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Feb 7, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Posted Thursday, Feb. 7, at 11:10 a.m. (PT); last updated at 2:20 p.m.

Mediaedge gets Payless as a client

Add Payless ShoeSource, the giant retailer that operates 4,964 footwear stores in North America, to Mediaedge: CIA’s list of clients.

Payless, after a review, has made Mediaedge its new media agency of record, consolidating the retailer’s U.S. media planning and buying capabilities under a single agency.

Mediaedge:CIA will take over all media agency responsibilities for Payless U.S. business in March, with a focus on 2003 planning and buying activities, as well as evaluating and optimizing the 2002 media schedule, which includes the spring launch of the new Payless ad campaign featuring Star Jones, co-host of ABC’s “The View.” Barkley, Evergreen & Partners of Kansas City, Mo., continues as the Payless creative agency of record.

Mediaedge: CIA clients include AT&T, Dr. Pepper/7-Up, Colgate, Campbell’s, Chevron and KFC, among others.

NBC turns to ‘SNL’ vets for comedy future: NBC has formalized at least 10 comedy pilot pickups, which includes a who’s-who in the Peacock Network’s late night comedy world. Among those with projects up for consideration in 2002-03 are a handful of NBC late night regulars – including “Saturday Night Live” executive producer Lorne Michaels, former head writer Jonathan Groff and former cast members Chevy Chase and Adam Sandler — either behind or in front of the cameras. Other former “SNL” regulars getting into the act are Jon Lovitz and Norm Macdonald, who are set to star a male buddy comedy called “Leave Me Alone.”

Late night talk show host (and former “SNL” writer) Conan O’Brien, whose production company Conaco has revved up TV series development, also has an untitled Tim Doyle sitcom set for stand-up comic Greg Giraldo (a frequent guest of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien) to headline.

The increased reliance on NBC’s late night talent for new sitcom projects appears to reflect NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker’s past associations and friendships with a bevy of producers from New York — where Mr. Zucker spent his first 15 years at NBC as an executive producer of the “Today Show.”

Here is a list of the comedy pickups to date, which NBC reps say include at least two more projects within the next week or two.

— “A.U.S.A.” (20th Century Fox Television, NBC Studios) — Single-camera comedy about a group of young lawyers in the Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Office. Richard Appel is writer and executive producer.

— “Good Morning Miami” (Warner Bros. Television) — An ambitious television executive becomes the executive producer of the lowest rated morning program in Miami; NBC has made a 13-episode commitment with the producing team from “Will & Grace.” David Kohan and Max Mutchnick are writers and executive producers.

— “Hidden Hills” (NBC Studios, and Susanne Daniels/Kate Juergens’ untitled production company) — A family show about a married couple and their three kids living in the suburbs. Ric Swartzlander and Peter Segal are writers and executive producers. Ms. Daniels and Ms. Juergens are executive producers.

— “Leave Me Alone” (NBC Studios, Happy Madison Productions) — A male buddy comedy starring Norm Macdonald and Jon Lovitz. Tim Herlihy is writer and executive producer. Adam Sandler is executive producer.

— “Life at Five Feet” (Pariah Productions) — Alex Borstein (formerly of Fox’s “Mad TV”) stars as an everyday woman who gets a ghostwriting job on a column for a supermodel. Maya Forbes is writer and executive producer; Gavin Polone is executive producer.

— “Romeo Fire” (Warner Bros. Television, NBC Studios) — Focuses on a group of firefighters in a small town that has not had a fire for years; NBC has made a 13-episode commitment. Greg Malins is writer and executive producer.

— Untitled Chevy Chase project (NBC Studios, Broadway Video) — Mr. Chase stars as a father of three young daughters in an updated take on “My Three Sons.” Richard Dresser and Tom Leopold are writers and executive producers. Lorne Michaels is executive producer.

— Untitled Jon Groff project (NBC Studios) — Told from a decidedly male perspective, a guy leaves his high-pressure job to become a teacher. Jonathan Groff is writer and executive producer.

— Untitled Mark Reisman project (Paramount Network Television, NBC Studios, Grammnet) — Dennis Farina stars a trucking business owner who is very protective of his daughter, especially in dealing with his new son-in-law. Mark Reisman is writer and executive producer; Kelsey Grammer is executive producer.

— Untitled Tim Doyle project (NBC Studios, Conaco) — Stars Greg Giraldo as a stand-up comic and single dad who has a male caretaker watch his 2-year-old daughter while he’s doing his schtick on the club circuit at night. Tim Doyle is writer and executive producer. Conan O’Brien and A.J. Morewitz are executive producers.

Showtime Next commissions first original series: Showtime Next, the multiplex niche channel from Viacom’s premium pay cable networks, has just commissioned “Piratenet,” the first original series created exclusively for it.

Showtime Next targets the 18- to24-year-old computer-literate multitaskers of Generation Y, and the 13-episode, one-hour series appropriately enough is described by its makers as an “assault on the senses.” The series, hosted by model/actress Leeann Tweeden, who also has hosted extreme sports shows for ESPN, will include animated and live-action shorts, people-on-the-street segments, cutting-edge student work, extreme sports and parodies of pop culture. Segments of the show also will be repurposed as interstitial programming on the network.

The series is executive produced by Bob Crestani, formerly vice chairman of E! Entertainment. Fran Shea, E!’s former president, will serve as executive consultant on the series. Peter Keramidas, senior VP of programming and new media content brokered the deal for Showtime. Creative executives on the series for Showtime are Randy Runkle and Tracey Lentz. The show is set for a March 3 debut.

Forbes is director of Fineliving.com: Lynn Forbes has been named director of Fineliving.com, the Web component of Scripps Networks’ new multiplatform lifestyle network Fine Living, which is scheduled for launch in March.

In this newly created position, Forbes is responsible for the overall direction of Fine Living’s Web service, managing day-to-day operations, including coordinating all staff and leading efforts to create new ideas and functionality. Fineliving.com will operate synergistically with the network and its print publication, Fine Living Magazine, which was recently acquired by Scripps Networks.

(c) Copyright 2002 by Crain Communications