Short Takes

'Broadway' plugs into Microsoft; UPN sees jump

Broadway Video, the company behind “Saturday Night Live” and “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” has inked a deal with the Microsoft Network to produce original programming for the online venue. Under terms of the deal, Broadway Video will produce a comedy series slated to bow in June. Production will be housed at Broadway Interactive Group’s studios in New York.

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United Paramount Network logged a modest 3% overall audience gain in households for the just-completed 1996-97 TV season, scoring a 3.3 average in primetime after tallying 3.2 the year before. However, in the 18-49 demo, UPN showed no gains, though it didn’t suffer any loss. It merely kept pace with its 1995-96 average of 1.9. The network was, however, boasting on Thursday that its Monday comedy block improved 73% in females 12-24; that its Tuesday lineup made ratings gains in every key demo; and that it increased its Wednesday household viewership by 37% (rising to 3.7/6 from a 2.7/5) year-to-year.

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Century Theatres is trumpeting plans to add two new theaters in their recently announced expansion into West Texas. The Century Wichita Falls 14 breaks ground in September for a May 1998 opening. The Century Amarillo is set for a similar construction timetable.

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Hearst Magazines tapped GQ executive editor David Granger as the new editor-in-chief of its struggling Esquire magazine. Granger, at GQ since 1991, fills a post held for the last three years by Edward Kosner, who left in early May, and will take over next week from acting editor Randall Rothenberg, who also was a candidate for the top post. It’s unclear whether Rothenberg will remain as editorial director of the monthly.

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The Recording Industry Assn. of America signed up Cary Sherman as the trade group’s new general counsel. “Cary is a nationally respected lawyer who has campaigned to protect the rights of artists and record companies for more than 20 years,” said RIAA chairman Jason Berman Thursday. Sherman joins RIAA from the Washington law firm of Arnold & Porter, where she headed the intellectual property and technology practice group. During his time at Arnold & Porter, Sherman served as an outside attorney for RIAA.

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