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Boston Show Copy-Wronged By 'Tucker'

July 17, 2006 12:00 AM

MSNBC's no-longer-bow-tied Tucker Carlson moved to an afternoon time slot, shortened the show's title to "Tucker" and added a new segment in which he throws stones at folks in the media-from CNN's Anderson Cooper for interviewing celebrities to HDNet's Dan Rather for being too emotional on "Larry King Live." Mr. Carlson's title for the new segment? "Beat the Press." Oops-that title was copyrighted in the summer of 1994 and was used on a 10-minute pilot in 1995 by Emily Rooney. Emily, of course, is the daughter of "60 Minutes'" Andy Rooney and the sister of ABC News correspondent Brian Rooney, as well as a highly regarded local news executive who served a stint at ABC News as Peter Jennings' "World News Tonight" executive producer before returning to Boston. Since 1997, Ms. Rooney has been doing award-winning media criticism under the title "Beat the Press" as part of the Friday night editions of "Greater Boston," a weeknight magazine show she executive produces for pubcaster WGBH-TV. Last Friday night she took aim at Mr. Carlson and his new segment: "Carlson's producer says they've never heard of our show," Ms. Rooney said in the piece taped for broadcast. "Fair enough. But have they ever heard of Google?" Blink called Ms. Rooney to inquire about her reaction to being wronged on her copyright. She said the WGBH lawyers had been notified, then delivered a rueful punch line on the issue to Blink: "I certainly welcome media criticism on a national level, but Tucker Carlson's segment needs some fine-turning." There was no comment from MSNBC by deadline.

-Michele Greppi

Scrambled but Not Poached

Two years ago ABC made headlines when it promoted its debuting "Desperate Housewives" on dry cleaning bags. This year CBS is taking things further with its fall 2006 promotional campaign, or as the network is calling it, "egg-vertising." With the help of the laser-marking firm EggFusion, CBS is inscribing its logo and promotional slogans for its prime-time series on supermarket-bought eggs in September. Usually reserved for freshness dates, the laser marking will promote seven shows and the CBS Monday comedy block. Some examples: "CBS Mondays: Leave the Yolks to Us" and "Shark: Hard-Boiled Drama." If you find yolky puns less than egg-citing and even a bit egg-scrutiating, be warned before picking up a dozen Grade-A's: CBS is marking more than 35 million eggs for the campaign.

-Christopher Lisotta

CEO Finalists at Hallmark

Who will be next to wear the crown at Hallmark Channel? Some people in the know are saying that the headhunter hired to find a replacement for CEO David Evans is down to a short list and that a successor will be named in the next four to six weeks. Candidates from the outside are said to be former Court TV CEO Henry Schleiff, former Nickelodeon boss Herb Scannell and former President of Warner Bros. Domestic Pay TV, Cable and Network Features Ed Bleier. Internal candidates include interim CEO Paul FitzPatrick, programming chief David Kenin and head of ad sales Bill Abbott. A Hallmark spokesman had no comment.

-Jon Lafayette

TCA Photo Shootout

Negotiations between wire services and networks over photographer access at Television Critics Association presentations are usually private affairs, but a conflict between the Associated Press and Fox went public last week. AP had requested access to shoot at Fox's press tour sessions scheduled for July 24 and 25, but was turned down by the network's photo department and instead was offered the use of photos Fox would take at the event. Fox has taken issue with wire services such as AP, which have sold shots internationally that were taken at Fox events despite prohibitions from the network. AP's L.A. Administrative News Editor Steve Loeper and his entertainment photo editor fired off an e-mail to Fox saying that without photo access, no AP reporters would attend Fox's TCA events. Mr. Loeper also copied the e-mail to some TV trade reporters, and the AP even moved a story on the disagreement, a call Mr. Loeper said he did not make. The two sides are now talking, but Fox is wondering why the disagreement went wide in the first place. "This whole matter would have been resolved with one telephone call to me," said Joe Earley, the network's top PR executive, "and it likely will be. But for some reason they chose to try and make this a big press story." Mr. Loeper had no apologies for alerting the trade press. "We wanted to send a message to the industry," he said. "We're very concerned about this trend."

-Christopher Lisotta