In the Loop
By Steve McClellan, P.J. Bednarski, Allison Romano, and John M. Higgins -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/2/2003 7:00:00 PM
Counting Clutter Gets Expensive
If you're holding your breath for the annual clutter study usually released at the AAAA's Media Conference every year, let it out. When the conference begins in New Orleans this week, you won't be getting a report at all.
The reason: What else, money. Competitive Media Reporting, which compiled the data for the report (sponsored jointly by AAAA and the Association of National Advertisers) wanted triple its usual rate for this year's report. As a result, the two trade groups pulled the plug. But, with programming costs continuing to soar and profit pressures as strong as ever, it doesn't take a big fat report to tell you that clutter (ads and promos primarily) probably isn't going to ease anytime soon.—S.M.
Looking for a Job? Tune In Here
Veteran producers Dick Hubert and Alan Perris just bought U.S. format rights to Argentine reality/game-show hit Human Resources, on which the winners get a good old basic job. Of course, with U.S. unemployment hovering around 10%, Perris says, "we've got a reality show that might actually do some good." Now all they have to do is sell it.
Perris is a former programming exec at Sony Television, Warner Bros. and the Hallmark Channel; Hubert owns Videoware and is a former producer for ABC News and the old Westinghouse. He saw a story about Human Resources on PBS and thought, "Here's a way to take a serious problem and try to make it enjoyable."
In essence, several contestants get a one-day tryout. The employer then whittles them down to two, who compete by answering basic questions about the job itself, and a winner emerges. Whereas, in Argentina, most of the jobs are blue-collar, Hubert and Perris think there are thousands of dotcomers and other white-collar types eager for a job here.
Next, Perris-Hubert will be shopping the show with syndicators. And they'll probably change one big part of the show: "We're not so sure Human Resources is the name we want to go with," Hubert laughs, recognizing that's usually the office in the United States that hands employees their pink slips.—P.J.B.
B&C's Special Booking Service
As a bit of public service, BROADCASTING & CABLE last week helped put controversial conservative radio host Michael Savage in touch—with one his fiercest detractors.
Savage, who has a long list of anti-gay statements attributed to him, will have a weekly show on MSNBC beginning March 8, and that has gay and women activist groups steaming mad.
Last week, when he spoke to a B&C reporter who ticked off all the nasty things being said about him by representatives of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Savage said he has invited GLAAD to be guest on his radio show in the past but "they never come on." He charges GLAAD and the National Organization of Women, which also came out against him, "like to work in the dark, with their McCarthy-like campaigns."
He said, if B&C would act as an intermediary, he'd extend an invitation to GLAAD Executive Director Joan M. Garry.
So we made the call. And this time, GLAAD will take up the offer. The group is working with Savage's staffers to schedule Garry on his show.—A.R.
A Spat Over Cable, DBS—And AIDS
You wouldn't think $25,000 would cause this kind of quandary. AIDS charity Cable Positive has been discussing a grant from the T Howard Foundation, a similar industry nonprofit group that promotes diversity. The problem: Cable Positive is considered a cable-industry group, and the T Howard Foundation was started by the satellite crowd, named after recently deceased DBS pioneer Taylor Howard, so some of Cable Positive's board members are objecting.
But Cable Positive's fundraiser, President Steve Vilano, is fighting for the money, emphasizing that 90% of its money comes not from the DBS companies but from cable networks carried by the likes of DirecTV. And the foundation is now run by Curtis Symonds, a former Black Entertainment Television executive who spent years with the cable crowd. With a $2 million budget to make grants to strapped AIDS victims in the cable industry, "Vilano's not letting $25,000 slip away without a fight," said one board member. Vilano agreed: "The issue of HIV and AIDS transcends all differences." You'd think.—J.M.H.
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