At Press Time

Nov 26, 2001  •  Post A Comment

NBC considering buying San Jose station KNTV
New York-Weeks of speculation about whether NBC is entertaining thoughts of buying KRON-TV, the Young Broadcasting-owned station fated to lose its NBC affiliation Jan. 1, took an unexpected and dramatic turn last week. Word surfaced that NBC also has been talking to Granite Broadcasting about buying KNTV, the San Jose station that is prepared, one way or the other, to become the San Francisco market’s NBC station on Jan. 1. A source close to Young said that the station group has not been talking exclusively to NBC and that interest in KRON has also been expressed by ABC and CBS (the latter of which would seem to be maxed out in terms of ownership restrictions because of its new duopoly of KBHK-TV and KPIX-TV). NBC had no comment, nor did Granite, Young, ABC or CBS.
`Millionaire’ cheating suspects grilled in U.K.
London-Three people were arrested last week on suspicion of cheating on the British version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” according to the Associated Press. Detectives interviewed Maj. Charles Ingram and his wife, Diana, who were arrested at their home west of London, then released on bail Thursday. The couple was ordered to return to a central London police station next month. An unidentified man was arrested Thursday in Cardiff, Wales. He was released on bail and is to return for questioning in February. The three were questioned over an allegation of conspiracy to defraud, and their homes were searched, but no one was charged, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman told the AP on Friday. A police inquiry began in September into an episode of the show in which Maj. Ingram won $1.41 million. The episode was not aired, and Maj. Ingram’s check was withheld because of the suspected cheating. News reports suggested that an audience member indicated the correct answers to him by coughing. Ms. Ingram and her brother, Adrian Pollock, had each previously won $45,000, on the show. She later wrote a book titled “Win a Million,” based on a theory she and her brother had used to succeed. After the inquiry was announced, Maj. Ingram held a news conference and denied wrongdoing.
Blockbuster cancels awards
Dallas-The Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, scheduled to be held next spring in Los Angeles and aired by Fox, have been canceled by the video rental giant. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Dallas-based company said it was uncertain how many viewers would watch in the post-Sept. 11 climate. Blockbuster spokeswoman Liz Green told the AP that Blockbuster’s decision to cancel was based partly on the experience of the Emmy Awards, which were postponed twice after Sept. 11 before taking place earlier this month in Los Angeles.
NBC says Olympics 92% sold
New York-Despite the events of Sept. 11 and a still-frigid economy, it appears marketers believe the Feb. 8-24 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City remain a good investment, Advertising Age reports. The upcoming games, the first hosted by a U.S. city since the 1996 Summer Games, have attracted a record $869 million in sponsorships, and NBC says it’s 92 percent sold out for the broadcast.
“The moment is very right,” said Richard Notarianni, media director for Omnicom Group’s DDB Worldwide, New York. “You think historically there are times when sort of the nationalist side of the Olympics re-emerges. It hadn’t been that way for a while. It was sort of out of vogue to play on that. You can argue now that the tone of the country has definitely turned toward a nationalistic moment.” A prime-time 30-second spot on the Olympics is estimated to cost $600,000, according to industry executives. The average Super Bowl spot, by comparison, is expected to sell for below $2 million; the most costly series for advertising this season, CBS’s “Survivor: Africa,” carried an estimated price tag of $445,000 for a 30-second spot.