COHOSTS FOR 4TH HOUR OF TODAY WILL ALL BE WOMEN
The planned fourth hour of Today, due to launch on Sept. 11,will be co-hosted by three women, Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, and Hoda Kotb, Broadcasting & Cable disclosed today (Monday), citing people familiar with the decision. Producers of the program also plan to use a rotating roster of guest hosts, who will include Giada De Laurentiis of the Food Network and New York Giants star Tiki Barber. The network is expected to formally announce the lineup on Tuesday.
AL-JAZEERA PICKING UP U.S. VIEWERS -- ON THE WEB
Although it has been virtually ostracized by nearly every cable TV operator in the U.S., Al-Jazeera English has been attracting a lot of hits on YouTube -- and even ranked first one day last month, according to today's (Monday) London Financial Times. Buckeye CableSystems, one of two U.S. cable systems that does offer Al-Jazeera has been the focus of attack by the conservative watchdog group Accuracy in Media. AIM editor Cliff Kinkaid told the FT: "America is fighting a war and Al-Jazeera works for the enemy. ... Would Buckeye CableSystems have broadcast Tokyo Rose during World War II? I don't see any difference." But Allan Block, the owner of Buckeye, which has 147,000 subscribers in northern Ohio, called Kinkaid's comments "lunatic ranting." He said that anyone who watches Al-Jazeera English will realize that "it's a balanced and professional channel that gives people diverse perspectives on international events." Former ABC newsman David Morash, who is one of Al-Jazeera's three U.S. correspondents, predicted that the cable blackout in the U.S. will backfire. "I think the line about the 'brave little channel they wouldn't let you see' appeals to something in the American spirit," he told the FT. "I am optimistic that we will succeed in America."
U.K. BROADBAND COMPANIES COMPLAINING ABOUT BBC'S IPLAYER
Echoing concerns being expressed in the U.S. concerning the increasing popularity of online video, the three largest broadband providers in Britain have warned that if the BBC's iPlayer becomes a success, it could clog the country's Internet systems. The software player will allow users to watch BBC programs on demand. Mary Turner, CEO of Tiscali UK, told the Financial Times, "The internet was not set up with a view to distributing video. We have been improving our capacity, but the bandwidth we have is not infinite." She warned that widespread use of the iPlayer could slow broadband speeds across the country.
"NEWS" FOOTAGE WAS USED IN TITANIC
Footage purportedly showing Russian submarines planting a Russian flag on the seabed under the Arctic's North Pole was actually shot in the Atlantic ten years ago by the Russian TV network RTR and later used in the movie Titanic, the Reuter News Agency admitted Friday. Britain's Guardian newspaper said that the mistake came to light after a 13-year-old Finnish schoolboy recognized the images from the movie and contacted a local newspaper. RTR said that it had used the footage for its own coverage of the flag-planting but identified it as file footage.
ENTERTAINER-RESORTS MOGUL MERV GRIFFIN DEAD AT 82
Merv Griffin, whose achievements included hosting one of television's longest-running talk shows, "inventing" its two most successful game shows, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, and presiding over a multi-billion-dollar resort empire, died Sunday in Los Angeles at 82 of prostate cancer. Unlike many entertainers who after they fade from sight squander their fortunes, Griffin appeared to have a Midas touch and was said to have amassed a personal fortune of well over a billion dollars. He once told the New York Times that when he was creating Jeopardy, he plunked out the notes for the theme for Jeopardy in a few seconds, retaining the rights to the song even after he sold the show. The theme, he told the newspaper, "made me a fortune ... probably close to $70-80 million."