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TelevisionWeek's Blink page is an industry must-read, taking a sardonic look at happenings across the television business. This wry coverage is extended online and updated throughout the week.

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Welcome Back or Goodbye?

November 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Although renominated by President Bush thanks to a deal made by his former boss, outgoing Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., it was unclear going into last weekend whether Democrat Jonathan Adelstein would win approval for another term on the Federal Communications Commission. His nomination was approved Friday morning by the Senate Commerce Committee but had yet to come to a vote before the full Senate. He was among almost 200 appointments for federal offices, including Bush administration judicial appointments, caught in a last-minute logjam as the lame-duck Congress rushed to finish. The potential snag for Mr. Adelstein, according to a key Senate source, is that all of the nominees in the massive package have to sink or swim together, and some lawmakers had holds on some of the candidates. The key question posed, said the Senate source: "Are we going for mutually assured destruction or not?" In the end, Mr. Adelstein's fate will depend on deals made in proverbial smoke-filled rooms among Washington insiders. If he isn't confirmed, his opportunity for another term will go up in smoke. He will have to step down immediately; his term is expired.

-DOUG HALONEN



Music Adver-Video

The video of the theme from "Gilligan's Island" by the band Bowling for Soup, in which band members are dressed as "Gilligan" characters, is more than a video. The clip, showing on MTV and VH1, is an ad for "The Real Gilligan's Island," a new reality show premiering Nov. 30 on TBS, which paid the Viacom networks an undisclosed sum to run it about two dozen times during the week of Nov. 8. It concludes with tune-in info including the time and date of the premiere. Most networks won't air spots for rival channels with specific tune-in times, but a spokesman said MTV does it sometimes. "It was a good deal for us," one Viacom staffer said. "We like the color of their money." TBS was also pleased. "Any network that will take ours, we'll take theirs," said TBS Executive VP and General Manager Steve Koonin. "There should be reciprocity between us, so if MTV called and asked, we would do the same for them." In addition to MTV and VH1, the video has been running in Regal Theaters, and the music has been sent to DJs at radio stations and will be heard on AOL Music and Shockwave. A CD of the song was included in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly.

-JON LAFAYETTE



It's A Wrap You Can't Refuse

It's not TV. It's ho ho ho for HBO, which is supplying the wrapping paper for people who want to give "The Sopranos" for Christmas. The holiday ad campaign for DVD sets of its original series features a gift-wrap theme. An ad in Entertainment Weekly in December includes an actual sheet of wrapping paper big enough to cover a DVD. In "Sopranos" style, the paper features a snowman design, but one of the snowmen has lost his head, a la Ralph Cifaretto. The wrap for "Curb Your Enthusiasm" depicts stockings filled with lumps of coal. The bling-bling-inspired ad for "Da Ali G Show" says a DVD is "the perfect gift for Christmas and Harmonica." The ad for "Oz" notes that "Just like life on the inside, it's better to give than receive." "The beauty of this campaign for us is that it's a central idea that lets us advertise a broad range of product and kind of tie it all together," said Cynthia Rhea, HBO senior VP of marketing, "which in turn leverages what all these shows have in common, which is that they're from HBO."

-JON LAFAYETTE