Disney/ABC Cable Networks President Geraldine Laybourne resigned her post to form a new company. She said the new company will "develop online content and commerce sites that will be tied to complementary cable and network TV programming." Ms. Laybourne, 51, is credited with building Nickelodeon into a powerhouse in the children's TV programming arena.
Dr Pepper/Seven Up shifts to Media Edge
Dr Pepper/Seven Up has consolidated its $125 media account with Media Edge, New York, moving $20 million to $25 million in billings from TN Media, Chicago. The company moved domestic media planning and buying for its Schweppes, Canada Dry, A&W Root Beer and Sunkist Orange brands to the shop.
RJR injunction hearing delayed in Arizona
A hearing into the state of Arizona's request for a preliminary injunction barring R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from running its "No bull" campaign for Winston cigarettes has been delayed until June 29. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Roger Kaufman set the new hearing date at the request of the state. Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods is contending in the suit that ads suggesting Winston is pure tobacco are misleading.
WPP discussing two acquisitions
WPP Group, London, is reportedly in talks to acquire two specialized communications companies -- Food Group, a New York-based foodservice marketing specialist, and Conway/Milliken Associates, a Chicago-based marketing research company. WPP has been concentrating on specialist communications, including three recent purchases of high-tech operations this year.
Sony plans challenge to GameBoy system
Sony Computer Entertainment America said it will develop a rival to Nintendo of America's Game Boy hand-held videogame platform. Sony's entry, a miniature gaming and information unit with the code name Personal Digital Assistant, integrates the technology of Sony's PlayStation game console and a handheld unit. The unit will be released in Japan in the fourth quarter and arrives in North America next spring. It will retail for $30.
Miller Freeman to launch new tech magazine
Miller Freeman in September will launch Intelligent Enterprise, a technology publication that will replace two other Miller Freeman titles, DBMS and Database Programming & Design. David M. Kalman, publisher of DBMS, will be publisher.
TV star, ad presenter Phil Hartman found dead
Phil Hartman, 49, the actor and comedian who rose to fame on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" and starred in the network's "NewsRadio," was found shot to death in his Encino, Calif., home last week. In addition to his movie and TV acting, Mr. Hartman appeared in or lent his voice to a variety of TV and radio commercials, including spots for McDonald's Corp. and MCI's Communications Corp.'s 1-800-COLLECT. Most recently, Mr. Hartman voiced the character of Blasto in a new videogame from Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation console.
Water Pik, Rubbermaid form alliance
Teledyne Water Pik and Rubbermaid Home Products formed a strategic alliance for the marketing of the Rubbermaid water filtration pitcher systems. Water Pik will make water filtration cartridges for the Rubbermaid products, and both the Rubbermaid and Water Pik names will be featured in product marketing. "We foresee many synergistic benefits working together on other products that are under development at both companies in the high-growth water filtration category," said Wayne Brothers, president of Water Pik.
Oldsmobile starts `X-Files' promo
General Motors Corp.'s Oldsmobile division broke a 30-second spot on national TV last week for a monthlong promotion rewarding those who test-drive an Intrigue sedan with two free tickets to see Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.'s "The X-Files: Fight the Future." The vehicle is used in the movie, opening June 19. Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, handles. Frankel & Co., Southfield, Mich., prepared a test-drive mailing that will be sent to 1.5 million prospects today. Brand Manager Ken Stewart said one out of every two people who test drive Intrigue buy the car.
Fraser/Young partners are splitting shop
The partners of Fraser/Young, Santa Monica, Calif., are splitting the agency, which had billings of $26 million last year. President Renee Fraser is forming Fraser & Huff with Fraser/Young Senior VP Agnes Huff. CEO Bart Young is forming Young Co., focusing on business-to-business.