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Archives: September 2010

The Problem with Politicized Programs: Ad Sales

In his New York Times Magazine cover story about Fox News host Glenn Beck, author Mark Leibovich writes about Beck’s ratings, and touches upon the problem the show has had with advertisers:

His show now averages two million viewers, down from a high of 2.8 million in 2009, according to the Nielsen Ratings. And as of Sept. 21, 296 advertisers have asked that their commercials not be shown on Beck’s show (up from 26 in August 2009). Fox also has a difficult time selling ads on “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Fox and Friends” when Beck appears on those shows as a guest. Beck’s show is known in the TV sales world as “empty calories,” meaning he draws great ratings but is toxic for ad sales.

While the story is about Beck, the “empty calorie” problem is hardly unique to his show. Programs with a heavy political or ideological focus often have a hard time attracting blue chip advertisers.

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Jimmy Johnson Voted Off Survivor

Jimmy Johnson was able to survive “The U” and the Dallas Cowboys, but he was no match for Marty Piombo and the country of Nicaragua.

The Fox Sports analyst was voted off Survivor Wednesday night, the third contestant to depart from the show.

“I had fun, but I was miserable the whole time,” Johnson told the AP.

The 67-year-old Johnson tried out three times for the reality shows. In the end, his celebrity and fame is what caused his eventual downfall in the Espada Tribe.

Piombo was the mastermind behind getting enough votes to send Johnson home.

“I still love the game, and it’s been a great adventure,” Johnson said. “This is the most stressful time I’ve ever gone through in my life, and I’m including Super Bowls and collegiate national championships. I initially said, ‘Keep your strongest members.’ I obviously wasn’t one of the strongest members.” Read more

Fox, MLB Set Early Start to 2010 World Series Game

Fox and Major League Baseball have announced the start times for the 2010 World Series, and there is a pleasant surprise among them. Game three of the Fall Classic, scheduled for Saturday October 30, will begin at 6:57 PM ET, a full hour earlier than last year’s Saturday game.

The pre-7 PM start time is the earliest World Series game since game six of the 1987 series

The other games will begin at 7:57 PM, with the exception of game four on Sunday, which will begin following Fox’s NFL coverage.

Viewers can thank Chevrolet for the earlier start time, with the auto company committing an additional level of advertising support for the game.

“I am extremely pleased we are able to provide our fans the earliest World Series start time since 1987 with Saturday’s Game Three,’” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig in a statement. “The changes we made with FOX last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans and we are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday’s Game Three will keep us moving in the same direction.”

More information, and the full schedule, is after the jump.

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NBA TV Pulling Out the Big Guns for Miami Heat Preseason

The Miami Heat – you know, that little squad with Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and a host of other dudes – play their first game on October 5 and NBA TV will be there.

Marv Albert will handle the play-by-play while hall of famer Kevin McHale and five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber ride shotgun. Cheryl Miller lands the role of sideline reporter.

The tremendous trio (LeBron et al, not Alberts, etc.) won’t play the entire game, but the world will tune in regardless.

NBA TV, now in its 12th year, is available in 53 million U.S. homes and will feature up to 275 live games this year. Only 270 of them will feature the Heat.

TNT will televise the Heat’s first real game, an away tilt with the Boston Celtics on October 26.

Katie Couric back to ‘Today?’ ‘Ridiculous’ Says Insider

There’s another Page Six report about Katie Couric possibly returning to the “Today” show when her CBS News contract expires next year. But a top NBC News insider tells TVNewser the report is “ridiculous.”

“It’s a negotiating tactic,” says the insider about the story, adding, “I don’t even think (Couric) wants to do it.”

The Page Six story also speculates Couric might end up at Time Warner or stay with CBS because “she gets along famously” with CBS Corp CEO Les Moonves.

Page Six also reports Couric’s return to NBC would be made possible because “Meredith Vieira is expected to leave ‘Today.’” Our source says that, despite Vieira signing a contract extension through next September, she very well might sign on again. “There’s a lot of time to think about that.”

Chad Ochocinco's Accidental Charity: A Phone Sex Hotline

Chad Ochocinco was just trying to help the kids.

The Bengals’ wide receiver released a limited edition cereal box sold at Kroger supermarkets. A portion of the proceeds benefit Feed the Children, and the charity’s number was printed on every box of Ochocinco’s (a low fat food!).

Except… the digits (1-800-HELP-FTC) direct callers to a phone sex line. Feed the Children’s number is 1-888-HELP-FTC. Whoops.

Robert Bailey, president of Rosenhaus Sports, which represents Ochocinco, said Feed the Children accidentally gave the 800 exchange instead of 888.

The boxes are being recalled from the shelves and new ones – featuring the correct number – will be available soon. Poor Chad. Even when he tries to help the message gets lost in translation.

Oh Hey, A Bicyclist Tested Positive and Has A Silly Excuse

Alberto Contador won the 2010 Tour de France, his third title. One problem: On July 21, he tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance.

The 27 year old claims he ate tainted meat that caused high levels of the muscle-building drug to show up in his system.

“I’m sad, disappointed, but am keeping my head held high,” he said. “It’s a clear case of food contamination. I won’t tolerate any sanction.”

The cycling community is defending their champion, but it doesn’t look good. It’s not as though the race or the sport has a whole lotany credibility left. The racers (hey, Floyd Landis) plead their innocence in the media until people forget what happened, then are eventually found out and banned from the sport. Wash, rinse, repeat. Officials say they will try to clean up cycling, but the drug-makers are clearly ahead of the drug-testers. It’s not going to get fixed.

Will Contador retain his title?
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CNN Inks New Long-Term Deal with Anderson Cooper

CNN has extended its contract with “AC360″ anchor Anderson Cooper, keeping him on the network long-term. The contract extension comes as Cooper signed a deal with Telepictures and Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to host a daily syndicated talk show.

In all likelihood, the extension came as Cooper and CNN reworked his contract to allow him to do the syndie series.

“I am pleased that Anderson Cooper has extended his relationship with CNN and will be with us for years to come,” said CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton in a statement. “I am also pleased to congratulate Anderson on his new relationship with Telepictures. We think it will be good for Anderson, good for CNN and good for Time Warner.”

“I remain as committed as ever to my program on CNN, and will be with CNN for years to come,” said Cooper in a statement.

Pres. Obama on the ‘Splintered’ Media

During one of his small-group discussions with regular ‘ole Americans — this one in Richmond, VA yesterday — Pres. Obama talked about the “splintered” media while saying he’s “amused” by Jon Stewart‘s planned rally in Washington next month.

Obama also pointed the finger at “these cable shows and these talk show hosts.”

A lot of them have figured out, the more controversial I can be, if I’m going out there and I’m calling Obama this name or that name or saying he wasn’t born in this country or — that will get me attention. I will then write a book, I’ll go and sell it.

(h/t Politico44)

Michael J. Fox, real-life House featured in Sanjay Gupta specials

Tonight and tomorrow night, CNN presents two more specials from chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Tonight, Gupta interviews actor and philanthropist Michael J. Fox about his experience with Parkinson’s disease and his foundation’s decision to fund a five-year, clinical study to identify the disease’s progression. A Conversation With Michael J. Fox airs tonight at at 8pmET on CNN.

Then tomorrow night at 8:00, a second special, Doctor Detectives, will debut. Taking a page from FOX’s House,  Gupta profiles Dr. William Gahl, director of the Undiagnosed Diseases Division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as he and his team diagnose and treat conditions that medical science does not yet understand.

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