Briefly Noted

Feb 25, 2002  •  Post A Comment

U.S. vows not to spread false info
The Pentagon has distanced itself from a report in The New York Times last week that said it may leak erroneous news stories to the foreign media to sway public opinion in overseas hotspots. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters last week that the military “has no plans to conduct disinformation campaigns” in the United States or abroad. Prior to his statements, the Radio-Television News Directors Association sent him a letter urging him to reject the idea. “I think that’s a big mistake. First of all, as an American, I think the truth serves us very well in terms of the picture we want to present overseas,” RTNDA President Barbara Cochran explained during an interview. In addition, she warned that such a policy might backfire, resulting in fabricated news stories being reported in the United States. Mr. Rumsfeld promised the media early on during the war on terror that neither he nor other Pentagon officials would knowingly lie to them.
LIN TV plans $300 million IPO
LIN TV Corp. said last week that it has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of $300 million of its Class A common stock. LIN TV Corp. is the parent company of LIN Television Corp. and LIN Holdings Corp., which operate 26 television stations and provide management or sales services to an additional four stations. The offering will be led by Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown as sole book-running manager. Bear, Stearns & Co. and JPMorgan Securities will co-lead-manage the offering. Credit Suisse First Boston and Morgan Stanley & Co. will be co-managers for the offering.
Media told to stop using Native American imagery
The Native American Journalists Association plans to announce a strategy of calling on national news organizations to stop using sports mascots and nicknames associated with Native Americans. The organization will unveil its plans at its 18th annual convention in San Diego in June. NAJA says Native American-themed names and images are “racist and offensive to Native Americans” and requests that all American news organizations adopt a zero-tolerance policy. According to the organization, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Oregonian have adopted such policies, and others are beginning to follow suit. The Kansas City Star, for example, last year stopped printing pictures of the Cleveland Indians baseball mascot, Chief Wahoo.
A&E cancels `100 Centre Street’
The cancellation gavel has fallen on “100 Centre Street,” A&E Network’s New York courthouse drama from acclaimed film director Sidney Lumet. “Center,” which stars Alan Arkin and Paula Devicq, garnered strong critical notices and averaged a 1.8 rating in its first season but failed to gain traction in its second season, when it earned a 1.0. “After a terrific first year and a strong start this past fall in the second season, the series didn’t gain momentum with viewers,” a network spokesman said. “A&E remains firmly committed to drama series, with the second season of `Nero Wolfe’ premiering in April and additional series possibilities that we are exploring.” The series will end its 18-episode second season on March 5.
WLS’s Drury out of the anchor saddle
Veteran Chicago anchor John Drury will be retiring March 1 from the anchor desk at ABC-owned WLS-TV after four decades in the market. He has anchored at WLS for the past 17 years. He will not totally leave journalism, but will file a special report for WLS in May and will work on political and investigative reports. On March 4, WLS 5 p.m. anchor Ron Magers will join Diann Burns as the main anchor for the 10 p.m. newscast, which Mr. Drury had anchored.
`Regis and Kelly’ leaps from WLS to WGN
Tribune-owned WB affiliate WGN-TV, Chicago, will begin airing “Live With Regis and Kelly” this fall in its morning lineup. The show is now on WLS-TV, where it airs around 1 a.m. Some ABC-owned stations air the show at 9 a.m., but at WLS “The Oprah Winfrey Show” has always held that time slot. WGN carried “Live With Regis & Kathie Lee” from 1995 to 1997.
Event TV scores better than regular prime time
Prime-time specials have gotten even more special, according to the research division of Initiative Media North America, which found that February sweeps specials (not counting either the Olympics or the Super Bowl) are outperforming regular prime-time series by 46 percent. That follows the November sweeps, which set the pattern, when specials outperformed series by 35 percent. The reason, according to IM, is that “Americans are connecting with specials to move from a period of [post-Sept. 11] mourning toward a period of pride and celebration.” IM predicts the trend will continue and recommends that advertisers give specials a “closer look.”