• Sony Gains Control of GSN Even With Minority Stake
    With just a 40% stake, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) has gained control of the day-to-day operations of the Game Show Network (GSN). DirecTV, which has the majority ownership, has taken a backseat with the network that's in about 75 million homes. Still, that is no doubt a way to give SPE a tailwind as it is expected to become the principal owner by 2014, perhaps as early as 2012.
  • Time to Close Book on Zucker Until He Really Opens It
    It's time to close the book on Jeff Zucker's tenure at the top of NBC Universal. There's no need for any more public interviews about prime-time ratings cratering or the Jay-Conan imbroglio. Or, on the flip side, NBCU becoming a strong cable operation and NBC News remaining strong. Zucker has apparently said all he's going to say and for a person who's expressed an interest in politics, he's got the say-a-lot-without-saying-much thing down. He does offer an impressive level of humility about NBC's failure in prime time, but it's too bad he's unlikely to open up about matters such as …
  • Hollywood Heavy Joe Mantegna Hosts Gun Show
    So he's not exactly going with Charlton Heston-type proclamations about refusing to give up his musket unless it's pried from "my cold, dead hands!" Yet, well-respected actor Joe Mantegna has taken a stance not exactly widespread in Hollywood: he's an advocate for the right to keep and bear arms. And, the star of CBS's "Criminal Minds" is hosting a show on the Outdoor Channel beginning Wednesday about recreational gun use.
  • Bosses Should Encourage Online Gaming At Work
    Companies may want to send out memos and put up signs by the vending machine encouraging employees to take some time off from grueling work to play FarmVille, Mafia Wars, Will & Grace Trivia or Housewives of New Jersey Hidden Charms on the clock. New data, albeit self-serving, suggests playing at work increases focus, creativity and industriousness.
  • FBI and San Diego Station Nab Nearly 60 Criminals
    Two days before the FBI launched a major publicity campaign to nab killer James "Whitey" Bulger, a San Diego spinoff of "America's Most Wanted" featured the killer's case. Coincidence? No. Keith Slotter, head of the San Diego FBI office, moonlights as the host of "San Diego's Most Wanted." He knew the national campaign was coming and wanted to use the show for an advance push. It may not have helped capture Bulger, but the show has profiled 57 criminals who have been caught in only a year. "San Diego's Most Wanted" is distinguished by its link with the FBI, which …
  • FBI ROI: TV Ads Help Swiftly Nab Notorious Gangster
    TV sales departments may have a new wealthy client: the FBI. After 16 years of chasing Boston thug James "Whitey" Bulger, the feds launched a search campaign this week, which swiftly produced a tip leading to the alleged murderer's arrest Wednesday near Los Angeles. So, for those keeping score at home: a massive 16-year dragnet produced no arrest, and a short TV campaign led to a major catch for the FBI. Sales executives may be able to add an "FBI ROI" case study to their pitches. A paid TV campaign like the one this week marked an unprecedented move by …
  • GOP Candidate Could Be Trouble For Olbermann and Fox News
    It's noteworthy that enough people found Current TV to give Keith Olbermann a solid start on the network Monday, but check back in a week when some of the hoopla subsides. One headwind Olbermann faces over the next six months is beyond his control: the possibility that Jon Huntsman gains strong appeal as a Republican Presidential contender. Which is a potential trouble spot for CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, too. Huntsman seems unwilling to launch irrational barbs at Obama and -- get this -- thinks the President is a pretty decent and patriotic guy. How is that tone going to …
  • Comedy Central Needs a Conservative Counterweight
    It's time for Comedy Central to go right. If its appeal is mainly in Democratic forts such as Boston or San Francisco, it has to go red state. It's time for the network to give conservatives who in Jon Stewart's words feel they've been the "victims of a witch hunt" a place of refuge. Forget ideology. That's not the reason to do it. But like drill baby drill and tax cuts, there's money in it. There's a chance to expand viewership. It worked for Fox News. The network needs a late-night show with a comedian who likes guns; says the …
  • NBC Sports, Jon Stewart Make Headlines Sunday
    By Sunday afternoon, there was a flurry of activity surrounding two events that still had people buzzing Monday morning. In a certain sense, both touched on patriotism. There was NBC airing a vignette before the U.S. Open with the Pledge of Allegiance that omitted the "under God" phrase. Earlier, Comedy Central's Jon Stewart made an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" and jousted with host Chris Wallace. Wallace did a bang-up job with the interview. Stewart was insightful, yet offered some quizzical responses when the topic of Fox News came up.
  • New York Station Seeks Truth With Campaign
    A sweeps campaign at WPIX wanted to break from the family photo/Colgate ad that has become standard fare when plugging the late news. Another shot of anchors looking like team captains in a yearbook photo wasn't going to distinguish the station in the crowded New York market. Enter a campaign with a nighttime background -- a sort of "Law & Order" hue, but darker -- where some of the reporters and anchors could be less posing than probing -- whether on the phone or looking through a notepad. There are loosened ties and withering stares that almost beg a public …
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