News Articles

In the Loop

8/24/2003 08:00:00 PM Eastern
Items:

Mixed Message?

Brady Bits

Major Disappointments

Get to the Point®

Clock Still Ticking

Mixed Message?

Americans for Tax Reform, headed by activist Grover Norquist, has created a Web site (stopmediaregulation.org) to counter the anti-dereg sites (moveon.org, mediareform.org) that helped generate anti-deregulation input to the FCC and Congress. The group blames a "liberal onslaught" for trying to roll back the FCC's June 2 reg rewrite.

Lost in the rhetorical barrage is that the un-liberal NRA also helped mobilize reregulation or that Norquist also is a board member of NRA. "I know that NRA has staked out a position," he says, "but that is their position and not mine." Norquist says NRA's beef is that networks have been hostile to some kinds of issue ads, a beef he shares, but ATR's media agenda is broader and would include letting owners buy as many stations and newspapers as they want. But Norquist also says broadcasters should have to pay for their spectrum: "They can't whine about regulation when they're getting the spectrum for free."—J.E.

Brady Bits

To promote the national launch of The Wayne Brady Show, Buena Vista Television is sending stations a half-hour clip show tabbed The Best of The Wayne Brady Show So Far. Although the show has been on only a year, the clip shows includes snippets of Brady dancing with Kirk Douglas, singing with Trading Spaces' Paige Davis and cheerleading with Halle Berry. Some 70% of the stations BVT signed up to carry the series, including 15 of the top 25 markets, have picked up the promo program. The Wayne Brady Show launches nationally Monday, Sept. 1, with 85% of the country cleared. Last year, BVT took Wayne Brady out in a limited rollout to about half the country.—P.A.

Major Disappointments

Each time a Tiger Woods putt doesn't drop, ratings do. Arguably, the drop is most keenly felt in major championships. This year's PGA Championship final on Aug. 17, where he struggled, registered a 41% decline in ratings for CBS from 2002, when Tiger lost but only after a playoff with Rich Beem. Likewise, the Masters' Nielsen ratings this year fell 17% on its showcase Sunday—with winner Mike Weir—compared with last year's Tiger triumph. Compared with 2002's U.S. Open, when the Tiger Slam was still a possibility, Jim Furyk's victory spelled a 44% drop in ratings from 2002.

Ratings for this Year's British Open, in which Tiger was close but no cigar or Claret jug, were down only 4%.

Advice for the networks: Make the Buick Open the fifth major. His victory at this year's Buick Invitational produced a final-round ratings jump of 92% over 2002, with third-round coverage up 105%.—M.C.

Get to the Point®

Fox News Channel isn't the only news network to trademark seemingly common phrases. The channel's "Fair & Balanced" fight with Al Franken, which was in court last Friday, sent us looking up trademarks for its rival networks. Among them, CNN has trademarked titles of its shows like The Spin Room and Capital Gang and slogans like "Your Choice. Your Voice." But CNN also has trademarks on the really common phrases "In the Field" and "Get to the Point." Meanwhile, MSNBC has trademarked its name not just for TV networks but for "providing Web sites for playing multi-user fantasy sports games on a global computer network." We'll keep that in mind when we are playing Lara Croft News Reader.—J.M.H.

Clock Still Ticking

With finishing touches being put on the Univision/Hispanic Broadcasting merger, FCC's expected approval of the deal stands a less than 50/50 chance of being announced this week, Washington sources say, with a better chance of official OK coming next week or immediately after Labor Day. Word circulating in the investment community is that the three GOP commissioners have agreed to approve the deal under ownership limits in effect when the deal was announced last year. The only condition will be divestiture of broadcast stations in San Antonio and Houston, where HBC owns six radio stations, exceeding local-ownership limits under the old rules. Approval of the deal has been delayed in part by debate over whether it should comply with previous local limits or tighter radio limits approved in June. Tighter rules might also have required sales in Phoenix and Albuquerque.—B.M.

 

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