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Jun 26, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Kellner keynotes branding at Promax

As expected, Promax & BDA’s stop in Hollywood brought out the best and brightest of the promotional creative community. With a clearly positive mood that the worst was behind them, the floor of the convention center appeared livelier than it had been in Miami last year. The conference’s opening session dealt the convention a full house as Turner Broadcasting System Chairman and CEO Jamie Kellner delivered the keynote address today.

Mr. Kellner was quick to discuss the basics of the promotional game with a speech centered around the theme, “If you can’t define it, you can’t brand it.” The founder of the Fox and WB networks hammered home the importance in today’s marketplace of pinpointing specific audiences to make a company viable.

The conference continues through Saturday, June 29.

NAB wants lawmakers to block EchoStar-DirecTV deal: The National Association of Broadcasters and other organizations sent a letter Wednesday to all members of Congress underscoring their opposition to the merger of EchoStar and DirecTV.

The letter is signed by leaders of the NAB, American Cable Association, National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, American Antitrust Institute and USAction. In it, the organizations cite long-standing concerns about the merger, particularly EchoStar’s promise to institute a nationwide pricing plan, a promise the letter says is “riddled with uncertainties.”

The groups express fear that the merger would create a direct broadcast satellite monopoly that would have an unfair advantage over its smaller cable competitors and would gain opportunities to abuse its power particularly in rural markets.

‘Magi-Nation’ video game becomes TV series: Interactive Imagination Corp., a Seattle based media development company, has signed an agreement to create an animated television series based on its “Magi-Nation” video game and collectible card franchise. In a deal announced by Interactive Imagination CEO Rich Silveira, his company is entering into the joint-venture series project with children’s series producers Keller Productions and Pastis Television International.

Interactive Imagination and its co-production partners have committed to develop and distribute a minimum of 26 episodes to air by fall 2003. A spokesman for Interactive Imagination said the company will pitch the series to broadcast networks, cable networks and syndicators in the domestic United States and markets abroad.

The teen- and tween-targeted series began with “Magi-Nation Duel,” a collectible card game that became a best seller and has since grown to include a popular video game for Nintendo Game Boy devices. “Magi-Nation” animated series tells the story of an ancient evil that has returned to conquer the peaceful Moonlands and the young stranger who is thrust into the role of unwilling hero to help save its inhabitants.

Keller Productions is owned by multiple Emmy Award-winning creator, executive producer and director Eytan Keller, who most recently served as executive VP of alternative programming and specials for Fox Family Channel. Keller Productions has handled all television development and production for Goldwyn Entertainment, including the Emmy winner “Secrets of the Cryptkeeper’s Haunted House,” which Mr. Keller created, executive produced and directed.

Pastis Television International is owned by animation and children’s programming veterans Sam Ewing and Jean-Luc Silbereis. Mr. Ewing, most recently VP of international co-productions and acquisitions at Saban International, has collaborated with Saban International Paris on co-productions of numerous high-profile animation projects and acquired European-produced shows for Fox Kid’s Network.

PBS unveils new series, specials: Public Broadcasting System, at its annual meeting with PBS affiliates in San Francisco, unveiled five new series and several specials it plans to debut during the 2002-03 season. The new shows are “Manor House,” an observational documentary that transplants families to past eras and places; “The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance” and “Leonardo’s Dream Machine,” two programs about the profound influence the giants of Renaissance Italy have had on politics, culture, art and science; “Lawrence of Arabia,” which concerns the long-lasting influence the British operative had on the region; and “Touching The Void,” a harrowing account of near-death in the Peruvian Andes based on the critically acclaimed book.

‘Chung Tonight’ bow impresses, but not ‘O’Reilly Factor’: CNN’s premiere of “Connie Chung Tonight” on Monday night generated a 0.9 rating in households and 858,000 total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research national data. Ms. Chung’s new 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. (ET) talk show — debuting with comedian Jon Stewart as her first guest — saw its initial viewer count register 83 percent growth over the year-ago Monday (June 25, 2001), when CNN drew 468,000 total viewers.

However, Ms. Chung’s first bow on CNN was greatly overshadowed by Fox News Channel’s opposing run of “The O’Reilly Factor” last night. The show drew a 2.0 rating in households and 2.1 million total viewers during the 8 p.m. hour. For host Bill O’Reilly the latest numbers represent 110 percent growth over his year-ago head count of 1.0 million viewers and held a 145 percent advantage over “Connie’s” headcount.

Compared with the previous June-to-date basis, though, “Connie’s” total viewer count is up by 32 percent, while “O’Reilly Factor” is up 28 percent.

Young consumers spend half their media time with TV: Young media consumers require more relevance from their media than older consumers, according to MTV Networks’ fifth annual survey of media, entertainment and leisure time. “Young media consumers, or ‘media-actives’ as we are calling them, never knew a world without cable TV, video games and the Internet,” said Betsy Frank, executive VP, research and planning, MTV Networks. “As a result, they are extremely selective, demanding and impatient in their media behavior and choices. We believe that media businesses must actively embrace these new behaviors instead of relying on the habits of older consumers to shape their strategies.”

The study, conducted last November and December, found that for the so-called media-actives, television continues to represent at least half of all time spent with media, that simultaneous use of media continues to grow and that ethnic consumers with Web access are showing different patterns of use compared with the overall population.

In addition, the study showed some changes in post-9/11 media usage, including a greater emphasis on more traditional activities involving the home and the family.

‘Wayne Brady’ staffs up: “The Wayne Brady Show” has beefed up its production team with several former staffers from “The Rosie O’Donnell Show.” Krysia Plonka joins as a supervising producer after executive producing InStyle prime-time specials and having produced for “Rosie”; John Redmann becomes supervising producer, after serving as a producer on “Rosie”; Maria Notaras and Shane Farley become producers, from “Rosie”; and Erin Irwin becomes a producer, from “The Man Show.” Liz Plonka, who recently was director of “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” was hired as director of “Wayne Brady.” “Wayne Brady” premieres Sept. 2.

New hires at ‘Van Praagh’: Lisa Canning, a former on-air correspondent for”Entertainment Tonight,” was hired as a regular contributor to Tribune Entertainment’s “Beyond With James Van Praagh.” Also joining the show’s production team are Bill Olson (“Entertainment Tonight,” “Biography”) as supervising producer and Thomas Maguire (“Jenny Jones,” “The Late Show”) as director.