The Morning Fix: Ad spending goes south. NBC shuffles schedule.


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After the coffee. Before figuring out who took my invite to the ‘Twilight’ premiere.

The Skinny: Like everybody else I watched Bob Costas interview Jerry Sandusky and like everybody else, my opinion only got stronger. Costas was excellent. In the headlines, 2011 is not a banner year for advertising, ABC has started selling commercials for the Oscars and NBC has shuffled the deck chairs of its prime-time schedule.


Shrinking growth. Projections of a 6% increase in TV advertising revenue for 2011 may come up short. Over the summer, spending was up only 2%. One reason there has been a slowdown is that Hollywood is making fewer movies and hence has less to market. A tough ad market makes having to give free commercial inventory to make up for ratings shortfalls -- which is something Fox has had to do because of ‘The X Factor’ -- even harder to swallow. Fortunately, 2012 is expected to pick up thanks to political spending and the Olympics. More on the state of the ad market from the Los Angeles Times.

Disarray? What disarray? The turmoil behind the scenes of next year’s Academy Awards isn’t helping ABC sell the show to advertisers. According to Advertising Age, ABC is asking for between $1.6 million and $1.7 million per commercial for the show, which is flat to down slightly from the 2011 show. In fairness, the debacle around the show -- producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy were replaced last week by Brian Grazer and Billy Crystal -- probably is a less of a factor than a soft ad market when it comes to the price tag.

Culture clash. Is ICM, one of the biggest talent agencies in Hollywood, on the verge of imploding? Variety looks at the tension between Chairman Jeff Berg and President Chris Silbermann over a restructuring of the firm. Cynthia Littleton even manages to write the story without making it about herself.

Thanks for the memories. Regis Philbin is exiting ‘Live with Regis and Kelly’ this Friday after more than 20 years co-hosting the national morning show. No replacement for Philbin has been named yet as Disney, which distributes the show, is going to try out lots of different hosts to see who has the best chemistry with Kelly Ripa. Again, I’m available. Philbin strolls down memory lane with the New York Times

Lack of community. NBC unveiled its midseason scheduling changes and left the sitcom ‘Community’ out of the lineup, which immediately sent many TV critics to the pharmacy to stock up on antidepressants. NBC says it is just benching ‘Community,’ not cutting it from the team. The same may not be able to be said for ‘Prime Suspect.’ Vulture and Hollywood Reporter with their analysis of the moves.

The Sandusky effect. Some advertisers are wary of having their commercials run in Penn State football games in the wake of the scandal around former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who has been accused of molesting children. ‘The school’s image is damaged and brands will disassociate,’ Kevin Adler, founder of sports marketing firm Engage Marketing told the Wall Street Journal. While the story primarily deals with ESPN, seems to me it’d be more interesting to see if advertisers in Pennsylvania were supporting the local radio coverage of the team or starting to bail.


Inside the Los Angeles Times: James Rainey on NBC’s hiring of Chelsea Clinton. Walt Disney Co. has bought the online parenting community site Babble.

-- Joe Flint

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