In the Loop


Bush Snubs Nick

When Nickelodeon airs its Nick's Kids Pick the President
election special next month, viewers won't hear directly from President Bush. B&C
has learned Bush nixed offers to appear in the Nick News special, executive-produced by Linda Ellerbee. (Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic challenger, is trying to schedule an appearance.) According to Ellerbee, the Bush campaign said, "He is the president, he is too busy," a response, she calls, "rather dismissive of the children of America."

Back in 2000, however, Bush did go on a similar Nick special, along with former Vice President Al Gore, to field pretaped queries from kids nationwide. Ellerbee also produced Nick specials for the 1992 and 1996 elections in which former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton participated. Ellerbee says Bush won't be ignored. Her Lucky Duck Productions is buying video clips where the president speaks about issues worrying kids. After the show, Nick opens a phone line for kids to call in and vote.

For now, Ellerbee and Nick continue to press the Bush campaign for an interview. If Bush sits out, she'll try to explain why on-air. She wants to assure the kids that a dismissal from the president doesn't "mean you don't count."

A Lifetime of Reality

After watching other networks score with reality, Lifetime is finally jumping into the genre in a big way. Doggie Style
focuses on a New York pet salon that caters to the ridiculously indulgent pet owner. The place is so high-end, it does dental veneers for dogs. The Bridal Dynasty, set in an Orange County, Calif., bridal salon, outfits a lot of brides marrying Marines from Camp Pendleton who are about to ship out.

For makeover fans (hardly an underserved audience), Lifetime offers You're Not the Man I Married,
in which a husband gets a new look and enough relationship advice to make his wife blush with anticipation. If picked up for a series, the new shows arrive late in first quarter 2005.

Lifetime is even adding a little star power to its reality slate: The View's Star Jones hosts Popping the Question
, which captures outrageous marriage proposals. The on-air pilot runs Nov. 14. "We're looking for great drama or comedy captured in real life," explains reality programming chief Bill Brand. But Lifetime-movie lovers shouldn't fret. The network favors reality at 11 p.m. to keep programs protected from competitive prime time.

The MTV Shuffle

The ongoing management shuffle at MTV Networks is drawing to a close. Recently christened MTV Networks Chairman Judy McGrath is close to finalizing her management team. MTV and MTV2 President Van Toffler is slated to win big. He's expected to take charge of all of the music networks, including VH1, CMT and all their digital offshoots.

But Comedy Central President Doug Herzog also scores. He got McGrath to split his network away from MTV. (McGrath's old title had been president of MTV music and comedy group.) In effect, Toffler gets only the music channels, while Herzog continues to report to McGrath.

Next in line for handouts is MTV programming chief Brian Graden, who has MTV rocking with hits. Graden's contract is up, and he's looking for more turf and money. Insiders say he'll get both, including programming duties at CMT and a major role in MTV's international networks. It's not clear whom McGrath is teeing up to replace ex-MTV Networks Mark Rosenthal, who left when she replaced Tom Freston, now co-president of Viacom.

L&O: Iraq

Few TV show names sum up the U.S. military's mission inside Iraq better than Law & Order. Show creator Dick Wolf sent 400 L&O
caps and a pile of DVDs to support the troops in Iraq. Ever conscious of production design, the caps are even camouflage-colored. Perhaps some other shows should follow suit. Will & Grace
boots? Crossing Jordan
jackets? Fear Factor