The XFL is only three weeks old and already one of its highly touted cheerleaders is appearing in the buff. Los Angeles Xtreme pom-pom girl Bonnie-Jil Lafin gives an up close and personal interview with online adult e-zine Mystique Magazine
(www.mystiquemagazine.com) that includes several nude images of the cheerleading beauty. In between photo takes, Lafin says she decided to do the XFL because it would provide great, ahem, "exposure" and possibly help fulfill her dream of being a sports broadcaster. But after the first two weeks, she's somewhat dismayed about how the league has promoted the cheerleaders. "What they have shown so far on national TV is girls looking like strippers, and it looks like we may not get all the breaks we thought we would get." Lafin, who earned a Super Bowl ring as a cheerleader for the San Francisco 49ers, believes she knows what the league needs to improve the image of its cheerleaders. "I think they're gonna have to definitely market us differently and publicity-wise.so that people know exactly what some of us do. Maybe find out that we have girls on our team who are teachers, who are court reporters, who are massage therapists, girls who are students.so people can see that these girls, at least the L.A. team and some of these other girls, you know, aren't [strippers and porn stars].
" We couldn't have said it better ourselves.
..."QB1," NTN Communications Inc.'s popular "predict-the-play" attraction at sports bars and taverns has also tied its fortunes to the XFL. Like its National Football League rendition, the XFL version of QB1 allows beer guzzlers to predict offensive plays via keyboard before the ball is snapped, awarding points if the call is actually played out on the gridiron. After stomaching one game during the league's inaugural weekend and deducing that the game itself, no matter how poorly or well played, is treated like a sideshow compared to the other "action" around the field, The Wire has a few suggestions on how QB1 could take on that distinctive XFL "flava." For starters, allow QB1-ers to predict which player will suffer a debilitating injury during a game's initial ball scramble, which is used in lieu of a coin toss. They can also predict how long it will be before halftime announcers bend the truth about how players are there because of their "love of the game." Never mind that they're there, more often than not, because they don't have enough talent to carry a water bucket in the NFL. Or they can predict how many times the network carrying the game cuts away to scantily clad cheerleaders gyrating in the crowd to pacify hormone-heavy viewers.
...The Toy Manufacturers of America estimates that licensed toys and games account for 46 percent of their sales each year. But given the vagaries of such spin-off merchandise in the fickle kids' market, toy makers like Hasbro Inc.-whose Star Wars
toys were strong in 1999 but fizzled in 2000-are now planning to rely less on such products. The TMA's American International Toy Fair took place in New York last week against that backdrop and, despite that trend, touted scores of tie-ins with films and television and cable series. Highly visible at Toy Fair were Nickelodeon'sJimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
(Mattel Inc.), a series due first as a theatrical film in December via Paramount Pictures; Dora the Explorer
(Eden LLC); Bob the Builder
(Fisher-Price Toys); and Rugrats
and Wild Thornberrys
(also Mattel). Cartoon Network's hot properties included Dexter's Laboratory
and Scooby Doo
(both Pressman Toy Corp.), The Powerpuff Girls
(Bam! Entertainment) plus Daemon Rising
from its "Toonami" block (both Irwin Toy Ltd.). Meanwhile, Sci Fi Channel's Farscape
(Toy Vault Inc.) and Animal Planet's The Crocodile Hunter
(N2 Toys LLC) were among the few live-action cable shows that enjoyed a high profile.
...Cable's club kids were out in force last Thursday, waiting in line outside Le Bar Bat on West 57th Street in Manhattan for the privilege of hearing the likes of Comedy Central guitarman Hank Close flog their axes for charity. The eighth annual Media Battle of the Bands raised $236,000 for Citymeals on Wheels, thanks to 1,200 people who bought a $40 ticket and myriad sponsors that kicked in cash. The event was on the crowded side, forced to shift from Roseland Ballroom to Le Bar Bat because of an "impending closing" at the midtown ballroom, Citymeals special events planner Lynn McGuire said. But Le Bar Bat "was great," donating the venue and dishing out tasty ribs. Who won the battle? "I'd say everybody was a winner," McGuire said.
... It may not be news in the East, but Left Coast operators were stunned last week when several of their systems were forced to dig out from a series of powerful winter storms. Charter Communications Inc.'s system in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., put installers to work spading the snow out of its headend. Even the dish that serves AT&T's beachside Santa Cruz system-located in the nearby mountains-contained 18 inches of the alien white stuff. And that was only 10 days after a mini-heatwave that sent temperatures into the 80s in some of those same communities.