If no claims are made by a consumer product as to the level of its performance, then how much of a mind-manipulating threat can it be to television viewers? Not much apparently. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled yesterday the growing trend of product placement on TV needs no special labeling. Unlike a TV commercial, a product placed on the set or in an actor's hand on a TV show, makes no claim.
Brave are those minority officials in government these days who seemingly go against a cascade of morality players when it comes to TV and radio. Take note network and advertising executives. And take your hats off in respect for two Democrats -- Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.) They are the only two of 48 who voted against a House Commerce Committee bill that would dramatically raise the fines against networks and performers on indecent broadcasts.
The fairy tales at Walt Disney always seem to have some nightmares attached. Even when hit shows, such as "Desperate Wives" and "Lost," should be cheering up shareholders, those longtime crazy disgruntled Disney gadflies, Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, have other ideas. They plan to withhold support from all Disney board members at Friday's annual meeting, citing concerns over the search for CEO Michael Eisner's replacement.
Just when you thought everything was safe in the Super Bowl broadcast, the NFL and Fox called an advertising audible at the line of scrimmage. During the game, Fox made a rare decision to withdraw a spot from GoDaddy.com, an Internet name domain company, which was scheduled to run in the fourth quarter. Strangely, the spot had already aired in the first quarter.
If the Super Bowl advertisers could have seen me last night with my TiVo, they probably would have thought they had finally woken up from their nightmare --- I was fast-forwarding the football game to see the commercials. This was not so for every American, I'm sure. Most watched the commercials the first time around this year to make sure there was no funny business like flatulent horses or breast-baring R&B singers.
Cable network executives may puff their collective chests out when taking credit for the last 15 years of broadcast ratings erosion, but how do they account for the resilient Super Bowl? As Horizon Media has pointed out, 32 of the last 33 Super Bowls have averaged more than a 40 household rating. No ratings erosion at all. Remarkable. It's even more extraordinary that the Super Bowl's viewership has stayed so strong despite a sizable number of no-drama, dull, lopsided victories.
Ex-cons now get their own TV show, but TV producer Mark Burnett says that's not enough for some. The domestic arts diva and resident jailbird, Martha Stewart, needs two shows, he says, to satisfy America's needs. NBC's planned "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" will be an extension of the hit NBC show from Mark Burnett and Donald Trump. Burnett is also producing a daytime, talk-style syndication show for Stewart as well.
For A&E Network, the program deal for "The Sopranos" was a deal it had to make - all to save the 'Arts' in what is still known as the Arts & Entertainment Network. Now the question is, will advertisers buy high art for a high price? That business activity is sorely needed. A&E spent a nose-bleeding $2.5 million per episode (or more, according to Daily Variety), giving it the record for highest price per episode paid by a basic cable network for an off-network series. The entire 78 episode series comes to just under $200 million.
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