In the Loop


HD Spots

Last year's ABC HD Super Bowl broadcast featured a number of movie-trailer commercials in HD complete with 5.1 surround sound. This year, CBS was hopeful that its request for spots submitted in HD would expand HD commercials beyond the cinematic realm, but it appears the ad agencies have dashed those hopes. Three companies have submitted HD spots: Universal, Disney and Disney Pixar, but those three are movie companies. So it looks like HD viewers will have to wait for another big game to see the Coors Light Twins in HD. —K.K.

Wait a Minute

Since airing the Billboard Music Awards
last month, Fox has instituted a policy where it will delay live programs up to five minutes, as opposed to the normal five- to 10-second delay. Blame it on the potty-mouthed co-star of Fox's Simple Life, Nicole Richie (left). On the awards program, she let loose with a string of obscenities only half of which were caught by the five-second delay. Richie's antics angered viewers and caught the attention of the FCC. Fox has vowed to take aggressive steps to ensure it doesn't happen again, said Fox Networks Group President Tony Vinciquerra. "Talent that try to play with the censors are really putting live programming in general at risk, because there is too much at stake for stations to take that risk." —S.M.

Strange Deskfellows

News viewers might have gotten a small taste of why Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (above) works so well on cable but so far hasn't found a home on a broadcast network. During NBC's State of the Union postgame last Tuesday, NBC's Tom Brokaw got Stewart's take on Bush's speech and on Howard Dean's strange post-Iowa Caucus screech. But Stewart's tongue-in-cheek approach ("He knows a lot of states," Stewart quipped) clashed strangely with Brokaw's formal network style. —P.A.

Hey, You

The Television Critics Association, which runs the press tours, had its genesis in the mid '70s, when the networks controlled too many of the shots. Now, though, TCA seems to have gotten a little heavy-handed itself: It instituted a rule this year forbidding network executives from calling reporters by name from the podium at press conferences. So, during this year's question-fest, most of the network execs were foiled from time to time when they addressed a familiar face as Rick or Charlie or Ed, only to remember that they were supposed to be calling them "hey, you" or perhaps something even less specific. For the love of Pete (oops)! What about that freedom-of-speech thing?—P.J.B.

...And Then There's Gail

Maybe the TCA rule was really put into effect to keep network execs from calling reporters worse names in general. At least one TV critic, the Philadelphia Inquirer's feisty Gail Shister, set herself up for such treatment when she inquired—legitimately, we might add—of CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves (at center) whether he planned to recuse himself from decisions on CBS's The EarlyShow, because Moonves is dating Early Show
anchor Julie Chen while going through a divorce. Moonves was fast on his feet, though, quipping "Are you writing for the New York Post
now?" and then avoiding the subject by saying that he and CBS News Chief Andrew Heyward have worked out a system internally to avoid conflicts of interest. —P.A