Marketing

Comcast Needs an Ombudsman: The Wire Has Some Suggestions

1/24/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Comcast and NBC Universal’s merger applications
contained more pledges and promises than a Boy
Scout induction ceremony.

A late-breaking Comcast commitment was to name
an ombudsman within 30 days to oversee compliance
with the memoranda of understanding, voluntary
commitments and the Federal Communications Commission’s
recent approval order and conditions.

Comcast called the ombudsman idea both a “plan”
and a “commitment.”

But assuming the latter trumps the former, The Wire
started thinking about logical candidates for that key
post.

Frankly, no one’s more qualified than Liberty Media
chief John Malone. He’s not only the smartest guy in almost
every room, he’s familiar with FCC deal approvals
from such hits as “TCI Goes to Washington” and “Liberty
and (Fill in the Blank) Get Married.”

Or maybe former Republican FCC chairman Kevin
Martin
. He certainly knows all about FCC processes,
and would be sure to keep an eye on all those Comcast
promises just in case a period on a contract were
printed upside down — which might be cause to nullify
the deal.

Seriously, though. The Wire endorses Rick Boucher,
the former Democratic Virginia congressman who
chaired the House’s communications subcommittee.
He knows the issues and is respected on both sides of
the aisle and throughout the communications industry,
generally. In backing the merger, he proposed his own
conditions, so he already has a leg up.

Who would you suggest for this important oversight
role? Email us at mcnletters@nbmedia.com.

DIY’s Tony Siragusa
Gets Wax ‘Man Cave’
At Madame Tussauds

Andy Singer, the general manager at Scripps Networksowned
DIY, considers his network “the ESPN of home
improvement.”

Case in point: One of its more popular shows, Man
Caves
, co-stars former National Football League lineman
and Fox NFL sideline reporter Tony Siragusa.

When Siragusa is in Dallas for the pre-Super Bowl “NFL
Experience” events,
he’s due to receive a
special honor. Madame
Tussauds is going to
unveil a (gulp) life-sized
wax fi gure of him, in his
“man cave” surroundings,
Singer tells The
Wire. DIY plans a halfhour
special in the third
quarter on the making
of the wax “Goose,” the
unveiling and the installation
at the Madame
Tussauds location in
Times Square.

DIY also plans to add
some interactivity in the third quarter to another celebrity-
driven show, The Vanilla Ice Project, wherein fans can
help advise the pop singer on how to renovate a huge
fixer-upper in Palm Beach, Fla., Singer said.

For more on DIY’s 2011 plans, see Content

IFC’s Evan Shapiro:
Our ‘Onion’ Show
Is Built to Last

Evan Shapiro, president of Rainbow Media’s IFC tv
and Sundance Channel, said it took 18 months to persuade
The Onion CEO Steve Hannah to transform The
Onion News Network
from an online hit to the IFC halfhour
comedy that debuted Jan. 21.

The two organizations formed “a true partnership,”
he said at a New York City screening of Portlandia,
another new comedy series on IFC (Jan. 21). “It’s not a
typical vendor-network relationship.”

So, The Wire wondered, was he chagrined to learn
The Onion was making a show for Comedy Central?
(Onion SportsDome debuted Jan. 11.)

No, because The Onion was in talks with Viacomowned
Comedy before IFC was, he said. But Shapiro
made a prediction. In 1994, two hospital shows
launched the same week on rival networks: NBC’s ER
survived.

Five years ago, NBC launched two shows about
behind-the-scenes life at a sketch comedy series: 30
Rock survived.

This month, two Onion shows launched: “Ours will
come back,” he said.

While he wasn’t announcing a renewal before The
Onion News Network
even debuted, Shapiro said the
network expects it to succeed.

IFC even has separate rights to each of the “shows”
in the faux network’s stable — today NOW!, the morning
show, for example.

“The Onion universe is ripe for spins,” he said.

Matt Blank Bridges
Boxing’s Big Divide,
Uniting King, Arum

NEW YORK — Showtime Networks chairman and CEO
Matt Blank and veteran boxing promoters Don King and
Bob Arum went back to the future, appearing together
on Jan. 19 to promote the March 12 pay-per-view fight
between super-welterweights Miguel Cotto and Ricardo
Mayorga
.

This is the first PPV boxing event for Showtime since
2005, when Arum helped promote the Diego Corrales-
Jose
Louis Castillo rematch.

It’s also the first time Showtime has teamed with
King on a PPV event since the 1990s, when King represented
former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for
several lucrative PPV events.

At the press event in Times Square, Blank playfully
jabbed at the King, 79, and Arum, saying it was great to
work with “two brand new boxing promoters” and that
Showtime is “always looking to support young guys in
the field.”

November