The Kerry and Bush campaigns together have spent $63.7 million on local TV ads in the first five months of the year, compared with only $18.6 million for Bush vs. Gore in the first five months of 2000, according to ad tracker Nielsen Monitor-Plus. Kerry outspent Bush by more than $5 million for May (at least through May 24, which is all the data collected for 2004). The Bush camp blames the Kerry TV ad boost on "groups funded by large 'soft-money' donations from wealthy left-wing liberals." No word on the GOP's feeling about liberal donations from right-wing soft-money funders.
Sen. John McCain wants broadcasters to give airtime away. As part of his push for more political coverage on TV, the Senate Commerce Committee chairman has warned broadcasters that, if they don't boost the amount of time they devote to reporting on the 2004 presidential election, they could face another free-airtime bill.
Martha Stewart Lives
It was a case of MSO meets MSO. MSO (Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) will be taking its lifestyle programming to MSOs (multiple-system operators) thanks to a multiyear deal with E! diginet The Style Network. Repeats of the syndicated version of hour lifestyle show
Martha Stewart Living will air on the channel weekdays at 8 p.m. starting this month. Different repeats are also airing on 139 TV stations through September, when the show ends its syndicated run.
Sex Good For TBS
The off-HBO run of Sex and the City premiered June 15 on TBS. It aired two half-hour episodes at 10-11 p.m. and drew a 4.02. Turner says the 10 p.m. episode was the night's most-watched cable show.
Ins and Outs
Francie Calfo is executive vice president, development, of ABC Primetime Entertainment, a new post created by new President Stephen McPherson. Calfo will oversee all scripted development. She has been a producer for co-owned Touchstone Television, where she recently went two for two, with drama pilots The Service and Life as We Know It making ABC's fall schedule. Over at Touchstone, Julia Franz is in as executive vice president. That was the job McPherson had before zipping up the Disney corporate ladder. Franz, most recently senior vice president of comedy series, will oversee development and current programming, drama and comedy. Paramount Television is folding Viacom Productions into its operations. In the move, Perry Simon, president of Viacom Productions, becomes an independent producer at Paramount TV. Insiders expect CBS Productions also to be melded into Paramount TV.
Promax&BDA Brand Builder award winners will be honored at a private reception on June 24. A Promax&BDA preprinted insert in this edition gives an incorrect date.
Dollars and Scents
ABC and Wal-Mart have teamed up. Come September, the giant retailer will shell out seven-figures to launch a perfume line to coincide with a faux fragrance touted on the ABC soap All My Children (star Susan Lucci, left). The perfume will be called All My Children's Enchantment, which means soap stars will plug it during in-store appearances.