KIMMEL STEAMED, TOO
Jimmy Kimmel, who was barred from ESPN's Monday Night Football after remarking on the air that fired MNF announcer Joe Theismann was probably "watching from his living room with steam coming from his ears," has told Sports Illustratedthat he has no regrets about his remarks. Everyone in the broadcast booth, he said, "was laughing whether you can hear it or not. If people were not laughing, I would not have continued with it. I don't know exactly what upset them -- if it was the Joe Theismann stuff or something else. ... What I sensed was three guys to my right and left smiling and stopping themselves from saying anything."
"JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR" SUSPENDED IN DALLAS
Dallas Reporter Rebecca Aguilar, who won a Journalist of the Year award from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists just two weeks ago, has been suspended by Fox affiliate KDFW-TV after viewers objected to her handling of an interview with a man who had shot and killed two alleged burglars at his business in separate incidents just three weeks apart. On D Magazine's website, contributing editor Trey Garrison wrote, "This is her idea of journalism? Ambushing a 70-year-old man who has been through life-and-death twice in three weeks? [Asking him,] 'Are you a trigger-happy kind of person? Is that what you wanted to do? Shoot to kill?' Good Lord, I hate the people in this field." But the NAHJ has disagreed and its president, Rafael Olmeda, has fired off a letter to KDFW-TV General Manager Kathy Saunders saying, "What [Aguilar] did was obtain an exclusive interview for your station in a professional manner. This is far from the 'ambush' that has been portrayed in the blogosphere." She accused station management of being "unduly influenced by the emails received from the station" from viewers who do not have "journalism principles as their main concern." The station has not responded.
DISNEY CONNECTS UNITS FOR "TWEEN" HIT
The sudden mega-stardom of Miley Cyrus of Disney Channel's Hannah Montana is being attributed to Disney's ability to mobilize its numerous media units into an overpowering marketing campaign. In a feature set to appear in next week's Timemagazine, S-Curve Records CEO Steve Greenberg remarked that Cyrus "really has every arm of a gigantic corporation working at full tilt in an incredibly sophisticated and coordinated fashion toward her success." The Timearticle also observed that Disney has been able to create "its own hermetic media world" in which sound tracks from Disney shows like Hannah, High School Musicaland The Cheetah Girls can sell 20 million albums without getting Top-40 airplay.
CBS TO PRESSURE CABLERS FOR RETRANSMISSION FEES
While CBS claims that it has signed deals with 18 cable systems -- including eight of the top 25 -- to be paid for the right to retransmit its programs, it has not been able to land a deal with any of the five largest cable operators, Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox and Cablevision, the New York Timesreported today (Friday), citing a person with knowledge of the relationships. Craig Moffett, a cable analyst at Sanford Bernstein, told the newspaper, "It is one thing to wring big fees [out of small cable operators, but] if CBS goes dark on Comcast, CBS's distribution would plummet overnight. Comcast may end up paying something, but it is hard to see how it is all that material." However, Leland Westerfield, a media analyst at BMO Capital Markets, told the Timesthat he expects each of the top cable operators will eventually agree to paying fees for retransmission.
FCC FINES STATIONS FOR POLITICAL PAYOLA
In what is expected to be the beginning of a new wave of payola fines taking aim at hidden political plugs rather than bribes to play records, the FCC on Thursday fined Sonshine Broadcasting station WBPH-TV in Bethlehem, PA for airing five episodes of The Right Side With Armstrong Williams in which Williams aired his support for the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" program, for which he was paid by the Department of Education. Sonshine had acknowledged that the station had been paid $100 to air the shows but claimed that it had no knowledge that Williams had been paid by the DOE. The commission also fined Sinclair Broadcasting for airing America's Black Forum in which Williams was featured. Sinclair had maintained that it was not aware that Williams "had received or was promised any consideration" for presenting his views.
MURDOCH HAILS LAUNCH OF FOX BUSINESS NETWORK
Rupert Murdoch has given a spirited thumbs-up to his new Fox Business Network. "It's two and a half to three days old and looks just terrific," Murdoch remarked in an interview with Reuters in San Francisco. "Everybody, even in the industry, [recognizes] how different it is to CNBC, which is half dead." Murdoch praised Fox News chief Roger Ailes for implementing "a whole lot of new program ideas," adding, "In terms of liveliness and change ... I think that we've got a genius in Roger."
RAT PACK SURVIVOR JOEY BISHOP DIES
Joey Bishop, the last surviving member of the Rat Pack, which also included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr., died Wednesday at age 89. He played the host of a TV talk show on The Joey Bishop Show, which ran on NBC from 1962 - 1964, then moved to CBS from 1964 - 1965. In 1967, he actually became a talk-show host on ABC, with Regis Philbin as his sidekick, but failed in his effort to compete against NBC's late-night champ, Johnny Carson. (On one show, a teary-eyed Philbin announced that he was quitting the show after critics blamed him for its poor ratings. The next night Bishop said that he had persuaded Philbin to remain.) After the show was canceled, Bishop went on to substitute frequently for Carson.
BRITISH HUMORIST ALAN COREN DEAD AT 69
Prolific British humorist Alan Coren, a former editor of the satirical magazine Punch, a panelist on BBC Radio's The News Quiz, and TV games shows,and a columnist for the London Times, died today (Friday) of cancer at age 69.