Martha Stewart suspends TV show
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will suspend production of its flagship syndicated TV show, "Martha Stewart Living," following this season. The move will result in a restructuring charge of up to $2 million in the second quarter. About 40 jobs will be cut from the TV division. Ratings and reach of the show, syndicated by King World Productions, have been severely affected by Martha Stewart's own legal woes, with affiliates shifting it to late-night slots or dropping it entirely. In the first quarter of this year, TV revenues were off 39.4% compared to the previous year, and the unit posted an operating loss of $1.9 million. A spokeswoman said MSLO is "actively pursuing" new opportunities for some programming based around the flagship show's Everyday Food segments. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap64u
P&G elevates two to vice chairmen
Procter & Gamble Co. elevated to new vice chairman positions two key senior executives below Chairman-CEO A.G. Lafley: Susan Arnold and Robert McDonald. The two, both 50, are seen as candidates by those inside and outside the company to ultimately become CEO. Existing vice chairmen Kerry Clark, 52, and Bruce Byrnes, 56, assume new duties. Mr. Clark, who has headed the global market development and business services organizations that Mr. McDonald will take over, becomes president for global health, baby and family care. Mr. Byrnes moves from overseeing health and beauty care to overseeing household care. Ms. Arnold, now president for global personal beauty and feminine care, becomes vice chairwoman for global beauty care, adding hair care to her oversight. Mr. McDonald's duties will include overseeing media planning and buying as well as local and retail marketing initiatives and sales teams. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap64y
NBC shoots and scores with NHL
General Electric Co.'s NBC, which said it wouldn't get back in the business of televising big-time sports unless the circumstances were right, found the right circumstance last week. The network cut a unique two-year deal to carry the National Hockey League beginning with the 2004-05 season in October. Instead of paying upfront rights fees, NBC and the NHL will split advertising revenue after production expenses are determined. In the last six years, NBC has given up the National Football League, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, citing escalating rights fees as one of the reasons. NBC takes over as the NHL's national broadcast partner from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC. Disney's cable sports giant, ESPN, is expected to remain as the NHL's cable home. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap64w
North Carolina Democratic Sen. John Edwards, who remains on the short list of vice-presidential candidates for Sen. John Kerry, reintroduced legislation that would limit direct-to-consumer drug ads. The legislation requires the ads contain "clear and balanced information" about a drug's side effects along with its benefits ... Sens. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., proposed a $90 million five-year program to study the effects of heavy media exposure on kids.