CBS will give news a makeover
Viacom Co-President and CBS Chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves' declaration last week that he's looking to shake up the format of the evening news when Dan Rather exits in March created quite the stir at the TV Critics tour in Los Angeles. While he declined to say who will be the new face of CBS news, he did say "it might not be that voice of God, that single anchor that's always existed" and emphasized that "we'll be trying to make it fresher and younger without alienating the older viewers." Options being considered include an "ensemble" anchor team, more akin to morning shows, or anchors in various cities. "We're in third place, we can take risks. We have a great opportunity to perhaps be on the cutting edge," he acknowledged. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq25z
Ketchum changes stand on pundit fee
Following industry-wide criticism for paying a pundit's ad agency $240,000 to publicly support the Bush administration's education agenda, the PR agency Ketchum said last week it would put in place a new policy regarding a contracts with spokespeople. The announcement, which did not outline the policy, marks a softening in the Omnicom Group-owned agency's stance that the burden for disclosing the financial relationship was on the pundit, Armstrong Williams. Numerous PR-industry executives have said that Ketchum erred in a striking a contractual arrangement with a journalist. "We should have recognized the potential issues in working with a communications firm operated by a commentator," the statement said. "It is clear we should have encouraged greater disclosure."
Electronic Arts inks deal with ESPN
Game giant Electronic Arts last week locked up exclusive rights to produce ESPN's sports-oriented video games for the next 15 years. EA gets integrated marketing opportunities within ESPN's TV programming and other properties, which include ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com. The deal was reported as being worth between $750 million and $850 million. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq25L
Burnett seeks next creative chief
The search that Leo Burnett USA in Chicago kicked off last week for a successor to top creative executive Cheryl Berman is a chance for a storied agency to identify the next generation of creative leadership. The Publicis Groupe agency plans to conduct a six- to 12-month search to replace Ms. Berman, who is U.S. chief creative officer. The search comes six months after Tom Bernardin, CEO of Leo Burnett USA and president of Leo Burnett Worldwide, reorganized the creative department to give more autonomy to lieutenants under Ms. Berman and Mark Tutssel, vice chairman and regional creative director of Leo Burnett North America. Ms. Berman will continue as chief creative while she and newly appointed Leo Burnett USA President Rich Stoddart identify her successor. AdAge.com QwikFIND aaq25o
America Online's MovieFone.com is making available celebrity photos from the Sundance Film Festival, which can be sent as e-postcards. MovieFone donates money to the tsunami relief effort each time an e-postcard goes out. ... PRN Corp., operator of the PRN Network at Wal-Mart and other retailers nationwide, named David Verklin, CEO of Carat Americas, to its board of directors.