TVNewswire: Tuesday, Feb. 26

Feb 26, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Modernization Plan Suffers Setbacks (New York Times)
TV ratings authority Nielsen is trying to track people’s usage of other media including the Internet, but its ambitions to modernize have taken two recent blows, the New York Times says. Some households are leery about providing more information about themselves to the research company, making the expansion difficult.
Pfizer Drops Jarvik’s Lipitor Spots (TV Week)
Pfizer, under pressure from leaders of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, is pulling its ads for Lipitor featuring artificial heart inventor Dr. Robert Jarvik, TV Week says. In TV spots, a double is shown rowing a boat, not Dr. Jarvik, a Lipitor user.
ABC Says VOD’s OK, Skipping Ads Isn’t (Company Report)
ABC and its affiliates agreed to provide some of the Walt Disney-owned network’s shows through the video-on-demand services offered by cable, satellite and telco distributors, so long as subscribers aren’t able to fast-forward through the commercials in those shows, the network said. The number of ads in each VOD show, which hasn’t been determined, will be fewer than those shown on the original broadcast, but ABC affiliates will be able to sell and insert one 30-second spot within each half-hour of programming.
Vereen Will Tell Mamas They Can’t Dance (Daily Variety)
Actor-dancer Ben Vereen will be among the three judges on Lifetime’s reality dance competition “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” which starts this week, Daily Variety reports. Also judging on the show, which matches professional dancers with one of their parents to compete for a $100,000 prize, will be choreographer Cris Judd and singer-actress Vitamin C.
MySpace TV Starts ‘Delivery’ of Reality Show (Hollywood Reporter)
Allen Funt meets the Internet today as MySpace TV starts streaming a hidden-camera show featuring delivery people being asked by customers to perform goofy tasks such as dancing for their pets and assisting in marriage proposals, the Hollywood Reporter says. News Corp.’s MySpace will start with 18 episodes of the show, called “Special Delivery,” which is sponsored by Frito-Lay/Cheetos, the newspaper reports.

Mazzara Will Direct Traffic on ‘Crash’ (Hollywood Reporter)

Glen Mazzara, whose credits include NBC’s “Life” and Fox’s “Standoff,” will be showrunner for “Crash,” the Starz drama series based on the Oscar-winning movie of the same name, the Hollywood Reporter says. Mr. Mazzara will decide which of the movie’s storylines will be included on the show while rewriting the first episode, slated for later this year, the newspaper reports.
MSNBC Opinions Spur Ratings, Controversy (Los Angeles Times)
MSNBC’s prime-time ratings have jumped 46% because of opinionated hosts such as Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some comments on the network have strayed from objectivity and drawn complaints.
‘Bewitched,’ ‘MASH’ Writer Baer Dies at 79 (Daily Variety)
Television writer Richard Baer, whose credits included “Bewitched,” “MASH” and “The Munsters,” died Feb. 22 in Santa Monica, Calif., after suffering a heart attack last month, Daily Variety reports. Emmy-nominated for his work on “Hennessey” in the early 1960s, Baer wrote for more than 50 shows.
Virgin Cries Foul on BSkyB’s Ownership of ITV (Daily Variety)
Virgin Media said News Corp.’s U.K. satellite-television unit BSkyB should sell its 18% stake in broadcast network ITV for the good of competition, Daily Variety reports. BSkyB, already told by the U.K. government to reduce its stake to 7.5%, may lose as much as $500 million of its $1.8 billion investment in ITV, whose stock has fallen, the newspaper says.
Familiarity, Centered Logo Sell in Sped-Up Ads (Wall Street Journal)
Viewers using digital video recorders to fast-forward through commercials are more likely to remember ads featuring familiar characters and a logo in the center of the screen, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing a study commissioned by NBC Universal. During an NBC pilot last year, ads for Visa, Mucinex and “The Bourne Ultimatum” were the ones viewers were most likely to recall, either because of familiar images, such as “Bourne” star Matt Damon and the “Mr. Mucus” mascot, or the time the Visa logo was on screen.
—Danny King


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