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Oprah to Demand $1M Per Ad During Finale


Was pretty sure she was going to go completely insane there and demand “Super Bowl” type money.

Oprah Winfrey’s syndicated program might air in daytime, but it’s hitting up advertisers for major-league primetime ad rates for its final episode.

The asking price for a 30-second ad on Oprah’s May 25 finale is $1 million, according to Horizon Media researcher Brad Adgate. That’s more than last year’s finales of ABC’s Lost ($900,000) and Fox’s 24 ($650,000), despite Oprah having a smaller audience (about 7 million viewers) than either of those dramas. Oprah’s distributor had no comment.

You have to go back to the season finale of CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond ($1.2 million) to find a steeper asking price for a series finale.

The most expensive finale in Adgate’s research? The finale of Friends, which commanded a nearly Super Bowl-sized $2 million.

Adgate points out that there’s increasingly an event glow around a series finale, making it more akin to a live telecast even when taped, and Oprah is a brand that many advertisers want to be associated with.

Also, given her habit of handing out “Gifts” to her studio audience because if sponsor “generosity,” one wonders how much is being donated by corporate America just so it will appear on the finale, or put into the hands of a housewife visiting the Chicago studio.

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Has NBC Canceled “Law & Order?”

No one knows for sure, but we will know for certain on Monday when NBC is the first to unveil its Fall 2010 schedule during what is traditionally called “Upfront Week.”  Upfronts are when the networks highlight the new shows and returning favorites to advertisers at really expensive events in New York and Los Angeles.

As for the fate of “Law & Order,” no one at the Peacock Network is talking.

Get ready to bid bye-bye to the bum-bum.

NBC has canceled Law & Order, E! News has confirmed. The cast and crew of the mothership procedural were informed of the show’s fate earlier today.

The upcoming season of Dick Wolf‘s brainchild would have been its 21st, passing Gunsmoke as the longest-running TV drama series in history. (The Simpsons holds the longevity record for any scripted series.)

NBC has not yet responded to a call seeking comment.

UPDATE: Reports are that show creator Dick Wolf is upset at NBC for backing out of a deal (Dick, meet Conan.  Conan, meet Dick.) he had with the network to guarantee the show would have at minimum a 21st season, giving it the title of longest-running TV drama.  One website is reporting Wolf may take the show to TNT, which is already the home for the series’ syndicated reruns.

A deal was in place if NBC picked up the Law & Order flagship for a 21st season consisting of 16 episodes. But insiders say Dick Wolf is now accusing the network of “reneging” on that deal: “He’s so fucking angry, you have no idea.” As recently as the start of this week, even NBCU chief Jeff Zucker was privately telling people that L&O would get one more season. That’s certainly what Wolf and his longtime reps (UTA and Ziffren Brittenham legal eagle Cliff Gilbert) were led to believe from NBC suits Marc Graboff and Jeff Gaspin. That is, until last night.

According to the arrangement already in place, NBC/Universal Media Studios was supposed to go to TNT and negotiate a new deal (the old one was up) whereby the cable channel would finance some original episodes of Law & Order in order to continue getting runs of the show. “And, for whatever reason, NBC was unwilling to engage in a serious way with TNT. They didn’t do it. At the last minute, they said, ‘we’ll pick the show up and this is how we’re going to do it’. Which was ludicrous.” That’s when NBC threw its agreement with Wolf out the window and demanded Wolf “finance the pickup of Law & Order out of all the money he’s made. And he said, ‘Go fuck yourself’,” according to an insider. Another source explained the situation more politely: “Graboff broke off the negotiations last night when they fell apart based on Team Dick’s unwillingness to make certain deal concessions deemed unreasonable.”

But that’s not all. Immediately, Team Dick contacted Gaspin. And that email exchange revealed that Gaspin didn’t realize the show has been cancelled. But, this morning, NBC began calling reps for the show’s stars and telling them, “We want to let you know before you read this on Nikki Finke.”

Nikki Finke owns and operates the Hollywood dirtsheet “Deadline Hollywood.”

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NBC Pulls All Online O’Brien Content

“O’Brien?”  Did we ever have an “O’Brien” working here?

From the Daily Caller

Remember the whole Conan O’Brien/Jay Leno imbroglio from last month? Perhaps NBC wishes you didn’t. The GE unit has removed every episode of the show’s seven-month run from its NBC.com site, as well as Hulu, the site NBC owns with News Corp.’s Fox and Disney’s ABC.

A little odd, given that a couple of days ago, the network was offering every single “Tonight Show” episode O’Brien had taped on NBC.com. But then again, everything about this story has been odd. NBC declined to comment.

Conan O”Brien’s last show with NBC was on January 22nd.

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The Five-Timers Club

In honor of Conan O’Brien’s last night at NBC, I show one of his first appearance on NBC television.  It’s from late 1990, in an “Saturday Night Live” sketch called “The Five Timer’s Club.”

O’Brein — then an SNL writer — plays “Sean,” the doorman of “The Five Timer’s Club.”  Tom Hanks hosted this particular episode (His 5th, hence the gag), with special cameos by Elliot Gould, Paul Simon, Steve Martin, and others.  Ralph Nader even tries to crash.


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Conan-NBC Reach Deal on “Tonight Show” Exit

Bye-bye Coco. It’s been a fun ride.

I will miss the newly-introduced “Bugatti Veyron Mouse.”

NEW YORK — NBC said Thursday it has reached a $45 million deal with Conan O’Brien for his exit from the Tonight show, allowing Jay Leno to return to the late-night program he hosted for 17 years.

Under the deal, which came seven months after O’Brien took the reins from Leno, O’Brien will get more than $33 million, NBC said. The rest will go to his staff in severance, the network said in an announcement on the Today show.

His final show will be Friday, and Leno will return to Tonight on March 1.

“In the end, Conan was appreciative of the steps NBC made to take care of his staff and crew, and decided to supplement the severance they were getting out of his own pocket,” his manager, Gavin Polone, told The Wall Street Journal. “Now he just wants to get back on the air as quickly as possible.”

O’Brien will be free to begin another TV job as soon as September, NBC said.

O’Brien landed the Tonight show after successfully hosting Late Night, which airs an hour later, since 1993. But he quickly stumbled in the ratings race against his CBS rival, David Letterman.

Under Leno, the Tonight show was the ratings champ at 11:35 p.m. Eastern, but he proved an instant flop with his experiment in prime time.

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NBC Confirms Leno Leaving Prime-Time

As predicted here, just last week.

NBC decided to end the Jay Leno experiment when some of its affiliates started talking about dropping the nightly prime-time show, its top entertainment executive said Sunday.

NBC Universal Television Entertainment Chairman Jeff Gaspin said Sunday that Leno’s nightly prime-time show will end with the beginning of the Winter Olympics on Feb. 12. NBC wants Leno to do an 11:35 p.m. show each night, a return to his old time slot, Gaspin said.

Gaspin said despite lower ratings for NBC at 10 p.m. compared with last year, the network was making money off the show.

But affiliates were upset that the show was leading fewer viewers into their late news programs, costing them significant advertising revenue. Some affiliates told NBC in December they would go public soon about their complaints if a change wasn’t made, or even take Leno’s show off the air.

“The drumbeat started getting louder,” Gaspin said.

Gaspin has proposed moving Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight” show to 12:05 a.m., and Jimmy Fallon’s show would start an hour later. But the late-night hosts had not agreed to the move. Gaspin said he expected NBC’s late-night situation to be cleared up by the start of the Olympics.

Asked if O’Brien and Fallon expressed anger at his proposal, Gaspin said both men were professional and understanding when they talked.

“Beyond that, it was a private conversation,” Gaspin said.

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Oliver Stone Continues to Show He’s Crazy

(HT: Big Hollywood)

The fourth season of Dexter wrapped up last month, so suddenly I don’t mind not having Showtime.

Director Oliver Stone’s upcoming Showtime documentary miniseries “Secret History of America” promises to put mass murderers such as Stalin and Hitler “in context.”

“Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy — these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history,” Stone told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour in Pasadena.

“Stalin has a complete other story,” Stone said. “Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can’t judge people as only ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and its been used cheaply. He’s the product of a series of actions. It’s cause and effect … People in America don’t know the connection between WWI and WWII … I’ve been able to walk in Stalin’s shoes and Hitler’s shoes to understand their point of view. We’re going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions … Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated.”

Wonder if Stone’s going to bring up how Kennedy patriarch Joseph Kennedy Sr. was a vocal Nazi sympathizer.  One so vocal, he had to be pulled from his role as the Ambassador to England just prior to the onset of World War II.  So many people seem to “forget” that part in these ‘re-examinations of history.’

Anyone who’s ever watched a History Channel documentary on the rise and fall of the Nazis in Germany pretty much knows the history of Adolf Hitler.  He was a semi-talented art student in Austria and Munich who failed in that profession, and many others he tried.  Then, with no where else to go, joined the Austrian army and served in World War I.  After the war, he stayed in the military and was assigned to report on the activities of the young Nazi Party since they were seen as an enemy of the state.  Instead of reporting back all he saw, he became enthralled with the speakers and eventually joined the party himself at age 30.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Stone has an answer to those who say, “Why not just watch the History Channel’s numerous documentaries?

“You cannot approach history unless you have empathy for the person you may hate,” Stone said during the show’s trailer, which promised to put historical villains “in context.” “I don’t want to put out conventional History Channel product where it’s easy to like it.”

“He’s not saying we’re going to come out with a more positive view of Hitler,” emphasized professor Peter Kuznick, the lead writer on the project. “But we’re going to describe him as a historical phenomenon and not just somebody who appeared out of nowhere.”

Stone expects most people will hate his latest rewrite of history.  Most historians still curse his name for what he did to the factual record of the JFK Assassination, with his JFK.

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The Sarah Connor Guys Said Much the Same

Had a good chuckle about this story on a blog at Entertainment Weekly yesterday.  Yes, co-star of floundering NBC drama Heroes, your pleas are being listened to by a network so in the toilet, it has to sell new reality shows by telling people they’re a combination of two shows on another, better-rated network.

(Honestly, it’s how the Peacock Network sold The Sing-Off.)

Ratings shmatings. Greg Grunberg says Heroes will be back next fall for a fifth season — and he’s got proof. “We wrapped yesterday and the [final episode] is nowhere near a series finale,” he told us at last night’s People’s Choice Awards. “It is cliffhanger-y and exciting, but it is nowhere near an end to a series that people are so invested in. It does not tie everything up in a neat bow… I don’t have any doubt that the show will be back.”

Grunberg cites Heroes‘ strong DVD sales and international success as two reasons the show will go on. “We will wrap it up properly in the next season and get to 100 episodes,” he maintains. “At least that’s what I would like to see happen. They take so much care in writing the show that I would hope we get the chance to end it right.

Lost announced an end [date] and I think that helped both the people working on the show and the people watching it,” he continues. “They see the finish line and I think it gives them something tangible to invest in and be excited about. It’s like it’s a movie and they want to see the end of it. That’s what I hope happens with our show.”

If what Grunberg says is true, that Heroes will soon be wrapping up its entire run next year, then a stay of execution probably isn’t that far off an idea.  NBC frankly is bleeding money — it is one reason why GE sold them after all to Comcast — you wonder if it can even afford to just let Heroes die and replace it with new shows.

NBC is a giant mess; just look at the Leno thing (PREDICTION HALF CORRECT!  Now to have Fox do what they do with American Idol annually…), they haven’t been the same since Seinfeld and Friends left the air and they still haven’t found get back the viewers they lost.

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Hadn’t ABCNews put Ted Koppel out to pasture (at his own wishes if I recall) a few years back?  Why not let a younger journalist prove themselves; like Terry Moran or Jake Tapper?

This is a lame move ABCNews is doing if you ask me — and that’s based solely on the fact they’re going to have to replace Koppel in a few years when he retires…again.

ABC News is negotiating with “Nightline” founder Ted Koppel, a 42-year veteran of the network, for a potential return to anchor “This Week” three Sundays a month, broadcast industry sources said.

ABC News executives said no offers have been made.

Under the proposed Koppel arrangement, the fourth Sunday would rotate among potential future anchors from the network’s Washington bureau.

ABC News President David Westin said in an e-mail: “We are in the middle of the process, and I will not comment on the specifics of whom we are and whom we are not talking to. I’m considering a number of alternatives. I will pull back the veil to the limited degree of telling you – for the benefit of your readers – that just about every specific that you have is false.”

Friends say Koppel would most like to be secretary of state, but that this perch might be a satisfactory alternative.  A potential snag is that Koppel’s longtime producer, Tom Bettag, is not part of the deal, and Koppel might want that.

The arrangement would have the network relying on a proven draw to give stability to the broadcast at a time when new anchors are getting their footing at “World News” and “Good Morning America.”

Koppel is currently the Discovery Channel’s managing editor and anchors “Koppel on Discovery,” a series of long-form programming. Koppel is also a senior news analyst for National Public Radio.

I don’t blame ABCNews for going for the “proven entity in News” given the musical chairs they’ve done to their network on other shows, but the only way you get new blood in (and hence new stars) is to give them a chance.  ABCNews is letting that happen.

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They Play Doctors on TV: They Must Know Health Care Reform

Actually, they don’t.

But good to see actors are one thing: Predictably liberal.

As the old saying goes, ‘I’m not a Doctor, but I play one on TV,’ well the co-stars of one of my favorite sitcoms may not have been either reading the bill, or what it will do to those they currently without insurance who may be mandated to pay for cover whether they want to be or not.

In an article very short on details, the Washington Post reports it will be the young; either through mandates or higher taxes, who will be paying for much of the current bills being debated in the House and Senate.

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