CBS' Schwartz Cleans Up Bing's BS, Again

Reading the press release naming Quincy Smith as president of the newly formed CBS Interactive last week (see Take Five, p. 3), we had to wonder how much Gil Schwartz, CBS' executive VP of communications, had a hand in it.

Larded with such, well, BS as “the promise of the interactive space” and the “ability to showcase world-class content on a variety of new technologies,” the release reminded us of the most recent effort from Schwartz's literary alter ego Stanley Bing:100 Bullshit Jobs…and How To Get Them.

In an alphabetical list that includes “Cheese Artisan” and “Writer of This Book,” Bing lists “Executive VP, New Media” as an example of a highly dubious occupation. With a salary ranging from $225,000 to $1.5 million, the job requires one to “whip up an enormous storm of bullshit that makes everybody feel like the corporation is on the cutting edge of everything revenue-generating.”

Schwartz, who admits to making a career out of apologizing for Bing's outrageous comments, insists that “there is no BS in CBS.” He notes also that Smith is a president, not an executive VP, that his new job is all about “interactive rather than new media,” and that there is a “new set of performance metrics” in place today for people in a profession once typified by executives who were “up on all the current bullshit.”

PTC Nixes Web Search

The decency crusaders at Parents Television Council (PTC) were dismayed to learn recently that they've been inadvertently hawking the very primetime shows they've been railing against in press campaigns and numerous complaints to the FCC.

Turns out the search function at parentstv.org was turning up sponsored links along with PTC's archived jeremiads against sex, violence and profanity in primetime. So a search for, say, Without a Trace—a CBS show that has been hit with a proposed multimillion-dollar FCC fine, thanks to PTC member complaints—would yield a list of critical articles topped by a prominent link pitching downloads of Trace episodes so you “don't miss your favorite primetime TV shows on the CBS Network.”

Likewise, a search for FX's Rescue Me would get you the headline “PTC Outraged Over Graphic Rape Scenes on FX's Rescue Me”—and a helpful link advertising: “Low Prices on Rescue Me. Qualified Orders Over $25 Ship Free.”

Last week, however, the search feature disappeared. Because “the ads frequently listed things that were contradictory to our mission,” explains PTC spokeswoman Kelly Oliver, the “free search service” was removed from the site Nov. 6.

So, did the group get any kickbacks for trafficking in primetime “sleaze” (as it has characterized FX's Nip/Tuck)? Says Oliver, “It was a free search service, so the PTC was not profiting from the links.”

TWC's Urban Migration

Going public should mean that Time Warner Cable would be distancing itself from Time Warner Inc., right? Instead, the companies are getting closer. Literally.

The second-largest cable operator is quietly planning to relocate its headquarters from suburban Stamford, Conn., to Manhattan's Time Warner Center.

The move will involve primarily top management—President/CEO Glenn Britt and a handful of executives who report directly to him—along with staffers in treasury and public relations. Details are in the offing, but one executive estimates it may involve 20-30 of 200 employees.

The company is going public as part of its $16.9 billion acquisition of Adelphia Communications, which was partly paid for in stock that will soon be distributed to Adelphia's many creditors. Time Warner will continue to own 84% of the cable unit.

Still, Britt figures that the company needs to be closer to Wall Street and the center of the media world.

Some will no doubt enjoy the upscale Shoppes at Columbus Circle and Whole Foods on the buildings's lower floors. But others with homes in the suburbs may grouse about their suddenly elongated commutes. At least one executive won't mind: Britt owns an apartment on Manhattan's East Side.

With Jim Benson, John Eggerton and John M. Higgins