To encourage stations to promote new daytime reality show Starting Over, NBC Enterprises is giving them an hour preview episode and letting them keep all 14 minutes of ad time. The show will introduce the cast of women and the two "life coaches" and explain the show's premise. NBC also has pulled out all the in-show promos, adding another 40 seconds of ad time. Stations can double- or triple-run the preview. Typically, syndicators split the ad time with stations. Starting Over premieres Sept. 8.—P.A.
Bonzo Goes To the Bank
Kendall, a 4-year-old chimp, has been tapped by The WB to pick the numbers that could make Pepsi's Play for a Billion contestant a billion bucks.
Word has it, the chimp (at right with Jamie Kennedy, left, and Drew Carey) is being used to ensure that the drawing is on the up and up. Berkshire Hathaway is insuring the money. We get it from a reliable source—who talked to the trainer—that the chimp has not been trained to recognize numbers or colors, so there will be no monkeying around with the outcome. The special airs Sept. 14. Interesting sidelight: Pepsi's prize guarantor, Berkshire Hathaway, is chaired by Warren Buffet, who is on the board of … Coca Cola.—J.E.
Jerry Tops Tiger
By today's end, the Deutsche Bank Championship—a new PGA tournament to benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation —will have a winner, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association will have raised millions via its annual Labor Day telethon, hosted by Jerry Lewis (at left). But prior to the two events, MDA organizers faced a potential preemption of their last three hours on ABC affiliates. Lewis was so upset he called ABC officials to ask them not to cut into the telethon, according to an MDA spokesman. ABC declined.
Some ABC affiliates—WFTS(TV) Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., for one—planned to cut to the tourney, most affiliates agreed to stick with Jerry and show the tourney on tape. "Morally, I don't have the heart or the stomach to tell the MDA and these families that we are going to cut to a golf tournament," said KGUN(TV) Tucson, Ariz., GM Ray Dega.—P.L.A.
Plug-and-Play Teed Up
FCC Chairman Michael Powell aims to set technical standards for "plug-and-play" cable-ready DTV sets at the commission's Sept. 10 meeting. Cable and consumer-electronics industry officials are optimistic the commissioners will approve their deal, which would set standards for the sets including a license regulating what types of programming consumers may copy and how often.
The proceeding could be bumped to the October meeting. Viacom, Disney, Vivendi and News Corp. urged the FCC to block the deal, partly because it preserves the "analog hole" that allows digital content to be converted to analog and copied back to digital.—B.M.