With much fanfare, ABC announced last June that it had a deal with Madonna’s Maverick Prods. The first project was going to be a four-hour miniseries biography imaginatively dubbed “Madonna: The Early Years.” However, Wired hears ABC Prods. and Maverick are at loggerheads and we may never get to see how the Material Girl blossomed into a tarty media mogul chanteuse.
This isn’t the only Maverick TV project that’s had problems hitting the right notes. A demi-monde newsmag called “Peep Show” that Madonna’s company was developing for HBO may also be in trouble — the pilot didn’t pass muster — and the project’s future is in doubt.
A NEW PAYDAY FOR WALTERS
People close to the ABC News superstar Barbara Walters say she wants to renegotiate her contract in the wake of Diane Sawyer’s $ 7 million deal. Walters , who was the first news star to break the $ 1 million barrier, is already the Alphabet Web’s highest paid news superstar, reportedly making upwards of $ 10 million. However, between “20/20” and her primetime celeb specials, Walters has been one of the network’s most profitable properties. With Sawyer doubling her salary in her last go around, Walters has told associates she thinks she deserves a raise too.
TURNER’S OLYMPIAN NETWORK GOAL
Right after NBC announced it would take a cable partner in the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, the following scenario started making the rounds: It’s no secret that Ted Turner had desperately wanted a piece of the premier international sporting event being held on his Atlanta home turf. Getting shut out of the Games by NBC, veteran Turner-watchers postulated, would ignite the cable magnate’s simmering network ambitions.
The upshot? The Mouth of the South might be driven to pay the kind of premium price NBC parent General Electric would demand for the web.
ADVERTISERS GO HOLLYWOOD
A consortium of bluechip advertisers called Television Production Partners, which includes General Motors, AT&T and MacDonald’s among others, is taking quiet steps toward becoming an advertiser-controlled studio. The collective was formed last April as an attempt by advertisers to increase their muscle in the programming arena. TPP toppers Jack Myers and David Houle told Wired that among other projects, they’ve got two vehicles coming up this spring. TPP’s first outing will be a telepic “The Hank Aaron Story,” a co-venture with Mundy Lane Prods. skedded for TBS next month. The second venture is the “World Music Awards ,” which ABC will telecast during the May sweeps. “We’re starting out focusing on specials and miniseries,” says Myers. “But 12 to 18 months down the road we want to expand into series TV. We feel we have to walk before we can run.”