NBC GOES GOOGLING
In what some analysts regarded as a major paradigm shift for broadcasters, Google and NBC Universal have reached an agreement under which Google will begin selling ads on MSNBC, CNBC, Sci-Fi Channel, and Oxygen. Under the agreement, the two companies will split revenue from the ads. It was not known whether they had agreed on a limit on the number of ads Google would be allowed to sell. The two companies also said that they would work to expand their deal to NBC's affiliates and websites. In reporting the deal, the New York Times observed, "The deal suggests that large media companies, which have regarded Google with suspicion, may now be more willing to work with it."
WILMINGTON SWITCHES TO DIGITAL
With the throwing of a symbolic switch FCC Chairman Kevin Martin launched Wilmington, NC's stations into the digital age, as the city's five stations switched from analog broadcasting to digital, the first stations in the U.S. to do so. All TV stations in the nations are required to make the switch on Feb. 17, 2009. "The measure of success here in Wilmington is not what happens today or tomorrow here, but it's what we learn from it," Martin told the Wall Street Journal. "If no one called today, that wouldn't necessarily mean it's a success." But there were numerous callers, reports indicated, many from people who were unable to connect their recently purchased settop adapters properly. At fire stations across the city, Wilmington officials had mobilized volunteers to help those who were unable to receive TV pictures. All in all, station operators said that the switchover went relatively smoothly and called it a success.
FIRST HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL FLOP
ABC's High School Musical: Get in the Pictureaired its series finale Monday night but few were interested in seeing who got "in the picture." The reality/talent series, which the network had high hopes for at the beginning of the summer, drew just 4.13 million viewers and placed fifth in its 8:00 p.m. time period.
ABC NEWS PRODUCER SAYS GIBSON WON'T GO EASY ON PALIN
ABC World News producer Jon Banner insisted in an interview with the Associated Press on Monday that no issue is off the table when Charles Gibson interviews Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Alaska later this week. He was presumably referring to the matter of Palin's pregnant and unmarried teenage daughter and a report by the National Enquirer that Palin had had an affair (an allegation denounced as a vicious lie by the McCain campaign). Both issues had initially been ignored by the mainstream media. Meanwhile speculation arose that Gibson had been chosen because McCain aides had concluded that CBS's Katie Couric would likely be combative in an interview with Palin and that they had regarded NBC as biased in favor of the Democrats. Some conservatives were skeptical about Gibson, however. On the conservative website Newsbusters, operated by Brent Bozell's Media Research Center, commentator Tim Graham asked whether Gibson will "go easy [on Palin], like on Obama?"
COOKING SHOW APPEARANCE ENDS RULE OF THAI PREMIER
Thailand's Constitution Court unanimously ruled today (Tuesday) that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej violated a constitutional ban on outside employment when he appeared on two television cooking shows. The court ordered him to resign at once. Samak had maintained that he had only received money to cover his transportation costs to the television studio and for the ingredients of the dishes prepared on the program. Until he had entered politics, Samak had been principally known as the host of a weekly television cooking show. (He is not the first to make the transition from chef to politician; the late Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh had once been a pastry chef in England.) Anti-government protesters who last month occupied Government House, the administrative seat of the country, cheered the news of the court's decision.