Disney/ABC Television Group Garners 69 Emmy Nominations

The Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) captured 69 Primetime Emmy nominations, it was announced today by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This total reflects nominations for ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC.com and Disney Channel programming.

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ABC Owned Television Stations Group President Walter Liss Retires; WABC President Rebecca Campbell Named Successor

Esteemed television executive Walter Liss today announced his retirement as President, ABC Owned Television Stations Group.  He will immediately move into a consultancy role for the Station Group to assist in the transition.

In commenting on the announcement, Robert A. Iger, president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company said, “I’ve worked with Walter for almost 25 years, and I know him to be a one of a kind person: a great executive who knows his business well and has always had a passion for it. He is a no-nonsense guy, who ran the best station group in the country, and loved every minute he spent in the station business! We are all grateful for his leadership, his contributions and his friendship, and we are thankful for ensuring our stations are so well-positioned for the future. Although he has definitely earned the right to retire, he will be sorely missed.”

“I’ve been in this wonderful business for over 50 years.   More than 30 of those years have been with the best Company in the world…The Walt Disney Company,” added Mr. Liss.  “Early next year I’ll go to work on my golf game.  All those guys on the Champions Tour better watch out.”

Walter C. Liss was appointed president, ABC Owned Television Stations Group, in May 1999.  In this role he had chief management responsibility for the 10 ABC owned television stations and for the Group’s ABC National Television Sales rep firm.

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WABC-TV New York Launches Retrans Offensive Against Cablevision

As we first reported back in December, WABC-TV, a member of the Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) had begun preparing for a standoff with Cablevision in New York as its retransmission contract comes up for negotiations by registering for a series of domain names which had inadvertently put its agenda on public display for a couple of hours until we brought to the public’s attention.

Tonight, just before the season finale of The Bachelor began, WABC-TV ran a commercial in New York City taking an offensive stance, showing a montage of television programming carried by the station, including local news, which would potentially be lost if Cablevision opts to remove WABC-TV from its lineup.

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Disney/ABC Television Group Receives Three Golden Globe Award Nominations

The ABC Television Network’s “Modern Family,” the critically acclaimed comedy series that takes an honest and often hilarious look at the complexities of modern day families, received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Television Series Comedy or Musical. The series has also been recently honored with an AFI Award as one of the Top 10 television programs of 2009, in addition to three Writers Guild Awards nominations, including Best Comedy Series and Best New Series nominations.

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‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ Revamps Money Tree, Allowing Hot Seat Contestants to Walk Away with Even More Money

NEW YORK, Sept. 14  — “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” with Emmy Award-winning host Meredith Vieira is making big changes to the show’s “money tree,” giving hot seat contestants the opportunity to win even more money this season! Contestants will still face 15 questions to win the top prize of $1-million, but will be able to reach the higher level questions faster as the monetary values of the first eight questions will increase. The new “money tree” will take effect on Monday, September 14.

Millionaire will no longer start with the first three questions being valued at $100, $200 and $300. Instead, contestants will jump right into big-action game play with their very first question valued at $500. Contestants will reach the first safety level of $5,000 (formerly $1,000) after correctly answering the first five questions. At that point, they are guaranteed to win at least $5,000 from their hot seat appearance. The monetary values for the next three questions will also increase, leading up to the next safety level of $25,000.

“We’ve launched our own little stimulus package this season on Millionaire,” said Michael Davies, Executive Producer on the hit game show. “Regular Americans from all over the country have always been the stars of our show. This season, we’ll be giving them the opportunity to win even more money in the Millionaire hot seat,” he added.

Here is a rundown of the newly revamped Millionaire “money tree”:
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Disney-ABC Television Group Casting Presents Its Eighth New York Actors Showcase

As part of its continuing effort to find and develop culturally and ethnically diverse talent and actors with disabilities, the Disney ABC Television Group’s Casting Project will hold its latest showcase featuring 12 promising actors. The showcase, the eighth one to be held in New York, will take place at Theatre Row’s Acorn Theatre, 410 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues, on Thursday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m., ET.

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The Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) Scores 19 Daytime Emmy Awards

The Disney/ABC Television Group received 19 Daytime Emmy Awards at the 36th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards presented this weekend, August 29th and 30th.

ABC’s “The View” received four Daytime Emmy Awards and made history when the honor of Outstanding Talk Show Host was bestowed on Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd. It was the first time in the 36 year history of NATAS that multiple talk show hosts were bestowed this honor. The women of “The View” have been nominated for 12 consecutive years in this category; this was their first win.

Other wins for ABC’s “The View” include Outstanding Directing in a Talk Show/Morning Program for Director, Mark Gentile; Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling and “Outstanding Achievement in Makeup.

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DATG, Hearst Corp and NBC Universal Announce Joining of A&E Networks and Lifetime Entertainment

New York/Burbank, August 27, 2009 – The Disney-ABC Television Group, Hearst Corporation and NBC Universal today announced an agreement for A&E Television Networks to acquire Lifetime Entertainment Services. The parent company will retain the name A&E Television Networks, LLC (AETN), and its subsidiary will retain the name Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in 2009. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Abbe Raven, president and chief executive officer of AETN, will serve as head of the combined company following the closing. Raven has been recognized with numerous industry awards for building some of the most prominent brands in media including A&E Network, History and The Biography Channel, and for spinning them off into successful global franchises. Andrea Wong, president and CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services, will continue to head the Lifetime Networks and will report to Raven following the closing. Robert DeBitetto, president and general manager, A&E Network and The Biography Channel, and Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager, History and History International, will both continue to report to Raven and run their respective networks.

The new agreement will, upon closing, consolidate three of the nation’s top cable networks under single management while preserving the distinct brand identities of each network. In addition, the combined company will be a global media content company reaching over 250 million homes worldwide in more than 140 countries around the globe. AETN will now include: A&E Network, History, Lifetime Television, Lifetime Movie Network, Bio, History International, Lifetime Real Women, History en Español, Military History and Crime & Investigation Network. Combining the resources, libraries and multiple platforms of 10 brands, including more than 20 Web sites, the new company will be well positioned to create new opportunities for expansion and cross-promotion, as well as build upon the record of success and strengths across a broad variety of audiences, platforms and programming. The combination of these businesses is also expected to yield substantial cost efficiencies.

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In Case You Missed It, More D23 Expo Updates…

A few additional announcements surrounding the D23 Expo made yesterday:

– The Disney/ABC Television Group (DATG) detailed its plans for the Expo, which includes The ABCs of Disney  we first reported almost a week ago. You can see the details announced here.

– On that token, the screening/presentation of Prep & Landing has been scheduled to take place on Saturday at 5:30 PM in the ‘Walt Disney Studios Theater’

– As you probably are already aware, while the floor opens daily at 9 AM, D23 members have access to the floor beginning an hour earlier at 8 AM. It has been clarified that only one D23 membership per family is required for the entire group to get in at 8 AM.

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