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Facing a Challenge Every Day

January 31, 2005 12:00 AM

On "The Entertainer," Wayne Newton's new show for E!, performers are put through a series of challenges. One of those working behind the scenes as a senior producer is Mr. Newton's sister-in-law, Tricia McCrone, who has to face her own life challenge. Four years ago she was diagnosed with lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease. In Ms. McCrone's case, it causes an inflammation of the connective tissue in the joints. "I was very lucky I was diagnosed early," she recalled recently. A former producer on "The Jenny Jones Show," Ms. McCrone, 34, has also gotten her brother-in-law involved in the group Lupus LA, which last year honored him and his wife, Kathleeen, with its Loop Award, presented by Pax Network founder Lowell "Bud" Paxson and wife Marla, who have a daughter with lupus). Mr. Newton calls Ms. McCrone "very courageous," adding: "She has held her integrity and never let the disease stop her from doing anything she wanted to accomplish." --ALEX BEN BLOCK

Measured Efforts

A group formed by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau is the latest to jump into the debate over how to measure the viewership of video-on-demand. The fray is already crowded with such groups as the On Demand Consortium at CTAM, the ID!A Project at DiMA Group, the advanced TV committee with the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the enhanced television group at the Association of National Advertisers, among others. CAB formed the group late last year and held a meeting in New York last week attended by programmers from Discovery, Turner, Scripps Networks, Viacom and others. The purpose is to find a common approach for VOD measurement currency, reporting metrics and revenue sharing. In layman's terms, CAB plans to serve as a matchmaker, bringing programmers and cable operators closer together on the prickly issue of ad-supported VOD. Finding ways to accurately measure VOD viewing is the single most important issue with VOD this year, CAB President and CEO Sean Cunningham said. "That's why everyone is obsessive in getting this done the right way," he said. --DAISY WHITNEY

A Shot at Leno

While NBC touted record ratings for its Johnny Carson tribute on "The Tonight Show," executives at Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network couldn't resist taking a shot at the show's current host, Jay Leno. In its popular late-night Adult Swim block, during "The Family Guy," sharp viewers spotted two Carson-related commercial break bumpers. The first was a sincere tribute, noting "[Carson] shaped our lives." But the second added: "We're sure that `The Tonight Show' will run plenty of Carson tributes this evening. But `The Tonight Show' hasn't been `The Tonight Show' since Johnny retired. The REAL `Tonight Show' is `The Late Show.' Hosted by a fellow named David Letterman." Then, in smaller type, the bumper explained: "The ideas and opinions expressed in this bump completely reflect those of Adult Swim ... and you, the viewer." Word has it Adult Swim Senior VP Mike Lazzo and writer-producer Matt Harrigan, who once worked on "Late Show," wrote the copy. "I think it was just a complete expression of honest feelings," Mr. Harrigan said. "We felt sad, and that was the next thing that came out. Everybody here loves Dave and sees Dave as the heir." --JAMES HIBBERD