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NBC: Olympic Ads Nearly Sold Out

NBC has added four new Olympic
sponsors and says it has sold close to 90% of its advertising inventory for the
upcoming 2006 Torino Winter Games.

New advertisers include AT&T,
Exxon Mobil, DHL and Lenovo. NBC's
sales target is $900 million, and the network expects to reach most of that
total prior to the Feb. 10 Opening Ceremonies. A typical 30-second spot in
prime time on NBC's Olympic broadcasts costs about $700,000.

NBC Sports & Olympics Senior VP of Sales and Marketing
Peter Lazarus says the network will announce
additional deals in coming weeks, with new advertisers expected to include
movie studios. “Some of the money arrived late, but we are optimistic about
where we will finish,” he says. “Some people have seen a perceived
weakness, but this will be the most successful Olympics [from a sales
standpoint] for NBC.”

The network expects to hold back about $20 million worth of ad
inventory, which is used for post-Opening Ceremonies sales and to have a
reserve for make-goods if necessary. That figure is similar to what was held
back—and subsequently sold—by NBC during the 2002 Games in Salt Lake

A first quarter in an Olympic year is extremely competitive in the ad
game: Besides the Olympics, buyers' event choices include the Super Bowl,
Daytona 500, Academy Awards and NCAA basketball tournament.

Visa, a Super Bowl buyer for the past
10 years and a 20-year Olympic sponsor, is back with the Olympics this year but
undecided on the Super Bowl. The rate for a 30-second spot on
ABC's Super Bowl broadcast this year is
reportedly nearly $2.5 million.

“There are so many choices in the month of February,” says Visa
spokesperson Michael Rolnick, “that
companies need to step back and really take a sophisticated look at how they
want to do their media planning.”

Sales Blitz Looms For 'Housewives,' 'Lost,'

Following the lead of Desperate Housewives, Buena Vista Television (BVT) is pulling a tease of its
own to woo potential off-network cable buyers for its three biggest series to
be sold in syndication.

It has recently approached female-skewing cable networks with deep
pockets—including Lifetime (50% owned by
Disney) and Turner—with light, pre-sales presentations for
Touchstone Television's
Housewives, Lost and

A potential buyer calls the “tire-kicking” sessions, which have
been void of formal pitch or price, a way for BVT to ignite a bidding war for
the sophomore trio of hits, which are still attracting monster ratings on ABC.

Grey's, which premiered last
spring, is possibly the most valuable of the three to BVT, with a larger number
of closed-ended episodes, which traditionally perform better in syndication,
than its more serialized Housewives and
Lost companions.

ABC left the Sunday-night sex-and-surgery drama out of its iTunes deal
with Apple. By offering one less distribution
window, Disney could be hoping to enhance the syndication value of a
potentially lucrative series. On Feb.14, the abbreviated first season of
Grey's will be released on DVD.

An all-out syndication sales blitz is expected to begin soon, with
Housewives and Lost hitting stations as early as fall 2008 and
Grey's coming the following year.
Cable-network windows traditionally come much earlier for dramas, with some
networks willing to pay a premium in exchange for greater exclusivity.
Male-skewing crime dramas have been fetching $1 million-$2 million per episode
(and a record $2.5 million for The
).—Jim Benson

DirecTV Settles $10 Million In Complaints

DirecTV has agreed to pay $5.335
million to settle a do-not-call list–violation complaint lodged by the
Justice Department for the
Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC says it is the largest civil penalty ever obtained in a
consumer-protection case.

It also came a day after DirecTV agreed to pay $5 million to New York
and 21 other states, plus more in restitution to consumers, to settle
complaints against its marketing practices.

DirecTV denied any violations of the telemarketing rules but paid the
money and agreed not to repeat the unwanted calls.

“Telemarketers calling on behalf of DirecTV contacted consumers on
the National DNC Registry. In addition, the complaint alleges that one of the
telemarketers—Global Satellite, directly or
through another entity—abandoned calls to consumers by failing to put a live
sales representative on the line within two seconds after the called consumer
completes his or her greeting, as required under the law.

“Finally, the complaint alleged that DirecTV provided substantial
assistance and support to Global Satellite, even though it knew, or consciously
avoided knowing, that Global Satellite was violating the TSR.”

DirecTV, which is owned by News
, has agreed not to violate the rules and to fire anyone who
makes cold calls without express permission. DirecTV was not making the calls
itself but hiring outside marketers to sell its satellite-TV service.

In addition, DirecTV agreed to set up a complaint department, record
the complaints and make the records available to the FTC, as well as to take a
number of other affirmative steps to screen its marketing contractors.
—John Eggerton

CBS, HBO Ring Up Content Deals

CBS has struck another mobile-phone
content deal, this time targeting a more youthful demo and a brand-new company
that will get content from CBS and younger-skewing sibling

Like its first such deal last week with Verizon, CBS will make available to start-up
Amp'd Mobile behind-the-scenes footage,
interviews, previews and other footage from prime time and late-night shows,
including exclusive rights to such content from UPN's biggest hit,
America's Next Top

CBS content will include CSI: NY, Numb3rs, The King of Queens and
Late Night With David
, while UPN content will also come from
Everybody Hates
and Girlfriends.

The content will be available later this month, when Amp'd launches
its service, which it describes as combining voice and text with channels of
video content, all targeted to “youth, young professionals and early
adopters.” Amp'd is partly owned by Vivendi

Elsewhere, HBO will feed clips from
its series, specials and sports programming as part of a new on-demand
streaming-video service to be launched early next year by Cingular Wireless for high-speed phones.

HBO will also produce exclusive mobile content for the service from
Cingular, the only wireless provider HBO says it is teaming with.
—J.E./Anne Becker

Telemundo News Chief Exiting

Telemundo's network news chief will
leave the company at the end of the year.

Joe Peyronnin, executive VP of news
and information, has been with the company for six years. Under his watch,
Telemundo News created successful news
programs such as Al Rojo
. He also managed international news operations and
directed Telemundo's 113 hours of commercial-free 9/11 coverage.

In a note to staffers, Peyronnin said that, after commuting between
New York and the network's Miami headquarters, he wants to rejoin his family
in New York full-time. In a separate message, CEO Don
hailed Peyronnin's contributions to the network, saying he
“was an integral part in making Telemundo News into a top-notch journalistic
team.” —Allison Romano

NBC U Scorecard

NBC Universal reshuffled the executive ranks inside the television
group last week, and Jeff Zucker, formerly president of NBC Universal
Television Group, came out on top. He is now CEO of NBC Universal TV. Randy
Falco, who was president of NBC Universal Television Networks Group, is
promoted to president/COO, and former NBC publicity chief and GE marketing exec
Beth Comstock is returning to head digital media and marketing. At the same
time, NBC Universal Chairman Bob Wright is paring down his roster of direct
reports. Here is a glimpse of the new-look NBC Universal TV:

Bob Wright, NBC U chairman/General Electrics
vice chairman

Jeff Zucker, CEO, NBC U Television (reporting
to Wright)

Randy Falco, president/COO, NBC U Television
(reporting to Zucker)

Beth Comstock, President, NBC U Digital Media
and Market Development (reporting to Wright)

Reporting to Zucker:

Angela Bromstad, president, NBC U Television

Steve Capus, president, NBC News

Dick Ebersol, chairman, NBC U Sports and

Jeff Gaspin, president, NBC U Cable
Entertainment and Digital Content

Mark Graboff, executive VP, NBC U Television

Mark Hoffman, president, CNBC

Rebecca Marks, executive VP, NBC
Entertainment and NBC U Cable PR

Kevin Reilly, president, NBC

Reporting to Falco:

Don Browne, president, Telemundo Network

Bruce Campbell, executive VP, NBC U Business

John Damiano, senior VP, Affiliate

John DeWald, VP, Network Operations

John Eck, president/CIO, NBC U Media

Frederick Huntsberry, president, TV
Distribution and International Operations

Jay Ireland, president, NBC and Telemundo

Ed Swindler, executive VP, Pricing

Keith Turner, president, Sales and

David Zaslav, president, NBC U Cable

Reporting to Comstock:

John Miller, chief marketing officer,
Television Group and President, NBC Agency

Anna Perez, executive VP, Communications

Deborah Reif, president, Digital Media

Alan Wurtzel, president, TV Research and
Media Development