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May 26, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Gephardt Calls for Ban on Drug Ads
Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-Mo., called last week for the reinstatement of a ban on television commercials touting prescription drugs that the Food and Drug Administration lifted in the late 1990s, according to the Associated Press. “These ads are crazy,” Rep. Gephardt, who is a presidential candidate, said on a campaign stop in Iowa. “It makes no sense. Doctors need to prescribe drugs, not television ads.” People go in to the doctor and demand drugs they see in high-budget ads, Rep. Gephardt said, adding that the issue could be resolved by administrative action by the FDA, or Congress could move to intervene. These ads are important to drug companies, which studies have shown earn $10 back for every dollar they invest in TV commercials, he said.
Lukasiewicz Heads NBC News Unit
NBC News has created a news specials and special projects unit that will be headed by executive producer Mark Lukasiewicz.
Also named to the unit were Philip Alongi, who will be executive director of NBC News specials planning, and Elizabeth Wilner, recently hired from ABC News to be political director for NBC News.
Beth O’Connell, who has been executive producer of special events at NBC News, will work with the new unit but also focus on overseeing the spots produced under the label NBC News Radio.
Meanwhile, Jeff Gralnick, a news producer who has worked at CBS, ABC, NBC and CNN, is returning to NBC News as the executive in charge of The News With Brian Williams, which airs at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. weeknights on CNBC. Mr. Gralnick was executive producer of NBC Nightly News from 1993 to 1996.
Peabody Awards to Be Televised
One of broadcasting’s most prestigious awards ceremonies will be shown on television for the first time. The 62nd Annual George Foster Peabody Awards, hosted by ABC News’ Charles Gibson, will be televised nationally for the first time on A&E Sunday, May 25.
Thirty-one programs were cited for excellence at the ceremonies, held in New York on May 19. Recipients included HBO, Six Feet Under; CNN, Terror on Tape; ABC, Nightline; NBC, Boomtown; Fox, Boston Public; ESPN, The Complete Angler; and CBS, 9/11.
Administered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, the Peabody Awards are considered the most prestigious award in electronic media. A&E Network is available in more than 85 million homes in the United States.