Buy this woman a Miller
The demise of Miller Brewing's top three execs drew an immediate response from one Myrna Rae. "Bravo! Bravo! Oh, how wonderful!" says Rae. It seems Rae has been laboring five years to get a Miller licensing project out the door. Rae, prez of International Specialty Publishing & Distribution in San Antonio, snared a deal to do a cookbook-"Beer, Beans, Barbecue & Chili"-featuring recipes involving Miller beer. Then she shifted the book to a one-shot magazine with Miller on the cover and ads from non-beer sponsors. Miller seemed fine with the change, but has dragged its feet for more than a year on signing a contract amendment needed to proceed, Rae says. Rae has been in the licensing game for decades, doing deals with Nestle, Paramount, Universal Studios and others, and says she's never seen a place as dysfunctional as Miller. "Total discoordination, total disaster," says Rae. A 14-page letter to Miller's now ex-prez, John MacDonough, went unanswered, she says. Rae says she began making some headway with a Miller attorney last week, but is frustrated. "I've been screwed into the ground on this," she says. "I've lost millions of dollars." A Miller spokesman said the company is looking into Rae's licensing agreement, adding: "Miller is making a sincere effort to resolve any outstanding issues."
'Playboy,' Weider execs exit
Henry Marks, longtime Playboy executive whose most recent stint at Hugh Hefner's empire was running the international division, has "retired," according to an internal memo that circulated late last month. He will continue to consult for Playboy, and industry scuttle says he may soon be working with Weider Publications. Weider Prez Michael Carr, 45, "retired" last week as well.
Jay goes digital . . . Amazon pitch
NBC's "Tonight Show" April 26 becomes the first network series to broadcast full time in HDTV. Good news for the dozens of people who have plunked down thousands of bucks for digital sets. The rest of us will have to watch Jay in analog. . . . Amazon.com is set to meet FCB/SF next week to hear its big pitch to save the biz.
Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Ann Marie Kerwin and Judann Pollack.
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