Ware staying on at UPN
A memo from CBS Television President/CEO Leslie Moonves circulated to UPN staffers Friday confirmed that Adam Ware, chief operating officer of UPN, is staying on with the network. UPN and CBS officials could not be reached to confirm the terms of Mr. Ware’s apparent contract renewal — which comes with his previous deal set to expire next month. Mr. Ware, who has been second-in-command at the network since February 1999, will report directly to Mr. Moonves.
A key portion of Mr. Moonves’ memo sought to inform UPN staffers that other back-office departments — advertising sales, affiliate relations, scheduling, media relations, marketing, promotion, research, finance, operations and engineering — will “report directly to their counterparts at CBS.” CBS and UPN officials were unable to confirm which, if any, of those departments will eventually be absorbed by CBS.
However, Mr. Moonves added: “Each of these departments will be organized in the coming weeks to make sure that CBS and UPN are working closely together to maximize the benefits of our new association.”
Mr. Moonves said Mr. Ware will “work closely” with Dawn Tarnofsky-Ostroff, who was named president of UPN Entertainment last week. Additionally, Mr. Moonves reaffirmed that all creative departments of UPN — program development, current programming, casting, specials and movies and miniseries — will report directly to Ms. Tarnofsky-Ostroff.
Gates buys large Cox Communications stake: Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, acting through his personal investment company and his family foundation, has purchased 13.5 million shares of Cox Communications, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Those shares in the nation’s fifth-largest cable multiple system operator, with more than 6 million basic subscribers, are valued at $500 million, according to reports. The transactions in which Cascade Investments acquired 8.1 million shares and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation acquired 5.4 million, took place Oct. 29, but only became public in the SEC filing on Jan. 23.
Those investments by Mr. Gates in Atlanta-based Cox are personal rather than corporate. Washington-based Microsoft also has a $5 billion investment in AT&T Broadband, the nation’s largest MSO, and a $1 billion investment in Comcast Cable, the third-largest MSO, which is in the process of acquiring the AT&T cable unit.
Cox Communications is a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which continues to hold approximately two-thirds of the MSO’s outstanding shares. Other elements of Cox Enterprises include the Cox newspaper group and Cox Television, which owns 15 stations.
Graden promoted at MTV: Brian Graden has been named to the newly created position of president of entertainment for MTV, MTV2 and MTV.com.
Mr. Graden has been president of programming, MTV and MTV2, since Jan. 2000. He will continue to oversee MTV’s programming and series development.
Bear Stearns projects improved ad environment: Bear Stearns media analysts offered clients a guardedly optimistic reading of advertising spending movement in the right direction Friday morning. First quarter broadcast network owned TV station pacings and network scatter sales have been slightly better than expected, with CBS up as much as 7 percent in the latter. Network cancellations are at normal levels, and there appears to be early recovery in ad categories such as automobiles, fast food and financials where there was no growth last year. Political advertising may now comprise as much as 6 percent of this year’s total spending, although it could be influenced by campaign finance reform legislation that has quickly passed to the full Congress in light of the recent Enron debacle. Still, we are far from a bona fide recovery, and media and entertainment companies are expected to report difficult fourth quarter earnings this week.
(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications