News Briefs: ABC’s Super Bowl 90% Sold

Jan 9, 2006  •  Post A Comment

ABC Sports looks to unload about eight more Super Bowl spots before the big game at Detroit’s Ford Field on Feb. 5. And if the price other fourth-quarter advertisers have paid is any indication, the remaining commercials should go for a bargain price at around $2 million, the current issue of Advertising Age reports. Inventory in the pro football championship is about 90 percent sold, just shy of where Fox was at this point last year. First-half inventory is sold-out, but a handful of spots remain in the second half, including-at deadline-one “A” position (first in its commercial pod) in the third quarter and several “B” positions in third and fourth. While spots in the first half sold at an average $2.5 million, second-half spots have gone for about $2 million. A half-million-dollar spread isn’t unusual, and it allows smaller marketers to join the big boys-Anheuser-Busch Cos., PepsiCo and General Motors Corp.-in the game.

FCC’s Martin Says He’s Not Pushing a Cable Option

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin said last week that though he thinks consumers need choices and control over cable content delivered into their homes, he has “stayed away from pushing” any particular option, such as a la carte. Thus, he said, he will not necessarily demand that cable go a la carte if the family tier solution proposed by various multiple system operators is not widely adopted by consumers. Mr. Martin made his remarks during and after his appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. On the question of broadcast indecency, he said that context is important-something that might be deemed indecent in an entertainment program might not be indecent if it were in a different context on a news program. And asked if the FCC should enforce indecency rules on satellite-delivered services that use public spectrum-as opposed to cable-for delivery, he said the FCC has been asked to look into the issue.

Stewart Tapped to Host Oscars

“The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart has been secured to host the 78th Academy Awards telecast, the Comedy Central star’s first stint as an Oscar headliner. The 78th Oscarcast will air live March 5 from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Scannell to Depart Nickelodeon

Herb Scannell, president of MTV Networks Group and Nickelodeon Networks, is leaving the company after a 20-year run. “I felt this was the right time to move to the next leadership position in my career,” Mr. Scannell said last week in a statement. MTV Networks Chairman and CEO Judy McGrath is assigning broader responsibilities for a new kids and family group, including oversight of its digital businesses, to Nickelodeon Television President Cyma Zarghami. Ms. Zarghami will also oversee Nick at Nite. Larry Jones, president of Nick at Nite and TV Land, will report to both Ms. Zarghami and Doug Herzog, president of Spike TV and Comedy Central.

Koppel to Produce, Host for Discovery Channel

Discovery Communications last week signed former ABC News star Ted Koppel to a three-year deal to become managing editor of Discovery Channel and to produce and host long-form programming that will premiere on the channel. Mr. Koppel will be joined at Discovery by longtime “Nightline” executive producer Tom Bettag and eight other former “Nightline” staffers. The first program is scheduled to air this fall. Mr. Koppel and Mr. Bettag will report to Billy Campbell, president of Discovery Networks US.

Tate, Copps Sworn In as FCC Commissioners

Republican Deborah Taylor Tate and Democrat Michael Copps were officially sworn in as commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission last week by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin. The term of Ms. Tate, formerly a director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, runs until June 30, 2007. The new term of Mr. Copps, an incumbent commissioner, expires June 30, 2010.