Briefly Noted

Oct 29, 2001  •  Post A Comment

IBS to manage NBC O&O Web sites
The Web sites of NBC’s 13 owned-and-operated stations will be managed by Internet Broadcasting Systems under a joint operating agreement announced last week. The transition, to begin immediately, is slated to be completed by the end of first quarter 2002.
NBC, whose stations reach nearly 28 percent of the nation’s TV homes, will retain “ultimate editorial control” under the agreement that expands the universe IBS can offer potential Web advertisers to nearly 60 percent of the United States.
Neither IBS CEO Tolman Geffs nor David Overbeeke, senior VP of e-business for the NBC Television Stations Division, would comment on how the deal compares with previous deals made by the 5-year-old Minneapolis-based IBS, whose owners include Hearst-Argyle Television (which put up $20 million in 1999 for what was then a 30 percent equity stake in IBS), Post-Newsweek, McGraw-Hill, CanWest Global, IBS employees and other investors. Asked if the IBS-NBC stations deal has ramifications for the 10 owned-and-operated Telemundo stations acquired when NBC bought the Spanish-language network earlier this month, Mr. Overbeeke said, “I think it will be an enhancement.”
ABC suspends Simpson for anthrax remarks
“ABC World News Tonight’s” Washington-based weekend anchor Carole Simpson is serving a two-week suspension that resulted from comments she made at an industry luncheon on Oct. 16, the day after ABC News announced that a producer’s baby had been diagnosed with cutaneous anthrax.
Ms. Simpson’s remarks to the International Women’s Media Foundation in New York included information that the network, heeding the wishes of the infant’s mother, had not intended for public consumption as well as information that was misleading or mistaken. Among Ms. Simpson’s “headlines” at the lunch were that Washington-based “This Week” co-host Cokie Roberts had received a letter postmarked Trenton, N.J., and thus was potentially linked to the anthrax-tainted letters sent to NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw and to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.
Sources said that, in fact, a bundle of mail addressed to numerous people at the Washington bureau, set aside in a measure of extreme precaution, was inspected by a hazardous materials team, which found no trace of anthrax.
After a USA Today report last Thursday about the disciplinary action, Ms. Simpson released a statement saying, “My goal as a journalist is to always try to get it right. When any of us in this profession makes a mistake, it’s important to say so. On October 16 at a luncheon, I shared some information with the audience that I believed to be accurate about a suspicious letter that had been received at our Washington bureau. It turned out that the information about the postmark of that letter was incorrect, and I regret the mistake.”
Ms. Simpson is expected to return to the anchor desk Sunday, Nov. 4.
CBS to broadcast `Concert for New York City’
In a show of synergy with Viacom-owned sister network VH1, CBS has agreed to broadcast a trimmed-down one-hour version of “The Concert for New York City Presented by Target” on Wednesday, Oct. 31 (10 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET). The special, which originally ran as a six-hour live event on Oct. 20, will pre-empt an airing of CBS’s freshman drama “The Agency.” The re-edited special will cull the best of the live concert performances at New York’s Madison Square Garden, including Paul McCartney, Elton John, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, the Who, Billy Joel and James Taylor. The concert raised money for various Sept. 11 relief funds.
Victory for PSA
PSA has agreed to acquire Victory Entertainment Corp., which produces “Ed McMahon’s Next Big Star” for Pax-TV and the children’s series “The Dooley and Pals Show,” which airs on PBS stations. El Segundo, Calif.-based PSA will acquire Victory, which is headquartered in Orlando, Fla., for $25 million in PSA common stock and debt assumption.
Fox moves Sunday premieres
Fox is moving the premiere of its top-rated Sunday lineup, including “The Simpsons,” “Malcolm in the Middle” and “The X-Files,” one week later to Nov. 11. A spokesman for Fox said the delay is due in part to CBS’s re-scheduling of “The 53rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards” for Nov. 4. He also said that if Fox’s carriage of the World Series goes to a seventh game, it would be too disruptive to the lineup.#