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Sep 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Lombardo Voted In as NAB Joint Board Chair

The National Association of Broadcasters board voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to elect Phil Lombardo, CEO of Citadel Communications, as NAB’s joint board chairman.

Mr. Lombardo succeeds Jim Yager, CEO of Barrington Broadcasting, who resigned earlier this month for personal reasons. The appointment is for a term that ends in June 2005. Board leaders said they picked Mr. Lombardo for a variety of reasons, including his demonstrated effectiveness as a lobbyist on industry issues over the years — and the fact that he’s based in Bronxville, N.Y., relatively close to Washington.

“There’s a lot on our plate right now,” said Michael Fiorele, NAB’s TV board chariman and president and CEO of Dispatch Broadcast Group. “Phil has great leadership skills.”

Added Carl Gardner, NAB radio board chairman and president, radio, Journal Broadcast Group: “We were all impressed with Phil’s experience in the industry, his fair-mindedness and his willingness to listen. We all agree he’s a man of action, and those qualities are what is called for on the NAB board at this time.”

NBC’s One-Minute Movie to Debut Sept. 25: NBC will premiere its first one-minute movie during the season premiere of “Will & Grace” Sept. 25. The supersized “Will & Grace” will air from 8:48 p.m. to 9:27 p.m. (ET). The “1MMs,” which were announced during the summer, are original one-minute movies from John Wells Productions and director Paris Barclay. The first one to air will be “The Pussycat Dolls” featuring Carmen Electra. She will play a Pussycat Doll performer who attempts to trade in the rhinestones on her costume for real diamonds. The movie was written by Joe Voci and Steven Antin and directed by Mr. Antin.

CBS to Air ‘Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show’: CBS will air “The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” Wednesday, Nov. 19. It’s the second year in a row that CBS will air the program, which in the past has garnered complaints to the Federal Communications Commission about inappropriate content for a broadcast network. This year, the show will be a tribute to Broadway. It will include a fashion show, musical performances and red carpet interviews. Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Gisele Bundchen are all scheduled to appear in the show.

Fab Five Do the Emmys: “Access Hollywood” will offer segments next week in which the Fab Five take on the Emmys. Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley and Jai Rodriguez, known collectively as “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’s” Fab Five, will serve as correspondents for “Access Hollywood” at the 55th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 21st. Segments highlighting their experience at the Emmys will air on “Access Hollywood” on Monday, Sept. 22nd and Tuesday, Sept. 23rd. As celebrities arrive at the award show and make their way down the red carpet, Bravo’s new stars will be there on the newsmagazine’s behalf to offer color commentary.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Fab Five,” said “Access Hollywood” executive producer Rob Silverstein. “Their combined knowledge of fashion and culture is unrivaled.”

AOL Time Warner Drops “AOL” From Name: In a move that acknowledges the failed marriage of new and old media, entertainment giant AOL Time Warner said Thursday that its board of directors voted to drop “AOL” from its name and will now be called Time Warner Inc.

The move, which includes changing the company’s ticker symbol to “TWX” — Time Warner’s symbol before the 2001 AOL-Time Warner merger — from “AOL,” had been widely expected since the summer, when Jonathan Miller, chairman and CEO of America Online, approached senior management about the possibility of changing the corporate parent’s name.

“We believe that our new name better reflects the portfolio of our valuable businesses and ends any confusion between our corporate name and the America Online brand for our investors, partners and the public,” CEO Richard Parsons said in a statement.

A company spokeswoman said dropping AOL from the corporate parent’s name is not a signal that the company is considering spinning off the online unit.

Time Warner’s online division, America Online, was once seen as the engine driving a company that had interests in film, music, cable, television, publishing and the Internet. Through the online unit the company had plans to overhaul how consumers got their music, saw films and read published materials. And the executive suite reflected that, as many key positions were held by executives from the online business.

However, a series of stumbles, ranging from accounting misdeeds that prompted a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation to declining online subscriptions as the company failed to tap early enough consumers’ interest in broadband, stripped the shine off the online division.

Today, AOL is the problem child while the company’s other businesses – other than the music division — are producing strong results. Indeed, whereas AOL executives ran the company shortly after the historic merger, the company is now run by people who come from old media.

Fox’s New Reality Series to Air in December: Fox will debut reality series “The Simple Life” Tuesday, Dec. 2, from 8:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. “Simple Life” follows socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie as they leave their lives in Los Angeles to live on a farm in Altus, Ark., with the Leding family.

Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray are executive producers of “Simple Life,” which is a 20th Century Fox Television production in association with Bunim-Murray.

Black Joins NBC News: With big court cases such as the Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson trials sprouting on dockets around the country, NBC News is beefing up its stable of legal analysts.

Miami-based Roy Black, who achieved a national profile as the attorney who successfully defended William Kennedy Smith against rape charges in 1991 and who has frequently appeared on NBC News programs in the years since, has been named a legal analyst for NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC.

“Having him on our team will be a huge advantage for NBC News with so many significant trials taking place in the near future,” said NBC News President Neal Shapiro.

In addition, lawyer turned Court TV anchor and analyst Rikki Klieman has been named legal analyst for NBC News’ “Today.”

Powell Officially Named ‘Today’ Senior Producer: Some three months after she began temporary duty as senior broadcast producer of “Today,” Polly Powell has won the job permanently. Ms. Powell, a four-time Emmy winner who has overseen West Coast operations for “Dateline NBC,” joined NBC News in Burbank, Calif., in 1986 as a magazine associate producer. “Polly has proved herself to be an invaluable asset to our team,” said “Today” executive producer Tom Touchet.

Michell Named Viacom Research VP: Michael J. Michell has been named research VP for the 39-station Viacom Television Stations Group. He will report to Julio Marenghi, executive VP for sales for the Viacom station group.

Mr. Michell has been director of programming and research for WCBS-TV in New York. His previous stops included CNBC, where he was director of ad sales marketing research, Fox Broadcasting in Los Angeles, where he was director of affiliate research and marketing, and WNBC-TV in New York, where he was director of station research and sales marketing.

CBS Wins Wednesday: “Big Brother” continued to score for CBS, tying with ABC’s “My Wife and Kids” for the highest-rated show in adults 18 to 49 last night with a 4.2/12, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. “Brother” won its 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. time slot.

Fox’s “Paradise Hotel” and ABC’s back-to-back episodes of “George Lopez” tied for second with a 3.5/10.

For the night, CBS won in adults 18 to 49 with a 3.6/10, followed by ABC (3.3/10), NBC (3.2/9) and Fox (3.0/9). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 10.6 million, followed by NBC (9.5 million), ABC (8.3 million) and Fox (6.2 million).