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I'm Too Sexy for Some Advertisers, Not Too Sexy for Others to Love

October 18, 2004 12:00 AM

The same sizzling, sexy content drawing viewers to "Desperate Housewives" is also driving some advertisers away, but for ABC that may be the good news. Lowe's Home Improvement and Tyson Foods said last week they will no longer advertise in the show, whose story lines include one homemaker having sex with her teenage gardener and two other women vying for a widower. Oddly, the dropouts are doing ABC a favor, say media buying executives. Ads sold during the upfront market in June went for $160,000 for a 30-second spot. Now that the show is a hit among viewers 18 to 49, the price has risen to just under $400,000 per unit. And despite some market weakness, there is furious demand. An ABC exec said Lowe's didn't actually buy any spots in the show: They were purchased by Whirlpool USA in a co-branding effort with Lowe's. A Lowe's spokeswoman said she didn't know the details, only that "Our advertising will no longer appear in the program." -WAYNE FRIEDMAN

A Current Idea

Twentieth Television is discussing the idea of reviving one of the original tabloid television series, "A Current Affair." The show, which was started by Rupert Murdoch's crew in 1986 and aired through 1996, mostly on Fox-owned stations, was famous for breaking the rules of television news-including paying for stories and re-enacting crimes-and focusing on lurid cases, making William Kennedy Smith, Joey Buttafuoco and Robert Chambers household names. The show died partly because the rest of the news business shifted toward the sensational. "It's been talked about from time to time about bringing it back," a Twentieth spokesman said. "It's just an idea and a concept that we're discussing internally here. There's no timetable. No decision has been made on whether or not to bring it back." The spokesman said he didn't know whether former host Maury Povich or any of the colorful characters who worked on the original show have been contacted about returning.


Suit Racked

So much for NBC's lawsuit against Pat O'Brien claiming he violated his contract with former employer "Access Hollywood" in promos for his new show, "The Insider," and by trying to steal away some "Access" staffers. At the time, there were reports that Jeffrey Zucker, president of the NBC Universal TV Group, pushed legal action because he was angry about the way Mr. O'Brien handled his exit. The New York Post reported last week that NBC tried to bar stars of its shows, including Donald Trump and Heather Locklear, from doing interviews with Mr. O'Brien. An NBC spokesperson told the paper the network prefers its talent do NBC shows but said it doesn't stop them from appearing elsewhere. A spokesperson for Paramount's "The Insider" had no comment except to note the show is the highest-rated new syndicated entry of the fall. -ALEX BEN BLOCK