Bringing out the best in business publishing takes money and a cool head for commerce. General Electric isn't sitting around waiting for News Corp. and Rupert Murdoch to do whatever they intend to with Dow Jones & Co., with New Corp.'s supposed purchase of the company -- which has sent Wall Street Journal reporters running for cover in fear the dominant business daily would turn tabloid. GE has now gotten into the game.
NBC Universal's Jeff Zucker has great timing. As a sign of this, the chief executive of the company says the NBC network is poised to grab about the same level of upfront prime-time dollars as a year ago -- somewhere between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion -- and that NBC will sell about 75% of its inventory. This is new for TV executives -- revealing upfront advertising information before the deals, for the most part, are done, before the upfront market shifts into full gear.
Scientifically speaking, I'm not too sure which is better -- a 360 degree approach to marketing or the new "4D" plan espoused by Bravo yesterday at the PROMAX conference.
I take my tarts with some sour cream. Ex-CBS-News anchor Dan Rather has a theory why "The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric" is doing so badly: the show looks more like a dessert with whipped cream.
You find yourself in a TV show. Just rolling along. Tension building. Expectations high. Then everything turns black. You think, "Oh! I've been hit!" But no shots ring out. Then you realize you've seen the last "Sopranos" episode ever. And it's just enough to make you crazy -- not because Tony didn't get whacked, or turn state's evidence, or go on one massive gun-wielding rampage. It makes you crazy because -- like the TV addict you are -- you are ready to give another HBO show a chance to become "the" TV show.
It must be the heat and the lack of fresh network programming: This time of year, anger abounds on TV. For example, Isaiah Washington, now an ex-cast-member of "Grey's Anatomy," says he is "mad as hell and not going to take it anymore."
Glued to the tube? You may be dishonest and play unfairly in the world. Those judgments come from a study by the always-objective TV gadfly L. Brent Bozell and his equally unbiased center of media intelligence, the MediaResearchCenter.
Soon cable companies and satellite distributors will need to give their consumers more control -- and as usual, they are having a difficult time giving up that power position. But the government sees it differently. At issue is the set-top box, which for years has been rented by cable users, paid for with a monthly fee. Now, the government says cable and satellite users should have a choice -- rent or own.
It has to take more than nuts to get a network to change its mind about a cancelled show. CBS apparently is cracking. Its cancelled serial drama "Jericho" looks to be returning of sorts -- after a massive fan campaign coupled with the gimmick of sending 20 tons of nuts to network executives.
From whom do you want to hear vulgarities? From honored World War II veterans -- or Bono, Cher, and Nicole Richie? It's easier to defend profanities from those who fought against the cruelties of Nazism than from those sometimes-pampered musicians/actors looking for even better privileges from the spoils of the cultured world. But wait. What if some of those remarks are "fleeting" -- spur-of-the-moment? The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York said when that happens, there is no foul.