Adages: Next year's Super Bowl is not gonna have you naked

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Fox Television will broadcast the Super Bowl in 2005, and for many at the News Corp.-owned network, it should prove a moment of sweet redemption.

"This CBS fiasco really is making us look good," said an executive at Fox. "We used to be the guys blamed for the fall of Western civilization. Now it's someone else's turn to take the heat."

After the Janet Jackson bodice-ripping flap at this year's pigskin pageant, CBS is indeed breaking a big sweat. Next year, say Fox execs, expect a squeaky clean act, perhaps a parade of the net's American Idols, including the ultra wholesome duo, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. (They often hug each other, but never kiss on the lips.) What not to expect: an appearance by unpredictable Homer Simpson, who has been known to strip naked without warning.

The office of many sorrows

Is there a curse on one of advertising's most architecturally acclaimed spaces? McCann-Erickson, San Francisco, agency for Microsoft, may be about to find out. The agency is eyeing new office space at 600 Battery, a 1929 lithography plant in the heart of San Francisco's ad ghetto. It was remodeled during the dot-com boom by CEO Fred Goldberg as the headquarters for the then thriving Goldberg Moser O'Neill. The space was seen as one of the best designed for an agency with a creative focus.

But no sooner than the GMO name was silk screened onto the facade in 1999 than the agency shifted in the Interpublic fold from the Lowe Group into Hill Holliday, requiring a repainting to Hill Holliday/GMO. However, the Goldberg Moser O'Neill name "bled through," says Goldberg, now retired and working as a consultant. "My ghost is still there, haunting everyone," he said.

In the following two years, Hill Holliday lost a number of clients, including the key Cisco Systems account, and moved into a smaller nearby office. Last year the shop dwindled to a media buying presence with one client.

The next tenant Interpublic moved in was Foote Cone & Belding. But that agency too dwindled at 600 Battery. With the tight San Francisco ad market bearing down on them, FCB had a bit of good luck. It was close to nailing a five-year, $125 million California Lottery contract. But everyone knows how that turned out

Now, McCann-Erickson, with 300 employees and one of the strongest shops in the city, is looking at the space. Courtney Beuchert, exec VP-general manager, said he doesn't believe in ghosts or curses. But to be on the safe side, he said, "Just in case, you might want to kill a chicken in the lobby."

Stiff upper lip (among other things)

Fashion challenged straight guys aren't the only ones in need of a makeover. One British TV station is having problems producing a U.K. version of "Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. "

According to one British TV exec, the U.K. version, produced for the Living TV network, is "too campy," and the creators have been told to scrap all 20 completed episodes and go back to the drawing board to find a formula that's a little less reliant on puns and double entendres.

Living TV began airing the original version of Bravo's "Queer Eye" last November. The show is performing well for the station. While U.S. TV has a long track record of turning U.K. hits into U.S. flops, it appears that our friends across the ocean aren't faring much better. Though the Golden Globe nods to the BBC's hit comedy series "The Office" would indicate we share a common sense of humor, the "Queer Eye" flop shows that we're divided by our sense of reality.

Contributing: Claire Atkinson and Alice Cuneo Please no more virus emails to rlinnett@crain.com

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