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Flash!

6/08/2007 08:00:00 PM Eastern

With John Eggerton, Ben Grossman and Alex Weprin

Old Indecency Fine Still on FCC Books

Speaking of broadcast indecency … remember the bill that jacked up indecency fines tenfold, to $325,000 per incident? The bill the president signed a year ago with such fanfare? The one the FCC pushed for so breathlessly in its quest for toothier enforcement?

Turns out the commission wasn’t so breathless when it came to updating its own rulebook: As recently as June 3, the FCC still hadn’t changed the maximum per-incident fine at $32,500. It wasn’t until June 4, the day a federal court reversed the commission’s ruling on “fleeting expletives” (see page 1), that the FCC officially published the order implementing the rule change.

(We weren’t the only ones surprised. When we called to alert the bill’s author, Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), two of his top staffers admitted that it was news to them.)

So what gives? “This was a procedural matter that was handled in due course,” said an FCC spokesman.

The spokesman declined to comment on whether the lag prevented the FCC from levying the higher fine, but one veteran attorney said that the signed law would have trumped any rulebook technicality. “Someone could make the case that the lack of a rule change had confused them,” he said, “but it is not a case I would want to take.”

And since the rule change doesn’t officially take effect until 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register—usually a good couple weeks after the FCC publishes it in the Digest—there’s still time for brazen broadcasters to go blue before the price jumps!

Goal!!!

Apparently, Drew Carey has had some time on his hands lately.

Last week, at the Home Depot Center soccer stadium in Los Angeles, Carey hosted a fundraiser in which he played EA Sports’ FIFA 2007 videogame against a group of U.S. National Team soccer players.

For each game he lost, the comedian pledged to donate anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000. So, naturally, the invite-only crowd was squarely against the former Drew Carey Show star, taunting him with trash talk about draining all of his syndication riches.

But if any CBS executives were on hand to witness Carey’s gaming prowess, they may have wondered how much time—if any—he has been devoting to prepping for his new gig hosting the network’s reality series Power of 10.

Carey looked well-prepared, to say the least, winning four out of the first five matches before getting trounced by Los Angeles Galaxy star Landon Donovan.

Despite racking up the wins at the end of the night, Carey surprised the crowd by donating $160,000 to the foundation in memory of former U.S. World Cup coach Glenn “Mooch” Myernick, who died suddenly last year.

Money well spent, said Carey: “Videogames are great. They are the only place where a fat guy like me can beat pro athletes at their own game.”

Ad-Nauseum

Would you like some product placements to go with your product placement? Andy Halmay is betting you will.

Halmay, CEO of Veni Vici Entertainment, is shopping around an idea for a sitcom called The P.P. Guy about an ad exec who tries to place products into TV shows and movies. (If that doesn’t get you, perhaps the hero’s wacky preacher father-in-law and wannabe-actress wife will.)

But the real genius of the show? The product placements in the show about product placements will actually be … product placements!

Halmay, who worked for Young & Rubicam and JWT before forming his own production company, thinks that people are sick of product placements that feel out of place and forced. The beauty of a show about product placements, he explains, is that the product integration would be organic to the plot.

What’s more, Halmay believes viewers of his show would actually seek out the placements.

“I would not be surprised if the brightest people out there would look for [the placements] just like readers of The New York Times would look for “Nina” sightings in the Al Hirschfeld cartoons,” he says.

It’s just crazy enough to work.

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