EmptyNEW DESK FOR FALLON
NBC is expected to officially announce today that Jimmy Fallon will succeed Conan O'Brien as host of "Late Night" next year. O'Brien is relocating from his 12:35 a.m. slot into the 11:35 p.m. period after the retirement of "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, announced in 2004. NBC's upfront presentation to advertisers takes place today in New York.
ROBERTS OUT AT GSN
Jamie Roberts has stepped down as head of programming at GSN. Roberts said Friday that he is launching an independent production firm based in Los Angeles that will focus on cross-platform programming for the global market. The company has signed a first-look production deal with GSN. A search for his replacement is under way, with Roberts staying in his current role as senior vp programming until his successor is found. Roberts — the latest in a line of executives to depart the network since David Goldhill became CEO in August — said he had been mulling the change for some time.
'GREY'S' A DEMO WINNER FOR ABC
"Grey's Anatomy" halted its post-strike declines Thursday and led ABC to a narrow victory over CBS. "Grey's" (15.6 million viewers, 6.1 preliminary adults 18-49 rating and a 16 share) was on par with last week's series low, as was lead-in "Ugly Betty" (8 million, 2.4/7). At 10 p.m., "Lost" (11.3 million, 4.9/13) climbed a slight 4% to win the hour. Coming in second in the demo but first in total viewers, CBS won 8 p.m. with "Survivor" (12.7 million, 4.1/12), which was down a notch from last week.
WASHINGTON NOT A 'GREY'S' FAN
Isaiah Washington has filed a complaint with SAG over ABC's use of his picture in Thursday's episode of "Grey's Anatomy." The mug of Washington's Dr. Preston Burke was featured in a "newspaper article" about the character receiving a prestigious award. But Washington, who left the show in 2007, claims producers failed to get consent for the use of the picture. Washington's attorney, Peter Nelson, sent notices to ABC and SAG indicating the alleged inappropriate use of Washington's image, the actor's manager Howard Bragman said. "They have the rights of the character to advance the story, but not the image," he said, adding that what he expects out of this debacle is a "financial settlement."
DISCOVERY DELAYS IPO
Discovery Communications is delaying a deal that will take it public by a quarter, according to a regulatory filing. Discovery Holding and Advance/Newhouse Programming expect to combine their stakes in the to create a publicly traded company in the third quarter. The filing didn't specify a reason, but the market for initial public offerings has been weak.
Cablevision earns upgrade
Pali Research analyst Richard Greenfield upgraded shares of Cablevision Systems from "sell" to "neutral," despite what he called a "rising Dolan discount," a reference to the cable operator's controlling shareholders. Greenfield cited strong first-quarter earnings and the likelihood of lower capital spending needs than he previously predicted.
SCRIPPS CLEAR FOR SPLIT
The board of E.W. Scripps has approved a planned split into two public companies, effective July 1. The split still needs government regulatory approval. After the transaction, Scripps Networks Interactive will house the firm's cable networks and online shopping sites Shopzilla and uSwitch. E.W. Scripps, on the other hand, will operate 10 TV stations and newspapers in 15 markets.