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What’s Up With the Sudden Frenemy Frenzy?

May 11, 2008 9:00 PM

It’s not unusual to see stars crossing network lines to promote their show/movie/book/self, but head-to-head cross-bookings are once-in-a-blue-moon occurrences.

Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel visited each other’s late-night shows as a display of comradeship when both were broadcasting without the help of writers during the WGA strike, for example.

Last week, however, ABC’s Mr. Kimmel crossed the country—and the late-night competitive lines—to be a guest on CBS’ “The Late Show With David Letterman.” He joked that he was there to promote “Iron Man,” the box office hit in which he has no role.

A “Letterman” rep said, “We love Jimmy, and we’ve both been trying to make this happen for a long time.”

Among the broadcast networks’ morning shows, it has been a mini-trend to book polarizing cable news personalities, but they are usually found at other ends of the broadcast day. “Good Morning America” has had CNN Headline News’ prime-time conservative Glenn Beck make occasional appearances. “The Early Show” made a deal for weekly appearances by CNN’s self-styled populist Lou Dobbs (a deal that has lain fallow since the CBS morning show changed executive producers last year).

But last week NBC’s “Today” show did a segment about politicians appearing on comedy shows and introduced one of the guest commentators, Lola Ogunnaike, as a contributor of pop-culture pieces on CNN’s “American Morning.” Good for CNN’s morning show, which could use all the outreach promotion it can get. But why would “Today” book someone from another morning show, albeit one with a much smaller audience?

“We use guests and contributors from a variety of sources, including cable news channels. Lola is someone we’ve had before and we like her; her association with a cable show we don’t see as our competition shouldn’t disqualify her from an occasional appearance on ‘Today,’” said Jim Bell, executive producer of “Today.”

Hmmmm. Blink thinks CNN might want to stay on top of when the contractual window opens up for Ms. Ogunnaike, the former New York Times writer who also auditioned for “The View” in 2006.

—Michele Greppi


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