i>SNL LEAVES GIFT BOX ON YOUTUBE
Becoming one of the viral-est videos -- critics might have called it "vilest;" admirers might have called it "virilest" -- ever to hit the web, a boy-band parody that aired last weekend on Saturday Night Live has already been played online by nearly as many people as watched it live. Numerous websites linked to the video on YouTube, featuring Andy Samberg and Justin Timberlake, after the New York Times reported on Thursday that NBC had agreed to allow the on-air bleeps to be removed from it. (The video was also posted on the NBC site, but, oddly, few if any other other websites linked to it.) In the video, Samberg and Timberlake borrow the unmistakable vocal style of 'N Sync and countless other boy bands and the mannerisms of rappers to render a song about delivering their, er, genitalia in a gift box to their girlfriends for Christmas. Titled "D**k in a Box," the video is preceded by a warning that it contains language that was not aired during the original NBC broadcast. In the Times article, Rick Ludwin, head of late-night programming for the network, said that his initial reaction was that the unbleeped version of the video should not be posted on the Internet because "it's still representing NBC" but later changed his mind, concluding that those who might be offended by it "are probably unlikely to go searching for it on the Internet."
DAY BREAK FAILS TO DAWN ON INTERNET
ABC has still not posted the next episode of Day Break on its website despite promising to do so after it yanked the show from its broadcast schedule early this week. The online edition of TV Guide said that the network is blaming "unforeseen music-clearance issues" for the delay. The network apparently did not spell out the precise nature of the problems, but the musicians union has been demanding payment for online performances.
NBC PLANNING "BLITZ" FOR HEROES
Hoping to counteract the out-of-sight/out-of-mind phenomenon, NBC is planning what Advertising Age magazine has called "a marketing blitz" when its new hit Heroes returns to the air on Jan. 22. Launched in September, the show quickly became the biggest new drama of the season and, according to AdAge, is the No. 1 non-sports entertainment show among men 18-49. Now, after being off the air since Dec. 4, NBC plans to promote the series' return by giving away 10,000 Heroes T-shirts at Monday's Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles football game and by distributing a catch-up episode to Netflix's 3 million subscribers. The DVD "is for the people that have heard about [Heroes] but not gotten into it,] NBC marketing exec John Miller told the trade publication.
WOUNDED CBS NEWS REPORTER DOZIER PENS CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
CBS correspondent Kimberly Dozier, continuing to recover from injuries suffered during a car-bomb attack in Iraq last May, has thanked the U.S. military for treating her "as one of its own, saving my life a few times over." Her camera crew, an Iraqi translator and an American soldier were killed in the same attack; six other soldiers were seriously injured. She says that she sometimes sees footage of other civilians being dragged into Iraqi hospitals. "I see where the shrapnel ripped into their bodies, and think to myself: 'Dear God. Those wounds are like mine. In an Iraqi hospital, they won't survive the night.'" She concluded by asking her readers to contribute to a fund to aid the families of the two CBS News cameramen and wished the families "some comfort, somehow."
JUDGE RIPS INTO ATTORNEY FOR TV REMARKS
An attorney for former ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife, Valerie Plame, is at the center of the Plamegate scandal in Washington, was raked over the coals by a judge Thursday for remarks she made the day before on MSNBC's Hardball. During an interview on the program, Melanie Sloan said that former administration official Scooter Libby could still be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice even though he may not have been the first person to reveal that Plame was a CIA agent. In a stinging rebuke from the bench, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said that he "would not tolerate this case being tried in the media." He added that Sloan's remarks "could cause potential members of the jury pool to engender negative attitudes about the defendant." Sloan's comment, he added, "Is not only shocking but borders on unethical conduct."
BBC DENIED REQUESTED LICENSE FEE INCREASE
BBC executives and staffers were reeling Thursday after learning that the publicly supported broadcaster would receive a far-smaller-than-expected increase in the license fee that British citizens who own TV sets are required to pay, which currently stands at about $250 per year. According to published reports, the BBC will receive a 3-percent annual increase over the next three years, a 2-percent increase in the following two years and between 0-percent and 2-percent (to be negotiated) in the sixth and final year of the deal. The BBC had sought an increase of more than twice that amount in order to develop new programs and cover the cost of its transition to digital broadcasting.