN telecast is replayed Sunday, Nov. 26 at 12:30 PM.)


Broadcasting & Cable:

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters is calling the Michigan video franchising bill that passed Dec. 12 a big victory, particularly given a provision that prevents their signal from being converted to lower resolution. MAB has been supporting the bill, which helps telcos get into the video and broadband business by standardizing the franchise process, saying it creates another outlet for its TV station signals. But it is particularly pleased with a provision that prevents new franchisees from downgrading a broadcast signal. MAB says it is the first such protection of the broadcast signal in a state franchise reform bill.

"The bill also guarantees that providers cannot tamper with the quality of the broadcast signals," said MAB President Karole White, "which is especially important for consumers who've made significant investments in high definition television systems.”

The bill states that an alternative video service provider will transmit, "without degradation, the signals a local broadcast station delivers to the provider." At the moment, the alternative is principally AT&T... Michigan Broadcasters Praise Franchise Reform (Tue 12/19)







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