My Network TV: Mine, Mine, Mine!!!
Fox has apparently learned from its competitors' folly. After bloggers discovered that TheCW.com had been registered just two months before CBS and Warner Bros. unveiled The CW network, Fox took preemptive action.
Less than a week before introducing its own My Network TV, the company snatched up all the MyNetworkTV domain names it could, including “.net,” “.tv,” even “.org.”
Unfortunately, they were too late for MyNetworkTV.com.
That domain already belongs to Robert Ricco, a New York litigator who registered the address in September 2005 (for a TV-on-demand startup, no less) and was quite tickled to learn from Flash! that a certain media giant might be contacting him soon.
And wouldn't you know it, someone already had—the day before the My Network TV announcement.
“Some guy tried to buy it for a pittance just yesterday,” Ricco says. “He calls me up and says, 'I have to know right away,' and 'Hey, a grand could really help you out.' Then he sends me an e-mail saying, 'My offer expires Friday at 5 p.m.'”
A Fox spokesman was unaware of anyone making an offer, but Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy, one of the driving forces behind the new network, has his suspicions.
“Who could that have been?” Abernethy asks, laughing. “We've registered a bunch of other, very close names.”
After sharing the news with his co-worker—“Hey! Fox wants my Web site!”—a giddy Ricco notes that his registration doesn't expire until September.
“I've got plenty of time to renew it,” he says. “Fox might want to talk to me.
“I think it's worth a couple kids' college tuition,” he adds. “Don't you?”
New Network, New Logo
The last time a network was born (has it really been only a month?), Flash! checked in with design legend Milton Glaser for his appraisal of its logo.
Though he is still reluctant to tee-off on another designer's work, he was game enough to indulge us again with his take on My Network TV's trademark.
“It is banal, unimaginative, confusing,” he says. “What else can one say about it?”
Well, how about: “It looks almost student-like in its lack of understanding of how forms come together.”
“What you have here are things that don't want to be together,” he says. “The 'my' doesn't want to be with the 'TV'; the screen doesn't want to be with the lettering; the little word doesn't want to be with the big one.”
He compares it to “having a lot of different foods on a plate that are OK individually, but you don't want to eat them together.” (We in the business call that the Swanson Hungry-Man effect.)
Despite his objections to the graphics, Glaser finds the variation on “My TV” to be “a clever use of words.”
To be fair, the My Network TV logo, like The CW's, was clearly a product of haste.
And Glaser concedes that “the logo doesn't make that much difference. Sometimes, you can have a dumb logo, and it still does the job.”
Ultimately, he says, it's typical of a corporate aversion to “anything that looks fresh or different or unusual.
“So they end up using tired replays of other ideas,” Glaser says.
(Flash! declines to read anything into this about the new network, especially with regard to its programming.)
'Today' Show Time Warp
Here's how feverish the Katie Couric guessing game has become. With everyone assuming that Couric will bolt Today for the CBS Evening News, speculation about who might replace her hasn't just gone around the bend; it has gone back in time.
The newest name to be kicked around by more than one industry insider is actually an old one: Bryant Gumbel. (No, that's not a typo.)
File this one under “Long Shots,” but let's not forget that Gumbel put in 15 years on Today, the longest run of anyone in that show's history, and then clocked another three years on the CBS Early Show after that.
Sure, this would mean pairing him with Matt Lauer and ditching the venerable gender-balanced co-host formula, but the two already have the chemistry. They have been best buddies since the days when Lauer played Today's news anchor to Gumbel's co-host.
We know that the odds aren't good. But we urge you to consider it.
Flash! believes that America is ready for same-sex co-hosting.