The Show Won't Go On
Chicago— A well-publicized weekly TV collaboration between Tribune Co. and giant pharmaceutical chain Walgreen has been scrapped after the two sides failed to reach agreement on a "show both could be happy with."
Tribune spokesman Gary Weitmen said, "We couldn't maintain our editorial standards and deliver what Walgreens wanted as an advertiser."
Walgreen VP for Advertising Craig Sinclair agreed, "It was a case of different parties, different interests." Both said Tribune maintained editorial control throughout the process, although neither would identify the differences between the broadcaster and the drugstore chain.
The show was to have been the centerpiece of a multimillion-dollar, multimedia agreement, airing on WGN-TV Chicago and WGN Superstation Saturday mornings beginning Nov. 16. The other parts of the agreement, including advertising across Tribune's various platforms, will continue, Sinclair said.
The program's health- and medical-news content was to have been drawn from Tribune's 24 television stations, then produced and fed via satellite by the Tribune Media Center in Washington.
The Ehrlich Bird Catches the Flak
Baltimore— Maryland Gov.-elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has been given discounted use of a luxury helicopter provided by a company owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group officer J. Duncan Smith, the Baltimore Sun
reported last week, possibly in violation of election law. The newspaper reported that Ehrlich and his family used it during the campaign and for post-election vacationing and that invoices from the Ehrlich campaign showed the rate charged to be less than half the normal rate of $2,500 per hour; the rest was attributed to an in-kind donation that was not reported in a timely manner.
Maryland Democrats have accused Sinclair flagship WBFF(TV) Baltimore of bias against Ehrlich's opponent, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. Although company spokesman Mark Hyman acknowledged that he had been critical of Townsend in editorials, he denied any bias in the station's reporting. Smith could not be reached.
Politics, Porno: Same Difference
Pierre, S.D.— South Dakota State Representative and Senator-elect Bill Napoli says he plans to introduce legislation to restrict political advertising on radio and TV to the 60-day period prior to the election.
Napoli says he thinks his proposal, expected to be introduced early next year, will pass constitutional muster despite its speech regulation. "I'm not restricting anyone's speech," he says, "only the time of that speech. I believe there is a strong government interest in open, honest and decent elections. To me, this is no different from regulation of pornography." Napoli cites lower voter turnout as among the negative fallout from the highly contentious—and expensive—recent elections.
Steve Willard, lobbyist for the South Dakota Broadcasters Association, says he likes Napoli, whom he calls "a real firebrand and very sincere," but will oppose the legislation.
Even Napoli, a longtime state pol who admits to being "a right-wing fringe conservative" generally opposed to government regulation, admits he has a problem with his own bill. "But this is such a severe problem I'm willing to go out on a limb. I saw the process I love prostituted, and I was embarrassed. But I've dropped the legislative hammer to my brethren. If they don't like this, come up with something else."
New York— Anna Carbonell, WNBC(TV) New York's vice president for station relations and a New York City longtime public-affairs host and producer, was named a Distinguished Daughter of Puerto Rico—Hija Predilecta de Puerto Rico, actually—by the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. Carbonell was recognized for years of work within New York's Puerto Rican community.