Billed by ESPN upfront co-host Mike
Greenberg as vivacious and luminescent, and the man
who makes the company’s executives very nervous,
funny guy Kenny Mayne
assumed, quite briefly, a
larger role at the sports
programmer during its upfront
presentation in New
York last Tuesday (May 15).
Mayne thanked media
buyers for attending the
annual pledge drive. “It’s
viewers like you who allow
us to stay on the air.
Never mind the $7 a head
for cable viewers.” Pause
for deadpan eff ect. “$6.50,
Then came “a little internal
said. “There is a change in
the ESPN hierarchy. I’m
now in charge of global
programming. I just came
up with it. My subordinates should refer to me as the
master of the seven continents.”
Mayne said he’d asked erstwhile ESPN chief John Skipper
to stick around: “I believe he’ll be staying. He gets a
paycheck every two weeks.” He said continuity was important
to his decision and that he wanted to keep everybody
under Skipper. “They do good work.”
Citing a hastily configured organizational chart —
note ESPN affiliate chief Sean Bratches to the right on
the second line under Skipper, with chief financial officer Christine Driessen next to him and a certain bracketologist
third from the left — Mayne said once the names
were filled in he would “create a relationship with them.”
Mayne said the worldwide leader needed some global
programming. As such, he was double-greenlighting
a new soccer brand, ESPNFC.
He reminded attendees that last year, on the same
stage at the Best Buy Theater in
Times Square, Tony Hawk lit the
ceremonial first bong for the Global
X Games. Mayne proudly proclaimed
he told the skateboarding
legend to do that with the knowledge
that Mayne would soon ascend to his
new, authoritative position.
The Wider World of Sports host
rolled clips from his series’ first
campaign, including him bungee
jumping and his first, and likely
only, goal from his elephant
polo-playing days in Thailand.
“I left everything on the field that
day,” he said, as did his pachyderm
playmate. “That’s still available for
After just five minutes on top,
Mayne abdicated his throne, returning
the skipper’s position to Skipper.
Koonin Braves Return
To Scene of Last Year’s
Upfront Audio Crimes
Turner Entertainment Networks executives proved they
have a sense of humor during an upfront presentation at
the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York last Wednesday
(May 16). They poked fun at the
various technical snafus (chronicled in real time in The
Wire) that occurred at the same venue during the company’s
upfront a year ago.
This upfront led off
with a video featuring
some of the networks’
execs trying to figure
out how to avoid last
year’s debacle. Networks
Koonin was shown asking
TBS late-night host
Conan O’Brien what to
do — and O’Brien assuming
Koonin would at
least be smart enough
not to return to the
scene of the crime.
After the video was
over, Koonin came onstage
wheeling a strange contraption, to the delight of
the ad executives, media buyers and reporters present.
“I had this baby custom-made for me — it offers the
simplicity of an overhead projector, and the medical
marvel of a cardiac defibrillator,” he said.
Fortunately for Koonin and co., all of the upfront videos
and presentations ran flawlessly this time around.
Read more on the upfronts on Multichannel.com.
Cable Drop Might
Irk Time Warner,
Err, TWC P.R. Reps
Time Warner Cable might have scored a court victory
last week, but it lost a skirmish in its ongoing
campaign not to have folks identify it as simply “Time
Reporters covering the media beat are familiar
with the call, usually from someone at former mothership
Time Warner Inc., when the “C” is inadvertently
dropped from TWC in reference to the MSO, which spun
off from Time Warner Inc. back in 2009 to separate the
cable systems from the cable networks and other content
Old habits die hard, though. Just ask the 4th U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals. In giving TWC the good news
that it was upholding an FCC ruling against MASN
in a program-carriage complaint (see Rules), the court called it “Time Warner Cable Inc.” on
first reference, but followed that with a parenthetical
“Time Warner” and referred to it as “Time Warner”
We could envision those Time Warner P.R. people last
week checking their files for the number of Judge James
Wynn, who penned the majority opinion.
You can’t win them all, Time Warner. Err, Time Warner
News Flash: N.Y.
Meet With Prostitute
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chair of the House Homeland
Security Committee, took a gentle shot at media outlets
Sunday while making an unusual announcement. The
headline on the release from his office — “King Declines
Request to Meet With Colombian Prostitute” — was one
of the more unusual ones, and really needed the context
of the Secret Service scandal. Without that, it suggested
that not meeting with prostitutes is sufficiently unusual in
Congress to warrant a headline and a press release on a
Sunday morning. We won’t go there.
“I have declined a request
to meet with one of the female
foreign nationals involved in the
Secret Service misconduct in
Colombia,” King said. While he
was approached about a meeting,
he said he decided instead
to have his staff communicate
with her through her attorney.
“While such a meeting — and
the inevitable circus atmosphere
surrounding it — would no doubt
be of great interest to the media covering this story, ”
he said, “a meeting with her is simply not necessary at
this time for the Committee to conduct a serious and
Darn. The Wire was ready to sell peanuts and clean
up after the elephants and donkeys.