TRUTH IN MEDIA -- Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but if history is any indication, Dennis Miller's new show on CNBC will blur the lines between comedy and journalism more than Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" or even Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor." While Miller's "Dennis Miller Live" on HBO is one of our favorite TV shows, the Riff is beginning to get confused about what constitutes news, or commentary or comedy these days.
WHO'S MIKE? I WANT TO BE LIKE LeBRON -- Nike, Sprint, Upper Deck and countless other marketers are breathing easier this morning following the NBA debut of Cleveland Cavaliers wunderkind LeBron James. James, the 18-year-old former high school student come NBA hope, didn't exactly rally the Cavs to a win over the Sacramento Kings (the Kings won 106-92), but James did like the NBA star he was promised to be, suggesting that he also will live up to the product endorsement stardom his sponsors have been banking on.
A BABY'S ARM HOLDING A REMOTE CONTROL - That appears to be what American parents want, according to a disturbing study released Tuesday by the media researchers at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
TV OR NOT TV - WAS THAT THE QUESTION? - Gather a roomful of cutting edge new media gurus in one of downtown New York's swankiest haunts for a discussion on the impact of consumer empowering media technologies and the conversation is likely to turn to, guess what, how godawful the current state of television is. That's exactly what happened Monday night, when the Media Kitchen hosted an event celebrating "50 Years of Consumer Control" at the SoHo House in New York's meatpacking district.
THAT'S ALL FOLKS -- Marlins fans in New York (which include Red Sox and Mets fans, at least last week) weren't able to see much of the post-series celebration, since the local Fox affiliate went to news a few minutes after a weak grounder ended the game and the series. Fox's broadcasters said they would be back after the first commercial break; they weren't.
ANYONE REMEMBER THE FLUSH-O-METER? - It seems some things never change where Nielsen measurements are concerned. In explaining some of the logistical challenges Nielsen Media Research encountered while developing its new ratings system for cinema-based advertising, Nielsen Cinema chief Paul Lindstrom tells the Riff why Nielsen settled on a method that measures movie attendance, not actual cinema advertising exposure.
IN CASE ANYONE'S LISTENING, WE STILL LIKE CASH, NOT CACHE - For the rest of us, the most rewarding moments at work would be, well, being rewarded. Not so for information workers - especially the nation's top info exec - according to new advertising and research released today by Microsoft.
THE NEW YORK ENQUIRER - Now that American Media chief David Pecker has officially thrown his hat into the three-ring circus that will be the auction of Primedia's New York magazine, we can't help wondering what editorial scenarios might arise from having the regional mag published by the same folks who produce supermarket tabs like the National Enquirer and the Star. Not that there's anything wrong with those publications.
HERE WE GO AGAIN - CBS will air a biopic on Ronald Reagan's presidency during the November sweeps, starring James Brolin as Reagan and Judy Davis as Nancy Reagan. Conservatives are already shouting about the treatment of their favorite president, claiming a Hollywood bias toward liberalism will make for an unfair (and sometimes unflattering) portrayal.
PUTTING ON A NEW FACE - Beginning Tuesday, The New York Times will change its typefaces for the first time since 1976. The Times will move from the mélange of typefaces - Latin Condensed, News Gothic, Century Bold and Bookman, for you type font geeks out there - to a single Cheltenham face.