• ESPN's Popularity Poses Dilemma For Cable
    ESPN's great popularity may be a double-edged sword for cable and satellite operators. While the sports network is such a ratings draw that systems operators see it as essential programming requirement, content costs are rising, reportedly with a 73% increase in payments to the NFL for "Monday Night Football -- so how much can operators raise fees? "Now system operators are being forced to figure out how much subscribers are willing to pay for sports-and at what point they'll throw in the towel," writes Alex Sherman. "If they pass on the costs to customers, they risk more defections. If they …
  • USA 'Psych'-ing Up TV Fans With Social Game
    USA Network's #Hashtag Killer -- a social game for the show "Psych"-- is meant to rev up viewer interest in the season premiere Oct. 12. Gamers get to exchange messages with series characters Shawn and Gus in an attempt to solve a mystery designed just for Facebook. "Psych" already has a slew -- 100,0000 -- of online fans (known, somewhat unfortunately, as "Psych-Os")who earn real and virtual rewards.
  • Rumor Mill: Former CW Head May Join Condé Nast
    Dawn Ostroff, former entertainment head of the CW Network, may join Condé Nast in a position "furthering [the company's] initiatives in television and online video," according to Claire Atkinson. Ostroff's key role in developing shows with strong ties to the fashion biz -- like "America's Next Top Model" -- is a good part of her appeal to the company known for its glossy fashion books, writes Atkinson.
  • Harper's Bazaar Changes Advertising Masthead
    Harper's Bazaar has added six new staffers to its advertising/marketing masthead. Among the most crucial positions: for Advertising Director, Fashion & Luxury, the mag is bringing on Michael Krans, formerly of Details; for Advertising Director, Beauty & Lifestyle, Connie Livsey from Bon Appetit; for Integrated Marketing Director, Ronnie Shankland, most recently with Newsweek/The Daily Beast. A little context here: these changes undoubtedly have something to do with Carol Smith's replacing Valerie Salembier as Bazaar's new publisher, vice president, and chief revenue officer back in June.
  • MGM To Launch KIN TV, Broadcast Channel For African-Americans
    MGM Studios has been shopping around KIN TV, which could launch later this year and become the second broadcast network targeted to African-Americans -- a rival to Bounce, which debuted earlier this week. KIN will offer a "a mix of lifestyle, drama, comedy, mystery and local news," according to a video promoting the channel.
  • Oh, No! Not More 'Two And A Half Men' News!
    The Charlie Sheen lawsuit was settled, the character Charlie Harper had his funeral. Just when you thought there could be no more items about the show that consistently showed up in headlines for -- how long has it been since Sheen first starting acting up, anyway? -- comes more coverage, only this time concerning the newest member of the cast. Seems that Ashton Kutcher "gave free publicity to several tech companies -- in which he holds personal investments -- during Monday's CBS broadcast," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Seems like a throwback, too, to his stint as a guest editor …
  • Facebook's Timeline Travels Back 50 Years, Thanks To Don Draper
    Betcha didn't know that Facebook's new Timeline feature is remarkably similar to Kodak's old Carousel slide projector. But don't take our word for it when Don Draper's only too happy to give the sales pitch, thanks to a clever YouTube video shared with us by psfk contributor Claudia Cukrov. OK, we're still going through "Mad Men" withdrawal, and this clip fills the gap today.
  • Free Sneaks Help 'New Girl' Leap To Top
    You've no doubt heard by now that Fox's "New Girl" is the fall's first new series to get a full-season pickup. Could the show's success be due to a large marketing push via digital distribution and social media? Ryan Lawler notes how Fox built buzz for "New Girl" before its premiere by making episodes available for free on iTunes, Hulu, Fox.com, cable VOD, and Zooey Deschanel fan sites. With over 2 million people viewing the show before its premiere, even Fox executives were worried about depressed broadcast ratings, but word-of-mouth and positive reviews on Twitter and Facebook apparently had the …
  • No More Weirdo Channels: Cable Operators Look To Unbundle Programming
    The cable industry is finally reversing its longtime resistance to a la carte programming, "privately working on a plan to force programmers to unbundle their networks and allow customers to subscribe to channels on an individual basis," writes Yinka Adegoke.Finally! We can stick to our default cable nets (TCM and Bravo) without having to pay for the Knit Your Own Toilet Paper Covers Network -- though we will miss the random joy of channel roulette and discovering a hilariously bad Arabic movie.
  • Cross-Promo: Sports Illustrated Models To Romp In Video Game
    In what may be the first instance of a magazine's doing in-game advertising, models from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue -- along with a billboard promoting the pub -- will appear in the latest "Need for Speed" video game from Electronic Arts. On the other side of the partnership, the mag will offer a package of the full game plus six issues of SI, its app editions and a DVD about making the game for $49.95.Bikinis and gaming seem to be a natural combo to attract young men, which was one reason why EA approached SI about a partnership, according …
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