One day after The Walt Disney Co.'s Washington lobbyist, Marsha MacBride, was named Federal Communications Commission chief of staff by new FCC chairman Michael Powell, the agency decided against taking further action against Disney for violating the confidentiality of merger documents submitted by America Online Inc. The breach occurred in September when Preston Padden-Disney's top Washington lobbyist-and deputy MacBride bothreceived an electronic-mail message from an outside lawyer that contained a summary of AOL documents, though neither Disney employee was entitled to see the information.
Padden sent the e-mail to mouse house brass in Burbank, Calif., and Disney told the FCC that MacBride never opened the message. In its decision, the FCC dealt quite firmly with Padden's conduct. He's mentioned by name 26 times in a nine-page document, including footnotes. The FCC's new chief of staff received much friendlier treatment. Her name wasn't mentioned even once by order-writer Sherille Ismail, deputy chief of the Cable Services Bureau. Instead, Ismail opted to refer to MacBride as "the other [Disney] vice president." When it seemed implausible to use Padden's name without mentioning MacBride by name, Ismail decided to go generic, referring to the duo as "two of Disney's vice presidents." Who decided FCC orders were designed not to inform the reader, but to protect the writer?
. ESPN college-basketball broadcaster Bob Carpenter will volunteer his time to call the remaining Oklahoma State local-TV games, starting next Wednesday at Nebraska. Carpenter will replace Bill Teegins, one of 10 people killed in a small plane crash Jan. 24, 40 miles east of Denver.
The plane was returning to Oklahoma from a game at Colorado. OSU has enthusiastically accepted Carpenter's offer. Carpenter will join his ESPN partner Jimmy Dykes, who currently calls OSU games. Both guys, who'll donate the fees to the rest of the season to a fund for the victims' families, have ties. Carpenter lives in Oklahoma; Dykes played for OSU coach Eddie Sutton at Arkansas.
. Media reporters who cover divisions of AOL Time Warner Inc. caught a whiff last week of how the freshly merged behemoth will handle PR going forward. A Wire correspondent responding to a press release Cable News Network sent out Wednesday to announce CNNfn's rebranding as CNN Money hit a brick wall when calling CNN to request an interview with Phil Kent, the CNN News Group president quoted in the release. A CNN publicist told the reporter that AOL Time Warnerhonchos Gerald Levin and Terry McGuirk were holding an investor presentation on AOL Time Warner earnings and synergies last Wednesday, so the corporation decided to allow the duo to handle the corporate message of the day. No executive interviews were to be scheduled that day, she said, suggesting the company wanted to present a single voice. McGuirk ended up spending about 10 seconds on CNN Money, which may have been all the time that corporate flacks figured the struggling network merited.
. Robert Iger, president and chief operating officer for the Walt Disney Co., has a four-year deal with the mouse house that not only pays $1.5 million per annum, but also comes with lots of perks, stock options and a prized seat on the corporate board. According to Disney's notice to shareholders sent Jan. 12, Iger has amply shielded hisemployment agreement from danger
should he experience a Mike Ovitz-like falling out with CEO Michael Eisner. One clause in the agreement allows Iger to walk away from the company with salary and bonus if Disney were to relocate Iger's office "more than 50 miles from Manhattan or the greater Los Angeles area."
.Those original Survivors keep cropping up well beyond their allotted 15 minutes offame.
On cable, Rudy Boesch last week hosted the History Channel's Modern Marvels:Survival Guide; Susan Hawk had a guest shot on TNN: The National Network's 18 Wheels of Justice, which also ran last week; and Kelly Wiglesworth has landed a job co-hosting E! Entertainment Television's Celebrity Adventures
series, due this fall. In 18 Wheels, Susan-typecast as a truck driver-meets Chance (played by series star Lucky Vanous) at a truck stop. She gripes that she's overworked and Chance suggests a tropical-island vacation. No, she didn't go into her "rats and snakes" rant.
. Nearly a month after its sale, World Championship Wrestling won't stage its traditional monthly pay-per-view show in April. The wrestling outfit, which Turner Broadcasting System Inc. sold to Fusient Media Ventures, will not feature an April PPV event for the first time in years, instead opting to combine its April and May events to create one major extravaganza.
Some Internet wrestling sites are speculating that scheduling problems-the initial show was set for Easter Sunday-sabotaged the April date. The organization would only say that the PPV event would air May 6 and feature "WCW's top wrestlers in a battle to the finish."
. Also on the wrestling front, World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. may be looking for some new digs. Published reports claim the WWF has outgrown its current headquarters in Stanford, Conn., and may look to relocate to either nearby Fairfield County or into Westchester County in New York.
The WWF has been in its current spot for more than a decade.