LENO IN CENTER OF NEW WGA STORM
The Writers Guild of America West should apologize to Jay Leno as a way of clearing his name from the "adverse stigma" that resulted from his being charged with scabbing during last year's WGA strike, the committee that investigated the charges has recommended. The report, leaked to Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily blog and Daily Variety, advised the union's leadership to issue a public apology inasmuch as "Mr. Leno's reputation and solid service as a loyal union member have been damaged in the eyes of many not knowing the facts as we do." Leno spokesman Dick Guttman told Variety that Leno was not looking for an apology. "He's very happy to be a part of the guild, and he was very happy with the way this was adjudicated." But an unsolicited apology came from Finke, who acknowledged that she "became one of his harshest critics" after "rumors began flying" following Leno's return to work. "There were so many rumors about Leno and the WGA that it became impossible for me to check out each of them," she wrote. Many of the rumors, she conceded, turned out to be false. Finke reported that during the investigation Leno insisted that guild officials had told him that he could continue to do his monologue and that 17 writers corroborated his testimony. He also pointed out that an AFTRA clause allows performers to write material that they themselves perform. But WGA West Executive Director David Young disagreed with the findings of the trial committee and maintained that no apology would be issued to Leno. "The guild believes that the trial committee did not fully understand the so-called AFTRA exception," he told Variety.
NBC TO USE RADIO TO PROMOTE LENO
NBC is set to launch a formidable advertising push on radio today (Tuesday) on behalf of its nightly Jay Leno Show, which debuts on September 14. According to Mediaweek, the campaign will roll out in "two waves" -- the first, between now and September 11, is aimed at calling attention to the Leno debut; the second, which will run from September 14 to 18 is "the call to action," as the trade publication described it. All will feature comedy bits by Leno. NBC has purchased the spots on stations that air traffic reports "on the :10s," to remind listeners that Leno's show will air at 10:00 p.m. each night.
OBAMA TO CHILDREN: PAY NO ATTENTION TO FAST-MONEY STORIES ON TV
Facing charges from the far right that he was attempting to use his position as president of the United States to indoctrinate children into socialism, President Obama today (Tuesday) delivered a speech to kids encouraging them to work hard, stay in school, and question the images of success that they see on television. Indeed, he suggested that television may represent the real menace to the nation's youth. "I know that sometimes, you get the sense from TV that you can be rich and successful without any hard work -- that your ticket to success is through rapping or basketball or being a reality TV star, when chances are, you're not going to be any of those things," the president said. "But the truth is, being successful is hard." He encouraged children to persevere even in the face of failure: "Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who've had the most failures. J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published," he said. Prior to the broadcast, conservative commentator Glenn Beck urged parents not to send their children to school today as a way of protesting the speech.
FOOTBALL COMES TO THE IPHONE
Football, which is being credited with spurring sales of big-screen home theaters, is now coming to the mini-screen as well. NBC Sports announced Monday that it has partnered with MobiTV to launch a new "app" on the iPhone and iPod Touch to deliver eight live Notre Dame football games to the devices. The app is being offered via Apple's iTunes store for $6.99. MobiTv, which delivered NCAA basketball finals to the devices last season, has indicated that it plans to bring other live sports programming to them as well.
ANDERSON COOPER REPORTING FROM AFGHANISTAN
Anderson Cooper is heading a team of CNN reporters who will broadcast from Afghanistan this week. Embedded with U.S. troops, Cooper plans to broadcast from a different location throughout the week. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Cooper said that the war-plagued country has not been given the attention it deserves from the U.S. media. "It's very expensive for domestic networks," Cooper told the newspaper. "A lot of regions are remote. To bring in satellite equipment is costly. We think it's an important story. We have a full-time correspondent in Kabul. I wanted to bring a team. We wanted to devote significant resources to it at and will broadcast the show every night from an embedded position." Cooper's team includes Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent; CNN's national security analyst Peter Bergen; and CNN correspondent Michael Ware.