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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 23, Issue 228, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning November 22nd, 2006

TVBR returns Monday, November 27th


The offices of RBR/TVBR will be closed Thursday, November 23, and Friday, November 24 in observance of Thanksgiving.


TV News ®

Third Circuit is
malfunction junction

Viacom's CBS is not giving up its challenge of a 550K fine leveled against it for the airing of the infamous Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction during the Super Bowl halftime show back in 2004. Neither is the FCC giving any ground. CBS says that the Commission has failed to produce any evidence whatsoever that anybody at CBS had any knowledge of the incident beforehand. Further, comprised of an elapsed time period of nine-sixteenths of a second, it argued that it certainly met the long-standing fleeting and isolated incident standard, and should not be subject to an indecency charge. It argues that Jackson and accomplice Justin Timberlake devised the stunt in secret on their own, and that regardless, the long-distant and brief camera shot was "...neither explicit nor graphic." The FCC disagrees. Spokesperson Clyde Ensslin said, "CBS continues to ignore the voices of millions of Americans, Congress and the Commission by arguing that Janet Jackson's halftime performance was not indecent. CBS believes there should be no limits on what can be shown on television even during family viewing events like the Super Bowl; we continue to believe they are wrong." The case is being heard before the Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia.

TVBR observation: Hey, there may be millions of Americans who were highly disturbed by the wardrobe malfunction, but there are no doubt also millions of Americans (though very few, evidently, in Congress) who think that the incident was no big deal. The flaw in the FCC's argument is that if millions of Americans believe that Walter Cronkite has three eyes, that does not make it so. The issue becomes a matter of law, and it seems utterly clear to us that FCC precedent favors the CBS argument in this case. It would be good news for CBS is we were sitting on the bench in Philly. But we're not, so stay tuned.

Viewers credited
with nixing Fox special

Rupert Murdoch may have been the final decision maker, but the American people are being given the credit for pressuring the News Corporation chief to cancel a book and TV special by O.J. Simpson. Meanwhile, Fox affiliates are relieved. "The cancellation by the Fox network of the O.J. Simpson special is a victory for the people who spoke out. It demonstrates the power of the people, whose voices were heard all the way to Hollywood and New York," said a statement from Pappas Broadcasting, which had been one of the first Fox affiliate groups to say it would not air the program. After giving credit to the viewers, the American people, Pappas also congratulated Fox officials for changing their minds and canceling the show. "After all, broadcasters have a dual duty. We are not just businesspersons - we are public trustees, as well. As such, we must remember that the values and standards of the public we serve must be paramount in our programming decisions. Put another way, our duties as broadcasters mean putting the public first and profits second. This special would have benefited only O.J. Simpson, who deserves nothing but contempt, and certainly no benefit," Pappas concluded. Esta Soler, President of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, also applauded the cancellation. "Fox Entertainment acted responsibly by canceling its planned O.J. Simpson special, sparing the nation the spectacle of a violent batterer discussing or recreating two murders he claims he did not commit. It is very good news that millions of outraged viewers and Fox's own affiliates prevailed," she said. In a new development yesterday, Denise Brown, sister of Simpson's murdered ex-wife, charged on the NBC "Today" show that her family was offered millions in "hush money" by News Corp. to let the book and TV special go forward. The company told the AP that the families of Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman, the other victim, were offered all profits from the endeavors, but denied that it amounted to "hush money."

TVBR observation: Usually, whenever a TV show or a book is cancelled because of public pressure, some group comes out complaining that free speech is being suppressed. In this case it was both a TV show and a book, but we are not aware of anyone stepping forward to complain of O.J. Simpson's "rights" being violated. Meanwhile, News Corporation still has a problem in that thousands and thousands of copies of the now-withdrawn book had already been shipped to bookstores. All have been recalled to be destroyed, but that has just increased the temptation for bookstore employees to slip one out in their backpack. Several were offered for sale on eBay before all auctions were cancelled (no doubt eBay got a call from News Corp's lawyers), but we suspect other channels will be found to sell them as collectors items.


Indy-Dallas game scored big for CBS
It wasn't the Super Bowl, but CBS is proudly declaring Sunday's (11/12) "The NFL On CBS" the biggest football broadcast since the last Super Bowl. In fact, since the last Super Bowl, only two sports events - the women's Olympic figure skating long and short programs - have drawn bigger audiences than the match-up of the Indianapolis Colts and Dallas Cowboys. The NFL game, which Dallas won 21-14 to give Indy its first loss of the season, scored a 14.7 rating and 27 share for CBS. Under the new flexible scheduling rules of the network contracts with the NFL, CBS Sports had protected the Colts-Cowboy game, which proved to be a wise move. CBS noted that the San Diego-Denver game, which NBC moved to its Sunday primetime slot, registered 9.5/15.

Deal to sell dealmaker
Daniels & Associates, an investment banking/brokerage firm specializing in broadcast, cable and telecommunications, announced a deal to be acquired by RBC Capital Markets. "This deal creates one of the strongest CME [communications, media & entertainment] investment banking teams on Wall Street," declared Peter de Vos, Head of RBC Capital Markets' US Investment Banking. Daniels & Associates will be renamed RBC Daniels and retain its current offices in Denver and New York. Daniels & Associates Chairman & CEO Brian Deevy will be CEO of RBC Daniels and Brad Busse will continue as President and COO.

Brownback contemplates
White House run

Sam Brownback (R-KS) is one of the many prominent politicians weighing the prospects of a presidential candidacy in the first wide-open election bonanza in decades (with neither an incumbent nor a sitting VP in the running). Brownback thinks there is "...room for a full-scale Ronald Reagan conservative in the field," according to the Associated Press. If he does run, it will put a candidate in the field who put his name on at least one significant piece of legislation affecting broadcasters. It was Brownback who brought the Broadcast Decency Act before the Senate in a bill which prevailed over similar legislation from Fred Upton (R-MI) which was approved by the House. Brownback's version called for a ten-fold increase in the FCC's fine ceiling to 325K, and after a lengthy period in congressional limbo, it suddenly made it to the floor and overwhelming approval last June. Brownback has also weighed against violent content in broadcast programming and on the relationship between the media and childhood obesity.

TVBR observation: The bottom line is that Brownback has not been shy about trying to leave his imprint on broadcast program content. Another litmus test of sorts was the Dorgan-Lott Resolution of Disapproval which repudiated the FCC's 6/2/03 ownership rulemaking. All but two of the Democrats present supported the measure, and the Democrats were joined by 12 Republicans in what could be seen as an anti-media consolidation vote. Brownback was not among the 12. Based on this, we'd say he's prone to grant the business operations of broadcasters as much freedom as possible, but will be looking over the shoulders of the programming department from time to time. At any rate, at this point in the race, Brownback would have to be considered a long shot.


Ad Business Report TM

Payless, Disney collaborate on new kids' footwear line
Disney and Payless ShoeSource plan to develop their first 'direct-to-retail' licensed footwear collection. The multi-year deal will bring together the Payless and Disney design teams to create a special line of fun, high-quality footwear styles featuring Disney and Disney Pixar characters. Payless will source, market and sell the line through its nearly 4,600 store chain and on Payless.com. Payless has sold Disney-themed footwear and accessories for several years; however, the two companies will now work more closely on shoe design, creative direction and retail marketing. The first products are currently scheduled to be in stores in Spring 2007 with an expanded line in time for next year's back-to-school season.


Media Business Report TM
New band to be discovered by
MTV2 "Dew Circuit Breakout 2006"

MTV2 announced the 2006 Dew Circuit Breakout. Since 2004, Dew Circuit Breakout, MTV2's partnership with Mountain Dew and FreedomZone, has become a music brand with a track record for finding the next big breakout band and providing a platform to give these bands their first taste of national, mainstream exposure. This up and coming battle of the bands competition has produced: Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, Hawthorne Heights and last year's winners of MTV2's Dew Circuit Breakout, HelloGoodbye. This year's lineup of semi-final Dew Circuit Breakout hopefuls include: Halifax, I am the Avalanche, Lorene Drive, Fallen From the Sky, Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer, and Brandtson. Prizes for this year's Dew Circuit Breakout include: 15,000 shopping spree and promotional opportunities at Guitar Center, a profile in a future issue of Alternative Press magazine, guest appearances and exposure on future MTV2 programs and tours, a secured opening slot to perform as part of The Bamboozle 2007 festival and more. Each of the six semi-final 2006 MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout bands competing this year are part of Mountain Dew's "Dew Music Circuit" - a touring circuit with over 200 bands and 300 radio stations nationwide. MTV2 will broadcast each Dew Circuit Breakout Challenge special on-air, followed by additional profiles on each band, interviews and performances on mtv2.com. The three finalists are determined by online voting and how well they did in the challenges. Each finalist is revealed at end of each Dew Circuit Breakout Challenge shows airing 11/27 thru 11/29. Music fans will have the opportunity to decide the winning band by voting online www.MTV2.com and wirelessly through Verizon, the exclusive wireless carrier, starting 12/2 in conjunction with the "MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout Live" special airing on MTV2 at 6:30pm. Online and wireless voting will conclude right before the start of the "MTV2's Dew Circuit Breakout Finale" from the MTV Times Square Studios at 6:30pm ET on 12/9. The winning MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout band will be chosen solely through viewer voting.


Washington Media Business Report TM
More stuff for the birds
With the FCC looking for further information on migrating bird mortality rates from flying into towers, the broadcasting industry seems to be wondering about a missing element from the mystery - the corpses of the collision victims. Attorney Peter Gutmann of law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice has looked over the pending FCC proceeding (which he says seems more like a notice of inquiry rather than a notice of proposed rulemaking, as it is labeled). Apparently the studies on which the issue is based are not all that reliable, with estimates of bird mortality running from 4M to 50M. He notes that industry organization say that even if you take the higher number as accurate, it still is a tiny percentage of the total 10B migratory bird population. Another study, however, seems to have turned up some corpses - the Michigan Public Safety Communications System searched for actual bird carcasses, and noted that there were 15x around towers with guy wires (as opposed to self-supporting towers), 4x around towers 1K feet or higher, and 3x around towers using steady red lights rather than an alternative lighting system.


Cable Business Report TM
Comcast strikes deal with Disney
Disney programming including ABC Television shows will be available on Comcast's VOD service, On Demand, under a deal announced late yesterday. The wide-ranging agreement also has Comcast acquiring the 39.5% stake in the E! Networks cable operation now owned by Disney for 1.23 billion bucks. This is the first time ABC broadcast programs will be available on VOD offered by any cable company. Several ABC primetime series will be offered free by Comcast in markets with ABC O&O stations. The companies also said they will work together to make promotional content from the Disney-ABC Television Group available on Comcast's leading broadband portal, comcast.net. ABC Network primetime and ABC News programs will be available free to Comcast's digital cable customers in the following markets served by ABC-owned stations: New York (WABC), Philadelphia (WPVI), Chicago (WLS), San Francisco (KGO), Houston (KTRK), Fresno, CA (KFSN), and Flint, MI (WJRT). Beginning with the Fall 2007 season, on-demand episodes of "Desperate Housewives," "Lost" and two new yet-to-be determined primetime series will be available the day after their network broadcast to Comcast consumers in the same owned-station markets. Desperate Housewives and Lost also will be available in HD VOD for Comcast customers with HD service. Also available in the same markets will be "World News with Charles Gibson," "Nightline" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Under the agreement, Comcast also plans to add certain shows from Disney Channel, SOAPnet, Toon Disney and ESPN libraries to Comcast's On Demand lineup in markets where those channels are offered.


Entertainment Media Business Report TM
Finding Mr. Right
Dating game shows have been around for a long time, but Lifetime Television has ordered up a new one which it thinks has a new twist which will attract viewers. "Gay, Straight or Taken?" requires a bit of women's intuition as one woman meets three men and through a series of dates, must decide who is gay, straight or already taken. Ultimately, she must select the one single man in order to win a luxurious dream prize for two or the prize goes to the man she incorrectly chooses. The series will premiere Monday, January 8, 2007 from 8:00 - 9:00 pm ET with two half-hour episodes on Lifetime Television. "Gay, Straight or Taken?" is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA. Joe Livecchi serves as executive producer.


Internet Media Business Report TM
MSpot introduces new mobile platform
mSpot unveiled its next-generation mobile entertainment platform with advancements that maximize the entertainment experience across networks and devices, and an expanding line up of music and video programming from global media brands. mSpot's platform delivers streaming music, movies, television, music videos, podcasts, concerts and a range of other entertainment services to mobile phones, combining traditional entertainment with live info, user-generated content and usage personalization. "White labeled" and mSpot branded services developed on top of the mSpot platform are already available across multiple carriers with the advantages of being "always connected" with no docking or synching. mSpot's multimedia platform lets consumers discover, play and interact with music, movies, videos and other multimedia content directly from a mobile phone. mSpot's platform now delivers mobile entertainment over the airwaves to data-capable phones - rather than a dedicated, "unconnected" device - so the user experience is enhanced through interactivity, personalization and social functionality.

CBS content big on YouTube
One month after launching the CBS Brand Channel on YouTube, CBS's daily feed of news, sports and entertainment clips have become some of the most widely viewed content on the site. CBS has uploaded more than 300 clips that have a total of 29.2 million views on YouTube, averaging 857,000 views per day, since the service launched on October 18. CBS has three of the top 25 most viewed videos this month (Nov.1-17), including clips from CBS's Tuesday night hit drama "NCIS," "Late Show with David Letterman," "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and "The Early Show." The CBS Brand Channel is also one of the most subscribed channels of all time with more than 20,000 users subscribing to CBS programming on YouTube since the channel launch last month.
| See the Top 15 CBS videos watched this month (as of 11/17) |


Ratings & Research
Dancing goes out big
The final results show for "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC grabbed the top spot in the most recent week's Nielsen ratings as former Dallas Cowboys star Emmitt Smith was declared the winner of the mirror-ball trophy. The final night of competitive dancing was right behind in the #2 spot, ahead of the CBS football post game show that followed the victory of Smith's former team over the Indianapolis Colts. CBS still managed to win the Household ratings crown for the week, while ABC grabbed the 18-49 title. In HH, CBS scored an 8.6 rating and 14 share, with ABC at 8.4/13, NBC 6.5/10, Fox 4.1/6, CW 2.4/4, Univision 1.9/3, Telemundo and i tied at 0.5/1, TeleFutura 0.4/1 and Azteca America 0.1/0.
| Here are the top 20 shows for the week |


Stock Talk
Market Googles higher
Google crossed the 500 bucks barrier on an otherwise lackluster trading day on Wall Street. The Dow Industrials inched up five points to close at 12,322.

Most TV stocks were slightly higher. Gray Television Class A rose 2.1%, while Gray common fell 0.5%. In theory, the two are of equal value, but Class A is now nearly a buck more than the common. Saga rose 1.6%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

5.18

+0.01

LIN TV

TVL

9.04

-0.01

Belo

BLC

18.28

-0.05

McGraw-Hill

MHP

66.00

+0.78

CBS CI. B CBS

29.63

-0.15

Media General

MEG

38.18

+0.08

CBS CI. A CBSa

29.63

-0.18

Meredith

MDP

53.59

+0.08

Clear Channel

CCU

35.32

+0.06

News Corp.

NWS

21.75

-0.11

Disney

DIS

33.23

+0.11

Nexstar

NXST

4.37

+0.07

Emmis

EMMS

12.34

-0.01

NY Times

NYT

24.37

+0.06

Entravision

EVC

7.41

unch

Ion Media

ION

0.73

-0.02

Fisher

FSCI

45.72

+0.45

Saga Commun.

SGA

8.98

+0.14

Gannett

GCI

60.49

+0.60

SBS

SBSA

3.90

-0.06

Gen. Electric

GE

35.80

-0.18

Scripps

SSP

49.02

+0.02

Granite

GBTVK

0.08

+0.02

Sinclair

SBGI

9.84

+0.08

Gray

GTN

5.97

-0.03

Time Warner

TWX

20.68

+0.10

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

6.92

+0.14

Tribune

TRB

32.47

+0.17

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

25.59

+0.24

Univision

UVN

35.43

unch

Journal Comm.

JRN

11.82

-0.08

Wash. Post

WPO

731.00

-3.60

Lincoln Natl.

LNC

65.20

-0.53

Young

YBTVA

2.25

-0.04


Bounceback

Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

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

Your conclusion to the OJ cancellation piece that: "We wonder why [the Powers That Be at Fox] didn't see this coming when they decided to publish the book and create the TV special to go with it" (11/21/06 TVBR #227) seems so naive. Unlike the notorious Mel Gibson and Michael Richards outbursts (which undoubtedly reflected true feelings), the decision to develop and air a prime-time TV mini-series isn't the spontaneous act of a single mind under stress. Rather, it takes months of intensive, coordinated planning by dozens of creators and decision-makers, all of whom are awash in ratings data and craft their product carefully to fulfill known audience expectations. Surely they were all keenly aware of the reaction their concept was likely to generate, had already factored in temporary negative publicity, and calculated that on balance the "buzz" would be worthwhile. To view their extensive preparations as misjudgment and the cancellation decision as a responsible reaction to an outcry that they hadn't forseen seems improbable, to say the least. Surely this entire episode was planned from the very outset to garner mid-season attention that the Fox programming lineup apparently hasn't captured.

Peter Gutmann
Womble Carlyle Sandridge
& Rice, PLLC
Washington, DC


Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
Payless, Disney collaborate
Disney and Payless ShoeSource plan to develop their first 'direct-to-retail' licensed footwear collection.

Entertainment Business Report
Finding Mr. Right
Dating game shows have been around for a long time, but Lifetime Television thinks it has found a new twist which will attract viewers.

Ratings & Research
Dancing goes out big
The Dallas Cowboys figured in all three of the top shows this past week in the Nielsen ratings, and only one involves football.

Washington Media Business Report
More stuff for the birds
Just how many birds are being killed by broadcast towers, anyway?


Stations for Sale

South Georgia
AM-FM-LPTV Combo
Includes 25kw FM
Zoph Potts @ (252) 940-1680
[email protected]


More News Headlines

Clock ticking
for Echostar

Few options remain for Echostar to avoid having to cut off feeds of distant network signals to some 850,000 Dish Network satellite subscribers. The federal judge presiding over the copyright case in Florida refused Monday to delay the December 1st cutoff he had ordered and chastised Echostar for not making preparations well in advance of the court-ordered cutoff. Congress is in recess, so the only hope remaining for Echostar is to get a federal appeals court to delay the judge's order. Echostar had agreed to a large financial settlement package with all major network affiliate groups and O&Os to avoid the court-ordered cutoff except for the Fox O&Os, whose parent company, News Corporation, just happens to control DirecTV, the only satellite TV competitor to Echostar.

John Higgins dead at 45
Broadcasting & Cable Magazine reports that Business Editor John Higgins died suddenly of a heart attack Monday evening. Higgins had been at B&C since 1997, after joining it from sister publication Multichannel News. Higgins, who was 45, is survived by his wife, Deborah Marrone, an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission.


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TVBR Radar 2006
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Fox cancels OJ special
Bowing to public outrage and affiliate worries,

TVBR observation: We foresaw the public outcry against the program last week when we said it was "just sick" (11/16/06 TVBR #224). Apparently a lot of people agreed. News Corporation is now in damage control mode as the result of some poor decision making. Yes, it probably would have been big numbers for a sweeps month, but with a worse backlash from the public and advertisers. We wonder why they didn't see this coming when they decided to publish the book and create the TV special to go with it. The only answer that comes to mind is greed and now all networks learn and talk to your Affiliates before anyone pulls an OJ like programming stunt again.
11/21/06 TVBR #227

TVBR observation:
Just wishful thinking
Had Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays talked to his lawyers before he was interviewed by David Lieberman of USA Today about the management-backed plan by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital to buy out the public shareholders? Time for a reality check
11/21/06 TVBR #227

Clear Channel deal
requires creativity
Private equity funds are moving into broadcasting in a big way, but they have to dodge some landmines at the FCC. Thomas H. Lee Partners already has a 23.3% attributable interest in the group buying Univision and both it and Bain Capital hold 25% attributable ownership stakes in Cumulus Media Partners, so it is going to take a creative ownership structure to make their 26.7 billion buy of Clear Channel comply with the FCC's ownership rules. No one is saying yet how the ownership issues will be dealt with, but it has already been worked out.

TVBR observation: Lowry Mays and other folks have dealt with this issue before, so they know how to solve FCC attribution problems. As the headline stated the deal required creativity and to view the shrewd details see
11/20/06 TVBR #226

Still no accreditation for PPM
Wednesday's meeting, 11/15/06, of the super-secretive Media Ratings Council (MRC) still left Arbitron's Portable People Meter without MRC accreditation. Arbitron says PPM still has to answer MRC concerns in two areas, but doesn't say what they are.

RBR note: The entire statement by Arbitron and what you need to know is in this issue in our Ad Business Report section.
11/17/06 RBR #225

A stocking-stuffer's view
of Clear Channel Television
There's a little something for everyone in the grab bag that is the Clear Channel Television Group, now on the market just in time for the 2006 gift-giving season. Are you interested in market size? It runs from #5 to #202 with few significant gaps. Are you looking for a specific network affiliation? There are seven allied with Fox, seven with NBC, seven with CW, six with ABC, six with CBS, four with MyNetworkTV and two with Telemundo. Do you hate networks? There are three independents.
11/17/06 TVBR #225

Advertisers missing the mark
with boomer audience

Baby Boomers are frustrated that television and advertisers place too much emphasis on younger audiences and are missing the chance to connect with Boomers in their peak earning and spending years, according to the findings in TV Land's New Generation Gap Study. The study, which included input from more than 4,000 respondents nationwide, was commissioned to deepen the networks' understanding of Boomers and was conducted by San Francisco-based Age Wave and Harris Interactive. Boomers expressed outright annoyance that television and advertisers
11/16/06 TVBR #224


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