The Sincerest Form of Flattery, er, Right?
August 14, 2006 12:00 AM
We admit it. When the editors of TelevisionWeek first received e-mails early last week directing our attention to the Web site TVMonthDaily.com-featuring a tag line of "Up to the minute weekly news"-yes, we were a little offended. The site emulates our look, with a big red TVWeek-like circle in its logo, while billing itself as "The Broadcast & Cable Industry's Leading Fake News Magazine." Aside from poking fun at our regular e-mail-based newsletters, the site skewered several aspects of the TV business. One TVMonthDaily headline, for example, read: "Flustered Dan Rather Finally Admits He Has No Idea What HDNet Is." So once we got over the initial sting, we had to chuckle. Then, of course, we set out straight away to find out who's spoofing us. The "editor" of TVMonthDaily at first declined by e-mail to identify herself. By Friday morning, though, former SoapNet Marketing Director Jacinda Cannon claimed responsibility via telephone. She now serves as managing director, East Coast, of advertising agency G&M Plumbing, where she was part of the team that came up with the idea of an inside humor magazine satirizing industry newsletters, she said. The goal, Ms. Cannon explained, was to showcase G&M's "creative capabilities" and display how well the shop knows the TV business. She e-mailed the first edition to "400 or 500" members of the industry last week and plans to unleash the next edition today. Ms. Cannon said she chose to emulate TVWeek because we cover the business so well and because it's "the most recognizable brand in the industry." Aw, shucks. We feel much better now.
Capturing Idle 'Idol' Hopefuls
Networks are always on the lookout for captive audiences to whom they can promote their new fall schedules. Fox has a unique promotional opportunity for such an audience with the tens of thousands of hopefuls lining up to audition for its music reality behemoth "American Idol." The "Idol" tryouts, which started last week and will run through Sept. 19, are being held in seven cities, and along for the ride are Fox street teams, who are handing out swag pushing the network's debuting fall shows. Katharine McPhee and Bo Bice wannabes waiting for their big break are being offered "Justice" pens, "Vanished" compact mirrors and "Standoff" mints. Not being handed out: Ryan Seacrest makeup kits or Simon Cowell black T-shirts. n
Dale Turner Finds His Space
Today's teenagers are nothing without a page on MySpace.com. The upcoming CBS drama "Jericho" has taken that belief to heart by creating a MySpace page for one of the show's characters: the sensitive 16-year-old Dale Turner. According to his page, Dale is a single, 5'9" Radiohead-loving Cancer from Jericho, Kan., and, according to his punctuation-scarce blog entries, kind of a loner who likes to read. CBS Paramount Network TV, the studio behind "Jericho," has hired an outside firm to write the blog entries, which tease the opening episode of the mysterious, possibly apocalyptic drama. For a shy, fake Kansas teen, Dale is doing fairly well on MySpace; a total of 602 users have joined his Friend Space since his first blog entry July 15. No doubt CBS Paramount is hoping they all tune in to see Dale on TV on Wednesdays this fall.
How MTV2 Lost Its 'Pants'
Fuse's cult hit "Pants-Off Dance-Off," the most praised music video gimmick since mid-1990s sensation "Pop-Up Video," was passed up by MTV before it ever got to Fuse. Since debuting earlier this year, the amateur striptease series has been heralded by The New York Times, TV Guide, the Associated Press and even MTV Networks'-own "Best Week Ever" on VH1. "It's so brilliantly simple that I'm shocked it hasn't been done," wrote a critic with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The name is brilliant too." The biggest hit ever for bottom-ranked network Fuse, the show airs five nights a week and earns double Fuse's average prime-time rating. But back in 2004, executive producer Tad Low first took the idea to MTV2. "MTV's channels are restricted from playing lots of music videos, mostly due to poor relationships with the various record labels, so they had to pass," Mr. Low said. "I was recently back at MTV2 pitching a new show and was told that, even with the extreme popularity of 'Pants-Off,' MTV wouldn't have been able to skirt the [label issues]." An MTV2 spokesman noted the network passed "for a variety of reasons." Hmm, maybe it was because Mr. Low didn't have the resume to produce a breakout music video series. After all, his credits include … "Pop-Up Video."