Monday, Jan. 31
Given all the dirty laundry that those scrappin' Michaels, Eisner & Ovitz, were flapping in a Delaware courthouse until recently, no doubt Disney would welcome the chance to announce some positive news, right? Like, perhaps, today's quarterly earnings report, the first to include a full three months from the company's revived ABC network? Er, nope. Big programming means big spending, so ABC's earnings are expected to drop. And the network's O&O stations are likely to clock in with an anemic 2% growth. Tonight: David Letterman returns with his first new Late Show (CBS, 11:30 p.m. ET) since Johnny Carson's death. Letterman's likely to address the passing of the King of Late Night (and occasional Late Show monologue contributor), and those rare moments when Dave speaks from the heart are not to be missed.
Tuesday, Feb. 1
Day one, NBC's Fan February. Weeks ago, the network announced a contest to “reward loyal viewers” of the soaps Days of Our Lives and Passions. The challenge: Fans could “submit their names in hope of hearing them broadcast or seeing them displayed on screen.” Watching soaps for a month on the off chance that your name, out of thousands, might be uttered—or “displayed”—on television? Totally worth it! Meanwhile, The Next Great Rock Star, the working title for a new Mark Burnett reality project, holds auditions today at the fabled First Avenue club in Minneapolis (part of a 10-city audition tour). The winner's reward? A job as the new lead singer for INXS. Since the position used to be held by Michael Hutchence, who committed suicide in 1997, the idea's a tad macabre. But kudos to Burnett for doing a rock-'n-'roll variation on American Idol and giving Fox a taste of its own Xerox toner.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
Hats off to the Louisiana Cable & Telecommunications Association. The LCTA—going by the moniker Krewe of Cable—holds its annual trade show and convention, starting today, at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New Orleans just in time for Mardi Gras. Keynote speaker: Cox Communications COO Patrick Esser. Title of speech: “It's the bundle, baby!” Conveniently, the phrase will work equally well when shouted from the Krewe's private balcony on Bourbon Street.
Thursday, Feb. 3
The Department of Education and PBS hold a two-day seminar on the relationship between the media and literacy education, starting today in Baltimore. Guests for the invitation-only gathering include reps from Sesame Workshop, Jim Henson Co. and Nickelodeon. We've heard that Elmo and Squidward are going to invite attendees to a special event the two are planning at a Unitarian church this spring in Vermont, but their representatives flatly deny it.
Friday, Feb. 4
Warning to ad-skipping TiVo users: Your machine might explode from techno-bewilderment if you try to use it for CBS's The Greatest Commercials: Super Bowl vs. the World. (8 p.m. ET). Just sit back and watch the show the old-fashioned, real-time way, enjoying classics like the Coke ad with Mean Joe Green and devilishly inventive stuff from overseas. And then weep in your nachos over the spots that actually pay for Friday-night-TV time.
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