Reaching for the stars
Yeah, talk about reach: Viacom's MTV Networks went all out last week to create regime change on TV. Launching a pre-emptive strike at broadcast networks, the cabler threw the Mother of All Upfront sales presentations with a star-studded cast that made the annual NBC pitch-typically the most glamorous and expensive upfront-look like amateur hour. Highlights: Kid Rock performed a mini-concert amidst a blaze of booming pyrotechnics and profanities, with Viacom chief Mel Karmazin in the audience applauding wildly; Kid's girl Pam Anderson made her entrance dragging a compliant Joe Uva, CEO of Omincom's OMD, in handcuffs (the captive client); Jerry Mathers (the Beaver) and Barbara Feldon (Agent 99) were channeled back from cable pre-history to share the stage-in the flesh-with a host of other relics; and finally, Ozzy Osbourne, shuffling across the stage led by his daughter, appeared absolutely abstemious alongside Farrah Fawcett who was dazed and confused, misreading the teleprompters (the word "embodies" became "nobodies," describing a top MTV exec) and traipsed absentmindedly off stage instead of lining up with the other stars to take a bow.
It was a hard act to follow, but at Ad Age's annual Upfront Summit two days later, David Verklin, CEO of Aegis Group's Carat (also spied at the MTV after-party), once again predicted-as he does almost every year-the demise of the upfronts, this time calling them "goofy." But this year, on the heels of MTV's Mother of All Upfronts, reports of the upfront's demise-as Farrah might have put it, mangling Mark Twain-are immature.
McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-feeder, is not only under fire for making people fat, it's fending off a job-discrimination lawsuit by a 420-pound man.
A U.S. District Court recently dismissed the chain's motion to drop a case brought by Joseph Connor, who alleged a local Mickey D's reneged on a job offer as a burger slinger because of his size 54 pants.
"The allegations described in his lawsuit are completely false and without merit," says McDonald's in a statement.
Gary Phelan, Mr. Connor's lawyer, observes that great chefs are often heavy. "That will be a theme in this case. The only question is how he cooks, not how he looks."
Contributing: Kate MacArthur Send your kind remarks to firstname.lastname@example.org