• NBCU Offers Latest Signal Of Broadcast News Revival
    If NBCUniversal authored a low point in the local-TV business three and a half years ago, it offered close to a 180 Monday with word about a significant investment in its station group. In the process, it delivered another example of broadcasters' seemingly sudden belief that hard news programming makes for good business.
  • Herman Cain Marketer of the Year?
    Until about mid-summer, Netflix had to be a shoo-in for 2011 marketer of the year. But its elimination from competition came about as swiftly as Herman Cain's rise into contention. Unlike Barack Obama, who took similar 2008 awards from MediaPost and Ad Age, Cain may not win the White House - or even the Iowa primary in January -- but he's got to have editors thinking as they evaluate prospects over the next weeks. Cain has proven himself nothing less than a master at crafting a public image and using the media to build extraordinary support, somehow climbing into the …
  • ESPN And Samsung Co-Develop Digital Series
    When Samsung Mobile and its agency Starcom approached ESPN about co-developing an original digital series, there was some natural subject matter: the Chelsea football club. Samsung's partnership with the hugely popular English team includes placing its brand on the jerseys. Instead, Samsung and ESPN opted to co-develop lower-profile content, which might offer more potential to demonstrate the benefits of a new smartphone or tablet. And, by featuring sports like parkour and team handball, there was the opportunity to engender a sense of exploration. Enter the new Project Teamwork, an international Samsung branded entertainment campaign with 12 digital shorts that focus …
  • 'Jersey Shore' Conference Promises Guido And Plato Philosophy
    The last time Professor Ari Kohen presented a paper at a distinguished academic gathering he offered up his take on heroism in "The Odyssey." On Friday, he'll be sticking with ancient Greece, but adding in modern Italian American. A political theorist at the University of Nebraska, he's one of the presenters scheduled for the first (annual?) University of Chicago Conference on Jersey Shore Studies this Friday. He's found a connection between Plato and the hit show, which promises to draw a crowd. So does the keynote address: "Guidosexuality" by a University of Michigan faculty member.
  • Fans And Networks Should Be Wary Of College Football Playoff
    The argument may be trite, but it is the right one: perhaps a college football playoff won't diminish the regular season, but why take the chance? Actually for those so hungry for a playoff, the season is set up that it essentially offers one already -- one that lasts three months. Networks can't take the risk of alienating fans, so they should be quiet about it, but they'd be wise to oppose one, too. There is the possibility that there would be fewer make-or-break regular-season games and their ratings would be impacted. And, particularly for ESPN, it will cost a …
  • Kelsey Grammer Offers Powerful Performance In "Boss"
    The September move by Starz resembled one long-time Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley would have made: no need to wait for public reaction, if it feels right, speed forward. Pleased with the initial episodes of drama "Boss," Starz executives went ahead and ordered a second season before it had even premiered. Viewers should be thankful. Kelsey Grammer turns in an Emmy-worthy performance as Chicago Mayor Tom Kane, a man in conflict though not in his desire to maintain power. With its layered storylines touching on urban political corruption and the thuggish Kane, the serial might be described as a cross …
  • Former Sports TV Executive Schiller Has Book Smarts
    Not many can offer insight on the sports TV landscape and how the groundwork was laid over the past 25 years as sagely as Harvey Schiller. Frankly, it's surprising he hasn't written a book. His impressively varied career has included leading the SEC and helping the highly successful YES Network get off the ground. In between, he served as executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee and head of Turner Broadcasting's sports operations. So, he's negotiated Olympic TV rights deals, overseen NFL broadcasts and developed a regional sports network - all right in line with catalysts in sports TV today. …
  • Government Needs Reality TV For Deficit Reduction
    It's time for President Obama to place a call to some of Hollywood's top reality TV producers and convince them to join the federal government. The president needs to prevail on their sense of patriotism and tell them their country needs them. With all kinds of financial problems, the government has an untapped avenue to bring in needed revenue: reality TV. It's sitting on a bevy of material that would make for gripping shows and could launch bidding wars between networks, yielding huge rights fees that could go right toward cutting the deficit.
  • TVB Floats Creative Proposal For Local Ratings
    While Nielsen has no plans to bring commercial ratings to the local marketplace, tension remains between agencies and stations on a ratings system that would take into account DVR-enabled ad skipping. The TVB has a proposal that builds off an estimate that 50% of time-shifted ads are skipped.
  • Insights & Insanity: Colbert Goes After Low-Hanging Fruit, Apple TV A Hit in Spain
    In this month's "Insights & Insanity," Stephen Colbert's Super PAC gets a demerit for an ad about the folly of the NBA lockout. The target was too easy. Hopefully, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow will stick with the ludicrousness in Washington, not including the NBA's Wizards. Meanwhile, while Apple TV hasn't exactly taken off in the U.S., it appears to have a following on the Iberian peninsula.
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