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.



A Whole New Wardrobe for Nancy O'Dell

December 18, 2006 12:00 AM

It ain't easy for the co-anchor of a chatty Hollywood show to keep her pregnancy a secret until the magical first trimester has been passed. But "Access Hollywood's" Nancy O'Dell did a pretty good job, considering she finally had to tell the show's wardrobe people "because my pants were starting not to fit." A wardrobe expense account item from A Pea in the Pod is not going to go unnoticed. "We finally had to tell the director because I just felt like before we said anything I was looking a little bigger than normal," Ms. O'Dell said. The director started shooting her more from the waist up, but "then I started getting all these e-mails from my friends who noticed that the shots were different. I'm like, `You guys are not supposed to be that TV-savvy,"' she said. Her first baby, due in July, will have two brothers, 7 and 11, sons of Keith Zubchevich, Ms. O'Dell's husband of 11/2 years, for whom T-shirts saying "I'm the Big Brother" and "I'm the Bigger Brother" already have been secured. "They're being so cute about the whole thing," Ms. O'Dell said. She's being pretty cute about the whole thing herself. -Michele Greppi

That's One Hot Tamale

Rosie O'Donnell has done a form of hard time for her "Ching-chonggate" debacle on "The View," in which she used stereotypical sounds to approximate the Chinese language-much to the ire of Asian Americans and other ethnic groups. So where would the jury stand on Sony Pictures Television's latest promotion for "Judge Maria Lopez": a small bottle of hot sauce, Latino-style, which is used to illustrate the show's slogan, "Justice Will Be Served Spicy" (presumably a reference to the Cuban American judge's heritage as well as to her, er, peppery personality). This leads Blink to wonder: If famed O.J. Simpson murder trial judge Lance Ito got a series, would the distributor send out promotional soy sauce?

-Tom Gilbert

A Garden Full of Texters

It's been a while since fans in New York's Madison Square Garden have had any great moments to watch. So that makes them the perfect audience for MSG Network to promote its series "The 50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden." One part of the promotion is a text-message contest with ClubTexting.com that allows Rangers hockey fans in the arena to win tickets and team memorabilia through Jan 13. (Fans without text-messaging capabilities, or those just worried they'll get hit by a puck while staring at their cellphones, can still win the low-tech way by dropping an entry through a slot in a box.) About 300 people sent text messages from their seats during the first game of the promotion. MSG Network has also been promoting the series by giving away 50,000 hot dogs around the streets of New York, and by wrapping three subway cars in promos for the show that create the feeling of sitting in the arena.

-Jon Lafayette

A Beast of a Movie Tie-In

While "Night at the Museum" might be a dream date for some National Geographic Channel viewers, it's also the name of the new Ben Stiller film being released by 20th Century Fox. A marketing tie-in was a natural-especially considering that Nat Geo is managed by the Fox Cable Networks Group. The promotion involves an online sweepstakes, the prize being a trip to Washington to camp out at the "Bizarre Beast" exhibition at the National Geographic Museum at Explorers Hall. The lucky winner will spend the night watching Nat Geo shows and taking part in "Bizarre Beast" model-making workshops. They'll also get $5,000 worth of camping gear. In addition to the presence on the Web site, where a preview of "Night at the Museum" is available, the sweepstakes will get print and on-air support. -Jon Lafayette

Frosty the Mallrat

If you're looking for a way to keep the kids subdued while holiday shopping, here's the deal: Starting Thursday, CBS is hosting twice-a-day screenings of the network stalwart "Frosty the Snowman" in Simon Malls across the country, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Miami and Minneapolis. OnSpot Digital Network has placed more than 30 digital screens throughout each mall, in such areas as food courts, center courts and other high-traffic areas, so there are plenty of vantage points from which to keep the little folks engaged. The screenings will run through Christmas Eve.

-Tom Gilbert