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The Insider

Jun 25, 2001  •  Post A Comment

It’s all `Today’ all the time now
“Weekend Today” will not be getting a new executive producer to fill the vacancy created when Kim Bondy left for a vice presidency at CNN. Instead, the staff learned last week, the show will be rolled into “Today” under the flagship show’s new executive producer Jonathan Wald. One NBC News source said that while details are still to be worked out, the new situation is likely to give various senior producers on the combined staff chances to shine on the weekend under some kind of rotation.
Of `Sex’ and the Blackberry
Not to come off like an HBO promotion, but fans of “Sex and the City” know it is more than a TV show. It’s a barometer of all that is-or is about to be-hip, whether it is obscenely priced shoes and oversize fabric flowers or happenin’ nightspots. So it strikes the faithful as odd, almost worrisome, that the Blackberry, the ultimate and ubiquitous pager that has become the power accessory, has not rated even a passing reference on “Sex.” So The Insider, who believes there are no ridiculous questions, just ridiculous answers, asked a “Sex” publicist if the series has anything against the Blackberry? It seems the “Sex” crew “just got their Blackberries this year.” Now “everybody on the set has them. We’re always in the moment. We’re always in the hip, so you will see it,” promised the spokeswoman. Toeing HBO’s locked-lips PR policy, she wouldn’t say when or how. Just “stay tuned.”
So The Insider asked folks in circles that got Blackberries last year how they would expect to see the e-pager used and by which character. Most voted to have sexually hyperactive publicist Samantha introduce the device, perhaps at one of the gals’ breakfasts. One West Coaster bets that Mr. Big probably has a big Blackberry. The Insider, and anyone who’s been in a conference-room full of people thumbing their Blackberries with both hands, are guessing that Carrie & Co. are not going to be introducing audiences to Blackberry sex.
MSNBC anchors not going away
The Insider, a fan of MSNBC anchors Chris Jansing and Gregg Jarrett, had feared Ms. Jansing was not long for the MSNBC world when she saw Ms. Jansing’s name on a recent list of women scheduled to sit in for a day or two on “The KTLA Morning News,” the Los Angeles show that has been short a femme regular for several weeks. Imagine The Insider’s relief upon learning that not only has Ms. Jansing signed a new contract that keeps her at MSNBC, but so has her steady
co-anchor Mr. Jarrett.
Taggers are it for `Link’
In Venice Beach and other parts of Los Angeles, including CBS’s Television City headquarters, it has been hard not to notice the numerous graffiti-like renderings of the slogan, “You are the weakest link-goodbye!” The chalk stencilings, which eventually wash off in the rain, are what NBC’s promo domo John Miller describes as a “viral marketing campaign” for NBC’s hit game show, “Weakest Link.” Mr. Miller, president of the NBC Agency, said his ad unit hired “professional” signage people, not amateur graffiti artists, to stencil the omnipresent signature line of “Link” host Anne Robinson mostly at construction sites around Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Although Mr. Miller is cagey about his role, he admitted having his graffiti crew plaster the driveway and gate leading into CBS’s Television City driveway with the “Weakest Link” slogan and Peacock Network logo. “It was all done in good fun, and it’s a good thing the logos wash off with water, or I’d be getting calls from them,” he said, with a laugh. Mr. Miller seems particularly prescient, since three of the CBS owned-and-operated TV stations bought the syndicated version of “Weakest Link” last week from NBC Enterprises Domestic Syndication.
The final word …
Folks inside CNN can hardly contain their enthusiasm for the next generation of CNN Headline News, which is being developed by Headline Executive Vice President Teya Ryan. That enthusiasm will be shared in detail on July 11 when members of the Television Critics Association gather for the annual summer tour at the Ritz-Carlton in Pasadena, Calif. The channel, which already averages a 0.2 rating on any given day when big sister CNN is averaging a 0.3 with older demos, is aiming for more live segments, more anchor involvement and more layers of information throughout the 15-minute wheel. Those who are hip to such things say that Headline, whose average viewing span is about 11 minutes, could boost its rating to 0.3 by getting the average viewer to stick around for about three more minutes. Once former “NYPD Blue” actress Andrea Thompson is ensconced as an anchor, The Insider suspects the gawker quotient will increase.