Mag Musical Heading for Great White Way?

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In the future, when the whole world is wired and print media exist only in museums, how will the magazine industry be remembered? If Paul Byrne has anything to do with it, the industry will be remembered musically. Byrne, the publisher of City & Regional title Okanagan Life ("the premier source of relevant and entertaining information about living in the Okanagan Valley in the beautiful interior of British Columbia"), has just previewed a musical called "Ink! The Musical," which "celebrates the influential people that have shaped our world with the power of the printed word." Ink is about a fictional publisher of Memphis Magazine, another City & Regional title. Says Byrne, "It's a culmination of a 10-year dream to see it on stage."

So why Memphis and not Okanagan?

According to Ken Neill, the real publisher-CEO of Memphis Magazine, "Paul came to Memphis for [a City & Regional] conference and fell in love with the place. ... One thing led to another and he began writing his musical. ... We know every song by heart. It's been like watching a child grow up."

The show previewed in Vancouver on Feb. 12 and opens there April 15. Byrne should really take this thing to New York. Judging by the ready audience for Gawker, Page Six and other gossip purveyors, New Yorkers would pay good money to see the dramatized workings of a magazine. Of course, Byrne would have to make some changes -- like getting rid of the family element and filling up his play with egocentric publishers, scheming editors (actually, he has one of those), sample-hoarding feature-writers, antisocial copy editors and anonymous assistants blogging about it all. The only thing better than "Conde Nast: The Musical" would be "Survivor: Conde Nast."

The Advertising Globetrotters?
New York basketball fans fed up with the abysmal performance of the Knicks this year might want to head down to Manhattan's Basketball City on March 10 for the finals of the TV Advertising Basketball League. Going into the 2005/2006 season, the league has 30 teams in New York and a separate eight-team division in Boston. Companies fielding teams include Carat, NBC, OMD, McCann Erickson, CBS, Horizon Media and others.

The top six teams so far are MTV, NBA-TV, Turner, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and NY Times Digital.

The quarterfinals are under way as we type this, and the semifinals will be held March 8.

Of course, Adages being Adages, we're always interested in scandal. Sadly, we had to settle for this note from Brett Ehrlich, league founder and director-new business development at SportsNet NY, on the league's Web site: "Over the past few weeks there have been a few incidents of poor sportsmanship (i.e., excessive "trash talking," hard/intentional fouls, etc.) within the league. While I have no doubt that these are isolated incidents, please remember that this league was founded upon the principles of sportsmanship. ..."

Ehrlich, by the way, is playing for former employer NBA-TV, and had this to say to Adages: "The NBA team has been focused all season on winning the championship, and with our combination of youth and experience we can't wait for a rematch with MTV."

Lest you think it's all pushing, shoving and yelling, John Keanna, CFO of Carat, brings us down to earth. "Hey, if I hold my own, don't get hurt, get a good sweat in and have a couple of beers afterwards, that's a pretty good night, win or lose."

But the players are out there for more than glory, sport and an opportunity to foul a business competitor. This year, the league will be donating money to the Tim Nesvig Fellowship. Nesvig, the son of Fox Broadcasting Sales President Jon Nesvig, was one of the first folks in during the inaugural season, signing up employer ESPN and former employer Carat. Nesvig, however, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and was unable to play. He died last February and the league decided to honor him by presenting the Tim Nesvig MVP award and making a donation to the fellowship. The award will be handed out after the finals March 10.

Her day in court
Back in July of 2004, Adages wrote about Ann Pomeranz, an Omnicom veteran who was sent packing on her 25th anniversary. At the time, she was a VP-group director at OMD and had previously filed a lawsuit against the company and three executives charging harassment, reverse discrimination, retaliation and discrimination because of health concerns (she'd taken time off to battle breast cancer). Why bring it up now? Because after almost two years, the case is finally scheduled to go to court today.

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Sing a sweet song to kwheaton@crain.com.

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