NBC IS THE BIGGEST LOSER
NBC found itself besieged from all sides following its decision to air the Golden Globes presentation as a three-hour news special Sunday night. On the one hand, it was forced to cancel the original awards show when the Writers Guild of America threatened to picket it and when other entertainment industry unions said that they would observe the picket line. It was then attacked by numerous critics for tearing down the usual wall that exists between the operations of the entertainment and news divisions by insisting that the announcement of the winners at a news conference be covered live in primetime and that it be followed by a two-hour Dateline program in which the nominees would be interviewed. (Although the biggest news about the Globes was that they had been broken by the WGA strike, the strike itself was not mentioned in any of the Dateline interviews.) NBC then failed to reach an agreement with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions that would have allowed it to broadcast the announcement of the winners exclusively. Anticipating lower ratings, it also agreed to return millions of dollars to advertisers who had purchased spots on the Globes telecast. It may not have anticipated just how low those ratings would drop. The Dateline program drew the lowest ratings of the two-hour time period, averaging a 3.2 rating and a 5 share. Viewers' reactions were probably summed up by Chicago Tribune columnist Maureen Ryan, who wrote: "No gowns? No half-drunk acceptance speeches? No thanks." The telecast of the awards announcements was only slightly higher -- pulling a 4.8/7, but still in last place. To make matters even worse, NBC's repeat of its hit American Gladiators series at 10:00 produced a minuscule 2.8/5.
NO WRITERS? NO PROBLEM FOR LENO
Not only hasn't the strike of the Writers Guild of America affected Jay Leno's ratings, but a study by the ad agency Magna Global indicates that they have actually risen 11 percent from what they were prior to the strike among viewers 18-49. (They're also up 54 percent from their level during the first two months of the strike.) For David Letterman, who was expected to gain a substantial advantage over Leno by signing a separate agreement with the WGA, the results were mixed. Although he remained in second place, his ratings improved 21 percent from his average prior to the strike and were up 34 percent from the November and December rerun period.
SEXY LINGERIE AD SLATED FOR SUPER BOWL
Answering the question, who really watches ads for Victoria's Secret?, it was disclosed over the weekend that the high-end lingerie company has purchased a 30-second spot on the Super Bowl game for about $3 million. In an interview with Advertising Age, Victoria's Secret marketing chief Ed Razek said, "The Super Bowl kept getting later and later, and now it's very close to Valentine's Day, so it's a perfect opportunity for us." He told the trade publication that the ad would attempt to avoid charges of being too sexy for network TV, adding that while it won't exactly be modest it will definitely not be risqué.
DISNEY PROFITS SOAR; SO DOES IGER'S COMPENSATION
Taking into account last year's resurging ratings of ABC, record ratings for Monday Night Football on ESPN, and the phenomenon that Disney Channel's High School Musical 2 has become -- not to mention solid box-office performances from last year's Pirates sequel and the animated Ratatouille, the Disney board gave CEO Robert Iger an 11 percent increase in total compensation, bringing it to $27.7 million in 2007, the company said in an SEC filing on Friday. In an interview with Bloomberg news, Disney spokesman Jonathan Friedland remarked that Iger's "pay didn't go up as much as we performed as a company."