SAG LEADERS FIGHT NY "SUBVERSIVES"

Leaders of the New York local of the Screen Actors Guild on Friday demanded that the union's leaders call off plans to seek a strike authorization vote and replace the current negotiating committee. SAG President Alan Rosenberg responded by calling the New York leaders' demands "extraordinarily destructive and subversive" and scheduled an emergency meeting of the national board for Friday, December 19, insisting that the New York chiefs attend in person. Meanwhile, former newscaster/disc jockey/actress Keri Tombazian has launched an anti-strike website, SAGDecisioncom, while on the other hand SAG leaders asked members to sign a "Statement of Support" by emailing their names and member numbers to [email protected] The internecine battle within SAG followed a new offensive by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that began on Friday when it sent letters to leading Congressmen pleading its case and excoriating SAG negotiators. It also took out an ad in Daily Variety listing the new benefits it claims actors will receive under its current offer. SAG responded Sunday night claiming that the ad contains lies and asserting that under the AMPTP's plan, actors would receive just $46 for the first year's use of a TV show that is rerun on the Internet -- after a 17-day free-use window. (As of now, no one has yet produced studies indicating how much profit the average Internet rerun produces, although some studies indicate that it is watched by only a few thousand viewers, compared with the millions who watch it on broadcast TV.)

NBC AFFILIATES WORRY OVER LENO MOVE

Worried that moving Jay Leno's talk show to 10:00 p.m. may result in an even weaker lead-in to their local 11:00 p.m. newscasts, management at some of NBC's affiliates have offered to work with the network to help promote the new show before it goes on the air next year, according to TVWeek. While Leno attracts the biggest ratings in late-night television, they are well below the average for 10:00 p.m. network programs. NBC Universal President John Eck told the trade publication, "Our only option is to work jointly to make it work."

STUDIOS COULD LOSE MILLIONS IN TRIBUNE BANKRUPTCY

Studios that sold TV rerun packages to Tribune-owned stations could be hit hard by Tribune's bankruptcy, Broadcast & Cable magazine indicated today (Monday). It noted that the 23 Tribune stations are among the biggest buyers of syndicated shows and currently owe Warner Bros. $23.7 million, 20th Century Fox TV $8.1 million, Disney/ABC $6.2 million, and NBC Universal $4.9 million, according to the bankruptcy filing. Citing the opinion of "players in the industry," the trade publication noted that the way in which the issue is resolved "could set a precedent should other TV broadcast groups be forced to declare bankruptcy."

PEPSI, COKE WIN EXCLUSIVE SUPER BOWL DEALS

Pepsi Cola will be the only non-alcoholic beverage advertising in the first half of next year's Super Bowl, Advertising Age reported today (Monday), citing media buyers and other executives with knowledge of the situation. Coca-Cola will likely be the only non-alcoholic beverage advertising in the third quarter, although that is not a done deal, the trade magazine indicated.

JACKMAN NAMED HOST OF OSCARS

Producers of Australia who presumably had hoped to make a big splash at the Oscars, thereby boosting attendance, but saw ho-hum reaction to the movie instead, got a boost over the weekend when it was announced that Hugh Jackman, the star of the movie, had been chosen to host the Oscars this year. The choice was regarded as unusual since the hosting job has always gone to comedians previously. In an interview with today's (Monday) Los Angeles Times, co-producer Larry Mark commented: "The Oscars are a celebration of movies, so who better to host than a movie star. ... Hugh can not only hold the screen, but he can hold the stage too, which is no small feat these days. He's done major theater work, from Oklahoma! to Sunset Boulevard, and he's not only hosted the Tony Awards, he actually won an Emmy for hosting them."