Mel to Biz Press: We're Not Dead Yet


Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin, the keynoter for the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Cable Advertising Conference in New York last Tuesday, began his remarks with a slide of recent articles about an ad-sales slowdown from such publications as Advertising Age, Electronic Media, Multichannel News and some newspapers-and then blasted "these people in the press who write all these obnoxious articles" as contributing to a "self-fulfilling prophecy." He added, "Believe me, it's not going to work," and told the CAB attendees that Viacom's MTV Networks executives are "ready to do upfront deals-starting tonight!" Hey, Mel, don't kill the messengers. (And would Karmazin blast Dan Rather's CBS Evening News reports on the steady stream of layoffs as contributing to future layoffs?)

. In a lighter vein, Karmazin played a clip from the 1987 flick Wall Street, in which Michael Douglas as the unscrupulous Gordon Gekko delivers his " Advertising is good,
advertising is right" speech. Don't recall it that way? Well, that's because Karmazin had Comedy Central's Jon Stewart dub in "advertising" whenever the word "greed" is uttered. The Viacom honcho then told the CAB crowd, "Not only do I believe 'advertising is good,' but advertising is really

. Rush Limbaugh's Web site last week reported on an MSNBC gaffe that occurred during its live coverage of the shooting outside the White House last Wednesday. "At one point, MSNBC cut by mistake to correspondent David an inopportune time," Limbaugh reports. "In the middle of what appeared at the time to be an assassination attempt.this Geraldo [Rivera] wannabe is doing what?" he asks sarcastically. "Chasing down leads, talking to witnesses?. No, he's putting onmakeupright in the middle of a breaking news story!"
Limbaugh's remarks are supported by frames from MSNBC's coverage.

. Before moderating an International Radio & Television Society Foundation Inc. breakfast panel, CNBC Business Center
co-anchor Sue Herrera pointed to her "red slippers" lapel pin and said, "If you look at the advertising market now, we ain't in Kansas anymore." Her fellow moderator-CNBC Market Wrap
co-anchor Bill Griffeth-reacted to the echo effect in the cavernous Cipriani restaurant on 42nd Street, which used to be a Bowery Savings Bank branch. He quipped" "I feel like I'm in Yankee Stadium: 'I'm the luckiest man.'"

. At that same IRTS breakfast, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Tom Wolzien predicted that Microsoft Corp. just might go after Walt Disney Co.-"without the parks"-to acquire its wealth of content. That, he quipped, "would give them some characters besides that paper clip."

. It seems there's something for everyone nowadays on the nostalgia circuit. The 1970s are the hot decade on The Learning Channel, ABC and Fox. TLC has slotted The '70s: Bellbottomsto Boogie Shoes
as a two-hour March 4 primetime special, hosted by Danny Bonaduce of Partridge Family
fame. ABC aired Inside the Osmonds
last week and Fox, of course, has the weekly sitcom That '70s Show
. The Biography Channel is into the '60s with a Feb. 4 "Psychedelic '60s Marathon," featuring Biography
profiles of such names as Timothy Leary, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Mick Jagger and Charles Manson, as well as a documentary on LSD; that digi-net also will profile Martin Luther King Jr. this month, whenA&E Television will runBiographyClose-up: Civil Rights Heroes(Feb. 28).
Meanwhile, Cable News Network's Web site recently called attention to an '80s nostalgia wave, citing series like The A-Team
and Facts of Life
on TV Land, WXCD-FM in Chicago switching from classic rock to an '80s-music format and collectors seeking out "Garbage Pail Kids," those gross trading cards that parodied the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls.

. They're everywhere! The Powell family, that is. First, President Bush named Colin Powell as his secretary of state, then the general's son Michael as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission last month. Last week Gen. Powell's daughterAnne was named aWar Gamescorrespondent.
Not the real thing, but War Games-as in TBS Superstation's series pilot of that name, due March 28. The two-hour primetimer, which TBS says will take viewers "to the front lines of simulated battles with real-life military personnel," will be hosted by Howie Long, sportscaster, National Football League Hall of Famer and sometime-actor whose credits include the military-themed flick Broken Arrow.