• Another View Of Jeff Zucker
    The popular take on NCBU's departing Jeff Zucker --"Not since Gerald Levin destroyed about $200 billion in shareholder value has a more maligned executive emerged from the media world" -- needs to be rethought, according to Andrew Wallenstein. NBC broadcast may have imploded under Zucker's watch, but don't discount the "extraordinary growth NBCU experienced in the cable business," including the bcquisitions of Bravo, Oxygen and Weather Channel -- all "textbook turnaround stories," Wallenstein writes. Then there's his adventurous spearheading of NBC's first foray into new media, "taking risks like the company's stake in Hulu."You may not agree with this …
  • Novelist On Reality TV: It's 'Pornography'
    Ok, just how bad is reality TV? Notes Author Andrew Foster Altschul, who visited the set of "Kink.com," a reality pilot about a fetish-porn factory: "It is pornography-if you define pornography as the intrusion of the camera into parts of our lives that should be private, and the representation of those things in the most prurient way possible so strangers can get off on it." Alschul's conclusion wasn't based just on that visit but also on watching many other reality shows as research for writing his second novel, "Deus Ex Machina," about a fictional reality show. "What I saw at …
  • Forecast: Local TV Set For Growth This Year
    Core advertising for local TV stations will grow in 2011 and remain vital to the bottom line, "despite much focus on retransmission consent fees and political ad revenue in election years," according to high-yield bond analysts Bishop Cheen and Davis Hebert at Wells Fargo Securities. The return of Auto advertising has been key to the much quicker than expected rebound from the downturn. The picture for radio is much less optimistic, however.
  • Aaron Sorkin's Cable News Drama Set For HBO
    After taking on the White House and Facebook, Aaron Sorkin's next topic will be cable news. HBO has green-lit the pilot for Sorkin's drama set behind the scenes of a cable news show. He will be executive-producing with his "Social Network" producer Scott Rudin. Sorkin has been working on the project for a while, with research including time spent at Fox News, as well as shadowing cable news personalities Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. And no, despite rumors, Olbermann will be not part of the show, reports Deadline/TV.
  • Comcast Gifts NBCU Employees, Ditches Peacock
    In case NBC Universal employees are feeling at all ambivalent about Comcast's acquisition of their company, well, then, here's help: the company just gave all of its employees 25 shares of NBCU stock, a book about Comcast's history, and free passes a Universal theme parks -- "because we want you to get to know all our businesses, and have some fun, too," as the letter to employees says. And, according to the Huffington Post, the company has a new logo -- NBCUniversal, sans "the space, the peacock or the globe silhouette."
  • Kids Today -- No Predicting Their TV Tastes!
    After Mike Donovan polled his college students on how and what they watch on TV, he noted, "Instead of 'The TV Industry,' I'd be better off changing the name of the course to 'The Video Content Delivery Systems Industry.'" Donovan -- who years ago wrote "Invasion Of the Cable Babies," an article saying that kids born in the age of cable made no distinction between broadcast and cable TV -- surveyed 75 students this time. He concluded from his "seriously unscientific survey" that "The bad news for the industry is that there seems to be no way to predict what …
  • Fashion Mags Get Mixed Ad Report Card For Q1
    People StyleWatch was the big winner among fashion/lifestyle pubs in the first quarter, posting a heavy gain of 46.5% up to 197 pages, according to Women's Wear Daily's Media section, citing Media Industry Newsletter. Elle and Women's Health also posted substantial gains, respectively -- 14.3% and 11.7%. InStylewas next on the list of up-and-comers with a rise of 10.9; then came Vogue, with a 10.6% rise. Among pubs where the news was less rosy were two Conde Nast books:  Lucky, down 14.3%; Self, down 12.6%. Three Hearst books also dipped: Cosmopolitan , down 12.5%; Harper's Bazaar, down 11.6%; and O, …
  • Katie Couric: New Queen Of Talk Shows?
    When CBS News anchor Katie Couric's contract expires in May, she may take her interviewing skills in a new direction with a syndicated talk show done in conjunction with long-term associate former NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Zucker. That's according to three anonymous sources cited by The New York Post. Word is the two aim to create a "new show format" as a potential replacement for the reigning talk show queen, Oprah Winfrey, set to retire her program in September.
  • Corporate Culture: Media Biz Returns To New York's Old 'Newspaper Row'
    Everything old is new again: The Alliance for Downtown New York reported that there are 60 media companies presently located in, or moving, to, lower Manhattan, below Chambers Street, where all the major newspapers were once situated in the late 19th century. That includes every aspect of the media, from Conde Nast's glossy pub empire to Web site The Daily Beast to The National Enquirer.It will be a"news haven for the digital age," according to The New York Times' Joseph Berger -- and one where today's news professional will feel comfortable. "The days of reporters drinking and brawling together after …
  • Oscar Noms Unfold. We Learn: Mark Z. May Have TV -- But Not Jesse E.
    With the announcement of Oscar nominations Tuesday, the season is heating up, prompting all kinds of reactions from the press -- from the New York Post's getting Las Vegas bookies to weigh in on winner odds (no big surprises here, with favorites Portman, Firth and "The Social Nework") to the usual " ______ was robbed" backlash. ("Inception" director Christopher Nolan? Um, no, we don't think so -- incoherent direction of incoherent movie.)Then there was TV writer Alan Sepinwall's post on how so many acting nominees had TV backgrounds -- which used to be an embarrassment, but …
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