Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 25, Issue 2, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Friday Morning January 4th, 2008
WGA Strike Central: Day 61
Did Leno break strike rules
on Wednesday?

Jay Leno admitted Wednesday night on the air during his first show back that he wrote his own monologue. That's looks to be in violation of strike rules of one of his unions, the WGA. Said Leno: "You know what I'm doing? I'm doing what I did the day I started. I write jokes and wake my wife up in the middle of the night and say, 'Honey, is this funny?' So if this monologue doesn't work it's my wife's fault. We are not using outside guys. We are following the guild thing... We can write for ourselves..."

Said LA Weekly's Nikki Finke: "Earth To Leno: That's not the way the WGA interprets its strike rules as spelled out here: 'The Strike Rules, among other provisions, prohibit Guild members from performing any writing services during a strike for any and all struck companies. This prohibition includes all writing by any Guild member that would be performed on-air by that member (including monologues, characters, and featured appearances) if any portion of that written material is customarily written by striking writers'. Now the question is what will the WGA do about it? Jay's in a tough spot, to be sure: after years of beating Dave week after week, Leno could fall to No. 2 now that he's doing The Tonight Show without his writing team because NBC won't bargain with the striking writers...What makes the situation even trickier is that Leno has been very supportive of his own picketing writers and the entire WGA since the strike began two months ago by delivering food and drinks to the scribes walking the line. So the WGA, which has made it clear it's picketing NBC and not Leno, may not want to make an example of a high-profile member like Jay for breaking its strike rules."

Latest network primetime schedule changes
Carat Programming's Broadcast and Video Beat reports the sole remaining original episode of ABC's Grey's Anatomy will now air on 1/10. The medical drama, which gets forced into strike-induced repeats, will move to Fridays at 8 p.m. The post-tornado and sole remaining original episode of Desperate Housewives will air this Sunday, 1/6. For CBS, new series Welcome to the Captain (formerly known as The Captain) along with the third season premiere of The New Adventures of Old Christine will now premiere on Monday, 2/4 instead of the previously scheduled date of 1/28, which happens to be the night of the annual State of the Union address. For Fox, the new reality series When Women Rule the World has been yanked from its midseason slate and will now launch at a later date. Prison Break returns to the schedule on Monday, 1/14 followed by the debut of Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles at 9 p.m. (Sara Connor will actually have a two-night premiere on 1/13 and 14. Prison Break's season finale will take place on 2/18 and the two-hour Sara Connor Chronicles finale will air on 3/3. New drama New Amsterdam will have its official time period premiere on Monday, 3/10 at 9 p.m. preceded by repeats of House which air at 8 p.m. New drama Canterbury's Law, will debut on Monday 4/14. New comedy The Return of Jezebel James will get a post-Idol sneak peek on Wednesday, 3/12 and will air on Friday nights as of 3/14 at 8:30 p.m. behind Til Death which also returns that night.
| See the updated January/February primetime grid and production status report |

Conan O'Brien comments
on strike during monologue

Conan O'Brien returned to the air after two months sidelined by the Writers Guild Strike. NBC offered a transcript of his opening comments: "Let's talk for a minute about the situation we find ourselves in. As you know, 2 months ago the Writers Guild of America went out on strike and we took our show "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" off the air in support of the writers. This has been a tough time not only for our show, but for a lot of people in the entertainment industry. Good people right now are out of work. And possibly worse, with all the late night shows off the air, Americans have been forced to read books and occasionally even speak to one another, which has been horrifying. We're back now but sadly, we do not have our writers with us. I want to make this clear, I support their cause - these are very talented, very creative people who work extremely hard and I believe what they're asking for is fair. My biggest wish is that they get a great deal very quickly and get back here because we desperately need them on the show. Think about it: Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, The Masturbating Bear, The Walker Texas Ranger Lever - it's all writing. Well, not the Masturbating Bear. That's just instinct. Which brings us to the big 64,000 question of the evening: What do we do now?

Everywhere I go, "What are you gonna do?" It's one guy who follows me. Everywhere I go in the city for the last couple of days I hear, "What are you gonna do? You got a whole show to do. What are you gonna do? You got no writers." We have no writers and an hour show to do every night. Well ladies and gentlemen, we're going to start by talking about my beard. That's right, I know this looks fake. It looks like it ties on in the back, but believe it or not I actually grew a beard. Two birds, one stone. I never grew a beard in my entire life. I grew it out of solidarity for my writers, and to prove that I have some testosterone. The biggest comment I'm getting the last couple of days is that I look like the character of Kris Kringle in 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town.' I've been taking a lot of flak for this beard, but I think you'll find that if you look closely at this beard, it's actually quite amazing. Let's do that now in a quick Strike Beard Moment." O'Brien finished the top of the show by demonstrating his wedding ring spinning prowess and showing a video package of what he and his skeleton crew staff have been doing during the strike.

TV News ®

Landmark Communications
on the auction block

Landmark Communications is up for sale, although the company emphasized that it may sell some assets and keep others, depending on market conditions. The private company, which had an estimated 1.75 billion in revenues in 2006. The crown jewel is The Weather Channel, one of the last remaining major independent cable networks. The New York Times quoted one expert who estimated the cable net and its related assets, including Weather.com, could fetch five billion bucks. That would be a premium price for a primo property. Lehman Brothers analyst Anthony DiClemente said the high valuation is being driven in part by the website. "According to Nielsen/NetRatings, the Weather.com website saw 32 million visitors in November, which makes it the 18th largest site in the US. If we assume the average EBITDA multiple of 23x for the sale of The Weather Channel cable network, resulting in a price tag of roughly three billion, this would imply a value of roughly two billion for Weather.com," he said.

There have reportedly been numerous offers over the years from major media companies interested in purchasing The Weather Channel, but until now Landmark's principal owner, retired Chairman and CEO Frank Batten Sr., pictured, has said no. Now the Batten family is entertaining the possibility of selling all or part of the company. "At this early stage, we cannot speculate on where this process will lead," said Frank Batten Jr. the current Chairman and CEO. Landmark owns two television stations: KLAS-TV (Ch. 8, CBS) Las Vegas and KTVF-TV (Ch 5, CBS) Nashville. It also owns nine daily newspapers and more than 100 non-daily and specialty publications. JPMorgan Chase is advising the company on selling The Weather Channel. Lehman Brothers is advising the company regarding sales of the other properties.

TVBR observation: This seems like an inopportune time to be trying to sell major media properties, particularly daily newspapers, but The Weather Channel is such a rare prize that it will certainly ignite a spirited bidding war. We note, though, that Frank Batten Sr. is up there in years and you can't put off estate planning forever. Also, he has been very active in recent years in giving away large chunks of his wealth to charity. Selling The Weather Channel, if not all or most of the company, will produce liquidity that even a billionaire sometimes has need of. Who will be bidding for The Weather Channel? Immediate speculation focused on News Corporation, NBC Universal and Comcast.

Things that DID happen in 2007
Yesterday we looked at all the things that did not happen last year. In a lot of ways, 2007 was almost a transition year, a preparation for 2008. A number of events that transpired or continued into the year remain unresolved and will be front and center as time moves ahead. But that's not to say nothing happened -- in fact, quite a few notable events went into the history books. Here are 17 of the most significant:
| The List |

TV stands to gain most from elections
The Project for Excellence in Journalism has brought forth some numbers from 2006 to shine a light on where in the media campaign cash is likely to be headed in 2008. The spotlight is clearly focused on broadcast television, with radio getting the biggest share of the remainder. PEJ says television raked in 72% of the political take in 2006, followed by radio with 11.8%, cable/satellite TV (6.6%), newspapers (4.8%), billboards (2.5%) and finally, the Internet (1.8%). As for the broadcast television cash, almost all of it is targeted to specific stations rather than placed with one of the networks. That is attributable to the battleground effect, as national funds seek out the heat, and as local politicians in difficult races redouble their fund-raising efforts and fund-spending habits to remain competitive. Other media have their uses, and also benefit from the battleground effect as campaigns, along with traditional year-round advertisers, put the squeeze on available inventory.

TVBR observation: The internet remains a growth category. To date, it has been used more as a source of information and a fund-raising tool; political campaigns seem to be behind the curve in figuring out how best to get their message out via paid internet advertising. But just as the Howard Dean campaign first exploited the fund-raising aspect back in 2003/2004, it is probably just a matter of time before somebody, somewhere figures out a way to effectively spend money there. When that happen, watch for the medium to climb up the rankings list.

CBS merging CSTV into CBS Sports
CBS Corporation announced that it will integrate the combined businesses of its College Sports Television Networks (CSTV) division into the operations of CBS Sports. The reorganization, effective immediately, will be overseen by Sean McManus, President, CBS News and Sports, and the day-to-day operations of CSTV will now be overseen by Tony Petitti, Executive Vice President and Executive Producer, CBS Sports. "CSTV is one of the great brands in college sports and a real asset to CBS Corporation. It has developed tremendously since we acquired it in 2005, thanks to the vision and hard work of Brian Bedol and his team. We are confident that it is now ready to become a part of the peerless CBS Sports division, joining a tremendous slate of college athletics and an industry-leading production team. I want to thank Brian for all he has done with CSTV, and I look forward to working with Sean and Tony as we bring this extraordinary brand to the next level," said CBS Corporation CEO Les Moonves. CSTV's platforms for distribution include CSTV, a national cable network, televising regular-season and championship events for 35 men's and women's college sports; CSTV.com and its network of nearly 215 official athletic sites; CSTV XXL and All Access, broadband services providing live and streaming audio and video of more than 10,000 events annually; as well as satellite television and radio, in-flight entertainment, wireless networks and more.

Ad Business Report TM

NBC to hold digital Out-of-Home Upfront
As the WGA strike rolls on, it's growing more likely that the big broadcast networks will scrap their May upfront primetime presentations and focus their efforts on other properties like digital and out of home. Indeed, as AdAge reports NBC Universal will hold its first "upfront" presentation for its digital out-of-home assets 1/16, hoping to get more advertisers to consider NBC for placing ads on TV screens in supermarkets, near gas-station pumps, in taxis and arenas. Set to be held in Studio 8H, the presentation be in front of 200 advertisers and buyers, the story said. Mark French, SVP/GM, NBC Everywhere, said content and ads on the out of home screens (10 venues strong) should create 3 billion impressions this year.

JC Penney opens review for Hispanic account
JC Penney has initiated a review for its 32 million U.S. Hispanic account after splitting with Dieste Harmel & Partners Dallas. The marketer expects to pick a new agency in March, says AdAge. The retailer is putting together a list of three to five Hispanic shops for the pitch, said Olivia Vela, multicultural marketing director at JC Penney. The review will include the Vidal Partnership, an independent Hispanic agency based in New York, and Conill, Saatchi & Saatchi's Hispanic agency, she said. Saatchi, part of Publicis Groupe, is JC Penney's general-market agency, and the retailer moved its account for Puerto Rico to Badillo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, San Juan, in December. The account includes Hispanic media.

NBC Agency selects Mediaport for CES display
The NBC Agency announced they have chosen Mediaport, a leader in music/media burning and digital download kiosks, to create both the hardware and software solutions needed by NBC for the company's CES display. Mediaport will be providing both the kiosks and digital software solutions to power the NBC Digital content portion of their 2008 CES display. All CES attendees will be able to download NBC programs such as 30 Rock, Project Runway and 12 Corazones from one of the many Mediaport kiosks which will be located throughout NBC Universal's CES booth. Under the partnership agreement, customers downloading music on Mediaport kiosks called Mediaport ATM's at hundreds of retail locations have been able see advertising content from NBC promoting popular programs such as Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Conan O'Brien, Last Call with Carson Daly and MSNBC.

Media Markets & Money TM
Close encounter in Bakersfield
Fisher Communications' 55M acquisition of KBAK-TV CBS/29 and KBFX-CA Fox/27 is closed. The seller was Westwind Communications, which according to the contract will hang around for awhile to provide consulting services. Fisher announced that its VP/News Troy A. McGuire will continue in that role and will also take over as GM of the two Bakersfield properties from Wayne Lansche, who is retiring.

Washington Business Report TM
FOIA clears WH foyer forya
President Bush kicked off the new year, in part, by signing into law bipartisan legislation strengthening the Freedom of Information Act. The thrust of the bill is to help citizens and journalists take advantage of their rights under the existing law in the face of a stonewalling government entity without being forced into costly and time-consuming litigation. The Society of Professional Journalists explained, "It creates an independent ombudsman to resolve citizen disputes, helps agencies strengthen FOIA, creates a system for the public to easily track the status of requests and allows requesters to more effectively recover legal costs incurred when agencies improperly deny requests." SPJ President Clint Brewer said, "Unfettered access to the records of government is a cornerstone for a free press, as well as a sound, civil society. The American people have a right to know about the actions of their government, and those actions are most often told through the public record."

Cable Business Report TM
Crown Media settles with option holder
Hallmark Channel owner Crown Media Holdings says it has reached an agreement with the National Interfaith Cable Coalition (NICC) to settle claims relating to NICC's equity interest in Crown Media. NICC has relinquished its right to force Crown Media to buy back 4.3 million shares of its stock held by NICC as well as its right to name a director to the Crown Media board. The settlement was announced as a long-running programming deal with NICC expired with the beginning of the New Year. The Hallmark Channel no longer carries the one hour Monday-Friday Faith & Values program "New Morning" and has cut from six hours to two the Sunday morning block of Faith & Values programming produced by NICC. So, while NICC will still have programming time on the Hallmark Channel, that has been reduced from 11 hours weekly to two.

Entertainment Business Report TM
Spanish "Housewives" debuts next week
Univision announced that the series premiere of "Amas de Casa Desesperadas," the re-shot Spanish version of the critically acclaimed worldwide hit "Desperate Housewives," will air on Thursday, January 10th, at 10:00 pm ET. The original production created specifically for the US Hispanic audience will feature an all-star cast of television and film actors of Spanish-language entertainment. Although based on the ABC series, the scripts have been reworked and the characters recast to appeal to Univision's target audience.

Ratings & Research
Simulcast scores big numbers
Saturday's big NFL primetime game which saw the New England Patriots complete a perfect season by defeating the New York Giants was the week's #2 show in the ratings...and #3 as well. The CBS simulcast of the coverage originating from the NFL Network edged out the identical simulcast (except for some of the commercials) on NBC. But the Peacock net had the week's #1 with its exclusive Sunday primetime NFL broadcast of Tennessee at Indianapolis. Combined, of course, the CBS-NBC simulcast would have been far and away the most watched show of the week, not to mention adding in the folks who watched on the originating cable net. For the week, the unusual football broadcast helped make CBS the top network in Households, while NBC claimed the 18-49 demo. For HH the Eye net had a 5.3 rating and 10 share, followed by NBC 5.1/9, Fox 3.8/7, ABC 3.3/6, Univision 1.5/3, CW 1.1/2, MyNetworkTV 0.7/1, Telemundo 0.5/1, Ion 0.4/1, TeleFutura 0.3/1 and Azteca America 0.1/0. For the key 18-49 demo, it was NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, Univision, CW, a tie by Telemundo and MyNetworkTV, TeleFutura, and a tie by Azteca America and Ion.
| Here are the week's top 20 shows |

Stock Talk
Broadcast stocks take a dive
Broadcasting stocks were nearly all lower as Wall Street closed mixed ahead of Friday's Labor Department report on December jobs data. The Dow Industrials crept up 13 points to 13,057, but the Nasdaq Composite was down slightly and the S&P 500 dead flat for the day.

The TVBR Television Index declined 2.799, or 2.9%, to 94.820. Launched just this week, the new index has so far gone nowhere but down. Media General had another tough day, plunging 12.3%. Young was down 8.4%.


Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change





Lincoln Natl.






















Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















Ion Media




Equity Media EMDA 3.30 unch

Saga Commun.




















Gen. Electric








Google GOOG











Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




Wash. Post












Journal Comm.










Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

This is your column, so send your comments and
a photo to [email protected]

Below the Fold

Cable Business Report
Crown Media settles
Hallmark Channel owner says it has reached an agreement..

Ad Business Report
NBC to hold digital
Out-of-Home Upfront, As the WGA strike rolls on, networks will scrap their May upfront....

Media Markets & Money
Close encounter in Bakersfield
Fisher's 55M acquisition of CBS/29 and Fox/27 is closed...

Ratings & Research
Simulcast scores
Big numbers for Saturday's NFL primetime game CBS simulcast edged out NBC...

Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Jim Carnegie
[email protected]

TV Media Moves

DC bound
Effective Monday, January 7th, Cynné Simpson will join WJLA-TV (Ch. 7, ABC) Washington, DC as a weekend news anchor. She will be the solo anchor for the Saturday evening newscast and will join Leslie Cook on Sunday evenings. In addition to her weekend duties, Simpson will report for the station on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Simpson was previously an anchor at WGCL-TV Atlanta.

Perry moving on
Don Perry announced that he is stepping down as President and CEO of Clear Channel Television to pursue the next phase of his career. A deal is pending for Clear Channel Communications to sell its TV division, although the buyer has indicated a reluctance to go to closing. Craig Millar, Sr. VP, Southern Region of Clear Channel Television has been named to assume Perry's duties on an interim basis.

Heading to Seattle
Maria Arcega-Dunn has joined KCPQ-TV (Ch. 13, Fox) Seattle as anchor of the "Q13 Fox News This Morning." She spent the last six years as an anchor/reporter at XETV-TV (Ch. 6, Fox) San Diego-Tijuana.

Duop for Carter
Hearst-Argyle Television has named Jim Carter President and General Manager of its Orlando duopoly, WESH-TV (Ch. 2, NBC) and WKCF-TV (Ch. 18, CW), succeeding Bill Bauman, who announced his retirement last month. Hearst-Argyle has not yet named a successor to Carter as President and GM of WLKY-TV (Ch. 32, CBS) Louisville.

Upped at Fisher
Randa Minkarah has been promoted to VP/Market Development for Fisher Communications. In addition to her marketing and research responsibilities, Minkarah will assume corporate responsibilities for Fisher's Univision affiliated stations operating in Seattle, Portland and Yakima. Minkarah joined Fisher Communications in 2002 as the General Sales Manager of KOMO-TV Seattle, the company's flagship television station, and has most recently served as the Director of Market Development for Fisher Communications.

More News Headlines

Media General Inc. was one of the companies who benefited greatly from the FCC's 12/18/07 decision to allow numerous existing newspaper/broadcast in-market combinations to continue, a plank of the Commission's wide-ranging activity that day which was apparently added at the last minute over the protests of the Democratic commissioners. The Associated Press says that MGI did more than sit back and wait for a ruling from the FCC -- it put DC lobbying firm Dow Lohnes Government Strategies to work on the issue. The relationship, which is required to be made public, was formally announced 12/4/07.

Chick-fil-A launches online video contest
Vitrue, Inc., the video-centric social media company known for connecting brands with engaged audiences, announced that Chick-fil-A has chosen it to power the restaurant chain's biggest foray into social media to date. As the chain celebrates its 40th anniversary, Chick-fil-A and Vitrue have launched the "Biggest Chick-fil-A Fan" video contest and social media Web site at chick-fil-a.com/biggestfan. Vitrue has developed this branded video community to encourage enthusiastic customers to upload their own videos and ultimately engage more closely with the Chick-fil-A brand. The site features a flexible suite of tools for consumers to create and submit videos and content. Fans can submit a video of up to one minute in length that creatively pleads their case as to why they believe they are the brand's most passionate fan. Videos can be submitted through 1/15; at stake is a grand prize featuring 40 months of free Chick-fil-A Combo Meals. In close partnership with The Foundry Agency, Vitrue also worked to create the Biggest Fan promotional platform in conjunction with the launch of Chick-fil-A's 40th Anniversary campaign this year. The Foundry Agency and Vitrue together developed a strategy and solution leveraging user-generated content to provide Chick-fil-A's biggest fans with a voice-and video. On November 13, the site launched with a video from President and COO Dan Cathy appealing to "Raving Fans" to share their love of Chick-fil-A with the world.

RBR - Radio News

November radio numbers look bleak
But crammed television advertising schedules may help out the older medium when December's results are released. The good news for radio is: easy comps for November 2008. But that's about all you can say for the pothole that is the Radio Advertsing Bureau report on Miller Kaplan Arase & Co. numbers for the month of November 2007. Local revenue was down at -5%, national was down at -15%, a combined drop of -7%. The usual perkiness in the non-spot category helped a little, but it remains a fringe revenue stream, and the 14% gain it contributed to the bottom line massaged the bottom line up to -6%. Anthony DiClemente at Lehman Brothers said the results weren't unexpected, but even manage to edge beneath his company's projection of a 5% decline. He said that continuing challenges will also put December on the red side of the ledger, but predicted that tight television inventory will help hold the bleeding to -4% overall for both the final month of Q42007 as well as for the quarter as a whole.

TVBR Radar 2008
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

WGA Strike Central, Day 60
AMPTP: Strike now costing more than could have gained
The public war of words continues: AMPTP's website released a statement over the holidays, paired with a video listing numerous statistics and quotes from WGA leaders that back up its short, but direct comment: "It's official: The people in charge at the WGA have led working writers into a strike that has now cost those working writers more in salary and benefits than the WGA's organizers ever expected to gain from the strike. And the strike continues because the union's leaders are focused on jurisdictional issues that would expand their own power, at the expense of the new media issues that working writers care most about."
01/03/08 TVBR #1

It Didn't Happen in 2007
A lot of things happened last year, but a lot more things that might have happened did not. Here is our take on the most significant non-events of the year. You might call this the woulda-shoulda-coulda lists, except in some cases -- like the lack of any significant new indecency fines -- the non-event status is good thing., Here are 18 things that did not take place in this special report page of TVBR.
01/03/08 TVBR #1

The political windfall
year has arrived
Happy New Year 2008! Now get ready to count the money from what promises to be a political showdown where ad expenditures will easily break past records. Analyst Victor Miller and his Bear Stearns associate Tracy Young some time ago projected that political ad spending for the 2007-2008 cycle will total 2.5 billion bucks. That windfall will not be evenly divided, of course. Some TV groups are better positioned than others to cash in.

TVBR note: Based on their analysis, they project that the CBS O&Os will have the biggest haul. For the full analysis with stats see TVBR.
01/03/08 TVBR #1

Executive Comment
The truth about Minot
This is a note of personal thanks for being the first publication to step up and print the truth about the Minot "urban legend" (12/27/07 RBR #249). At the time of the incident, I was the Senior Vice President at Clear Channel overseeing a sixteen state territory called the Plains/Northwest and Minot was in my area of responsibility. Read full comment by Jay Meyers, Managing Director/COO, Cavalry Media Services, LLC in this report pg of RBR
01/03/08 RBR #1

WGA Strike Central, Day 54
Striking Writers with pilots pending write letter to AMPTP
On Christmas Eve, a letter signed by 127 striking writers with pilots pending was emailed to CEOs and almost 200 studio and network TV development execs of the AMPTP. The letter was acquired by LA Weekly: "These execs are our partners in these projects so we wanted to reach out in an effort to get the AMPTP back to the table while there is still a chance of getting pilot season back on track....

TVBR note: There is more on the strike and it is not getting any better.
12/28/07 TVBR #250

TVBR Classifieds

New Positions
Available in TVBR Classifieds.
See TV Careers.

Hard finding that key person
to fill the important position at your organization? TVBR Classifieds, Results with Service. Contact April McLynn at [email protected]

Find Your TV Career

Post Your Companies Job Openings

Help Desk

Contact Us
Advertising Opportunities
Submit a news story

Having problems with our epapers?
Please send Questions/Concerns to:
[email protected]

If you wish to remove your name completely from our database use this link __UNSUB__

©2008 Radio Business Report, Inc. All rights reserved.
Television Business Report -- 2050 Old Bridge Road, Suite B-01, Lake Ridge, VA 22192 -- Phone: 703-492-8191