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CAB Narrows CEO Search to Three

The Cabletelevison Advertising Bureau has trimmed its search for a new CEO to the three contenders, all from the ad-agency side (as outgoing CEO Joseph Ostrow was when named to the post in 1994). According to sources close to the situation, the three candidates have gone through the first two phases of the search committee's interview process.

The CAB hopes to make a selection in the next "two to four weeks," sources said last Friday.

Sponsorships

USA Network
has signed about a half dozen major sponsors for Eco-Challenge Fiji, a five-hour competition airing in one-hour installments May 5-7 and a two-hour finale May 8. Chevy Trucks
will be the presenting sponsor; Kodak Max, Smirnoff Ice Triple Black, Yahoo!, Verizon Wireless, Schick X-treme 3
and Mad River
have all signed on as participating sponsors. The advertisers also get plugs via product placements and team names in the endurance competition. The actual competition—created by Mark Burnett
of Survivor fame—took place in October, starting with 81 four-person teams representing 23 nations; that number soon dwindled to 23 teams. …

VH1
has sold the latest variation on its annual Divas special, Divas Duets, to nine brands, including three from the Proctor & Gamble
stable: Crest Rejuvenating Effects, Cover Girl
and Hydrience by Clairol. The other major sponsors: Heineken, Mercedes-Benz, Infusium 23, Aquafina, Chrysler Group
and McDonald's.

Divas Duets, hosted by Queen Latifah, will bow May 22 at 9 p.m. ET; this will be the second year that VH1 will originate the show from Las Vegas.

Scarborough Offers Expanded Database

Scarborough Research
has effectively doubled the size of its database by combining data from two continuous 12-month studies into a single 24-month database. Study Maker, an addition to Scarborough's Prime Next
data-analysis software, allows TV-station clients to "drill deeper" into consumer, shopping, media, lifestyle and demo categories in pitching their stations to advertisers, says the company.

"Local advertisers and media outlets that have traditionally smaller audience sizes will now have a larger respondent base to work with when profiling their consumers," says Scarborough's Steve Seraita, executive VP and director of sales.

Scarborough is a joint venture of Arbitron
and VNU.

Myers Sees Broadcast, Cable Upfront Gains

Jack Myers Reports
last week released its projections for the 2003-04 upfront market—upwardly revised to $8.75 billion for the broadcast networks and $5.35 billion for cable.

The broadcast prime time estimate represents a 6.7% increase from the year-ago $8.2 billion, up from the daily newsletter's previously projected 5%.

For the basic cable nets, JMR
editor Jack Myers
estimates a hefty 16% jump from the year-ago $4.6 billion, vs. the earlier forecast of 10%.

Myers, who predicts "significant" upfront cost-per-thousand increases, says key contributors to the upsurge will be the automotive and entertainment categories, as well as consumer electronics, media, pharmaceuticals, financial services and package goods.

For the broadcasters, JMR
sees the evening newscasts as the only non-prime time daypart with slowing sales; he puts the dip at 11%.

Myers also predicts upfront growth for syndication, which he estimates should climb 10% to $2.2 billion from $2 billion last year.

Next J&J 'Spotlight' Movie Set for Fall

Johnson & Johnson's next "Spotlight Presentation" movie on TNT
will be Wilder Days, due in October with Peter Falk
as the star. As reported two weeks ago, the movie will be about a grandfather's recalling for his grandson his days on a circus boat. Interpublic Group of Cos.'Magna Global Entertainment
will co-produce with Viacom Productions.

Another J&J movie, baseball-themed The Winning Season, which was announced months ago, will air in 2004, TNT said at its upfront presentation Wednesday evening. The fantasy plot deals with a 12-year-old who travels back in time to meet Hall of Famer Honus Wagner using the legend's prized baseball card as the portal.

That title makes four J&J/TNT movies done or in development.

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