The Insider

Oct 22, 2001  •  Post A Comment

A toast to Cinnamon! And scoops!
Warning: If you don’t want to know yet the spicenicity of the baby being born to Mr. Salt and Mrs. Pepper after months of infanticipating on Monday’s special edition of “Blue’s Clues” on Nickelodeon, skip to the next item-immediately! Because The Insider is about to lift the lead-lined veil of secrecy that has shrouded the blessed event (critics received preview tapes minus the last 10 minutes of the episode).
A little bird of the stork persuasion whispers that the newest member of the shaker family, which includes a little girl named Paprika, is a spice boy. His name is Cinnamon. The Insider suspects that before he’s outgrown the Nick Jr. demographic he’ll be asking his buddies to call him CinnaMAN. It could have been worse. Runner-up names reportedly included Basil and Herb. And them’s fightin’ words in culinary circles. It’s Baa-zul! No, it’s Bay-zul! It’s Herb with a hard `H’! Get the `H’ out of there!
Who but The Insider would tell you these things?
Oh, how C-SPAN must-carries on
Is C-SPAN’s jab at supporters of digital must-carry a little too strong for these stressed times? At C-SPAN.org, the network offers viewers a free bright-yellow sticker that describes the concept of mandating carriage by cable systems of broadcast stations’ digital signals as-dare we repeat the term?-“Un-American.” It also calls digital must-carry “unfair” and “unconstitutional.” But un-American? C-SPAN general counsel Bruce Collins tells The Insider the public affairs network that was created by the cable industry is sensitive to how that accusation might play these days and is going to review the verbiage. “It was loaded. It is loaded,” he said. “We feel very strongly about First Amendment rights.”
Out-Foxed in Maine
The attempt by WCKD-TV to jump to the Fox affiliate fold-in spite of the fact that the low-power station was less than a year into its five-year contract to be the UPN affiliate in Bangor, Maine-set off a game of musical chairs that left WCKD without a berth on Adelphia Communications’ cable system in the market. Adelphia, which had notified subscribers it would be adding a Fox station to its lineup Oct. 7, ended up plugging that hole with the Fox Net cable-satellite feed. Noncable subscribers who can get the over-the-air signal of WCKD (which had been a secondary Fox affiliate and had rights to some Fox Sports programming) can still get Fox’s NFL coverage-pre-emptions for which had gotten WCKD in Dutch with UPN to begin with. But WCKD doesn’t have rights to Fox’s postseason baseball lineup.
O’Reilly `Spins’ another tale
The other big event Monday night is the book party in New York for “The No-Spin Zone,” the follow-up to Bill O’Reilly’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” which was inspired by the hot-button show of the same name on Fox News Channel. “Factor” spent 32 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, 11 of those weeks as No. 1, and is still the No. 4 tome at Amazon.com. It’s gone way past 1.1 million copies, so it’s no wonder that Random House’s Broadway imprint is rumored to have set an advance printing of some 700,000 copies.
TBS bonuses TBA
The recent news that Turner Broadcasting holiday parties were being jettisoned in favor of an extra 11/2 days of paid vacation scheduled for Christmas and New Year’s Eves-especially in the context of the rampant belt tightening everywhere, has led to the inevitable gloomy speculation that the tradition of year-end bonuses is next to bite the dust in the house that Ted Turner built but now rarely even visits. Insiders say there’s no word one way or the other yet on whether there’ll be bonuses this year, but they don’t think anyone anywhere should be counting bonuses before they’re cashed.
And now for something completely different …
Speaking of CNN, The Insider has a viewing tip for couch potatoes in need of a new TV giggle in late-night. It’s “Business International,” which has recently cropped up following the “Larry King Live” repeat on CNN-at least for East Coasters. The CNN International show that originates from the cable news network’s London bureau is co-anchored by Richard Quest, who looks a bit like rocker Roger Daltrey and acts more than a bit like a Monty Pythonesque character. He’s all teeth and quirks and inexplicable mannerisms-The Insider particularly adores his habit of slouching and sucking on a pen while conducting an interview. So obsessed with Mr. Quest has The Insider become that she ferreted out his bio on CNN.com and learned that he is not, as she first surmised, a print person just now trying to become a TV personality. Indeed, he came to CNNI from the BBC, which he’d joined in 1985 and for which he’s been a reporter and a presenter. The secret to Mr. Quest’s eccentricities as a presenter may lurk in the last sentence of his Web site bio, which reads: “He is British, holds a degree with honours in law from Leeds University and was called to the bar.” Aha! And that’s The Insider’s last call for this week.