CNN, FOX NEWS RETURN FREEBEES

A report by Condé Nast's Portfolio magazine last week that both CNN and Fox News, among other news outlets, had allowed its reporters to go on an all-expense-paid junket to Las Vegas has resulted in the two cable networks reimbursing the expenses to the junket's sponsors, JetBlue Airlines and the quirky local-news website Thrillist, Portfolio reported Monday. The reporters, who were unnamed, are also being required to return "swag bags" that included hundreds of dollars of gifts including Zune video players. Both CNN and Fox News said that accepting invitations for such junkets is against company policy when travel and accommodations are paid for by the sponsors.

CABLE CLOSE TO OVERTAKING BROADCAST IN TOTAL SALES

Cable channels overall made greater gains than the broadcast networks in selling spots to advertisers during the "upfront" season, the New York Times observed today (Tuesday), noting that cable networks sold $8 billion worth of commercial time to ad buyers -- a rise of 7-8 percent from last year -- while the broadcast networks sold about $9.1-9.2 worth of spots, up just 1 percent from last year. (Of course, there are only four major broadcast networks -- and two smaller ones -- while there are well over 100 cable networks.)

FROM PARAMOUNT'S BACK LOT -- MTV'S VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS!

In an apparent effort to exploit company synergy, Viacom's MTV and Paramount Pictures plan to work together to present the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, MTV said Monday. The awards show will be staged on "the city streets, rooftops, and sound stages all over the Paramount lot," the MTV statement said, noting that the show will mark the first time in 10 years that it will originate in Los Angeles. It is scheduled to air on Sept. 7.

BACK TO CAMP

Following its rare win over all broadcast networks with Camp Rock last Friday, Disney Channel is pulling out all stops to get a sequel on the air by next year -- possibly going into production by late spring or early summer, Reuters reported Monday. The TV movie aired on three Disney platforms over three consecutive days last week. On Friday it attracted 8.9 million viewers on the Disney Channel. On Saturday, it moved to ABC-TV, where it drew 3.6 million viewers. On Sunday, it ran on Disney Family Channel, where it attracted 3.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen research.

KIDS SEEING MORE ADS FOR ALCOHOL, STUDY FINDS

A final report from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University in Washington has concluded that, despite voluntary curbs on alcoholic product advertisements on programs that attract younger viewers, the number of such viewers continues to increase. The report, which was summarized in today's (Tuesday) New York Times, noted that last year underage viewers watched 301 ads for alcoholic beverages compared with 216 in 2001. It noted that 95 percent of the exposure to such ads occurred on cable.

SOPRANOS BOXED SET TO SELL FOR $400

A boxed set containing every episode of The Sopranos is expected to go on sale on Nov. 11 for $400, HBO Video said Monday. The 30-disc set includes all seven seasons, controversially counting the '06 and '07 episodes as separate seasons, plus extras (mostly talks with actors -- James Gandolfini is conspicuously missing -- writers and producers). It will weigh nearly 10 pounds, the Associated Press observed Monday. Also included are 16 scenes from various episodes that wound up on the cutting room floor.

IMUS IN HOT WATER AGAIN OVER RACIAL REMARK

Don Imus is attempting to quell a new uproar over a racial remark he made about suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones. Responding on Monday to a report that Jones has been arrested six times, Imus asked, "What color is he?" When told that Jones is African-American, Imus responded: "There you go. Now we know." The remark touched off outrage by some black activists who have been monitoring his program to see whether he would repeat the kind of racial comments that got him fired by MSNBC and CBS Radio two years ago. But on his radio show today (Tuesday), Imus said that he was attempting to "make a sarcastic point. ... What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason," he said. "I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times."

DITZY BLONDE DODY GOODMAN DEAD AT 92

Comedienne Dody Goodman, who, as a ditzy blonde Southerner, broke up talk-show hosts from Jack Paar to David Letterman, died Sunday at age 92, Playbill magazine's website reported Monday. (Other reports put her age at 93.) She also had recurring roles on such TV series as Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Diff'rent Strokes, and she played the dotty principal's assistant Blanche in the 1978 movie musical Grease and the 1982 sequel.

Cinemark Movie Club
Brian B.