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Production costs ease for TV spots: Four A's

After hefty cost hikes in 1999, the average cost to produce national TV ads in 2000 declined 3% to $332,000 for 30-second spots and 1% to $306,000 for commercials regardless of length, the American Association of Adver-tising Agencies said. It was only the third such drop in the 14-year history of the Four A's annual Television Production Cost Survey. Directors' fees per 30-second commercial dropped 5% to $21,000 in 2000.

RJR gets `Natural' brand after duel with Rothmans

Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. agreed to be acquired by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings for $340 million in cash, which beat a rival bid by Toronto-based Roth-mans. Santa Fe markets additive-free, premium-priced Natural American Spirit cigarettes and holds less than a 1% share of the U.S. market. It will operate as an independent RJR subsidiary.

Courtier, de Nardis to lead combined Mediaedge:CIA

WPP Group said Mediaedge:CIA is the name of the new $17 billion agency formed by the merger of WPP's Media Edge and Tempus Group's CIA. Charles Courtier and Mainardo de Nardis, currently global CEOs of Media Edge and CIA, respectively, will head the group. Mr. Courtier is executive chairman and Mr. de Nardis CEO. They report to Beth Gordon, former Media Edge chairman and now chairman of an as-yet-unnamed WPP unit overseeing Mediaedge:CIA and WPP's MindShare.

Leagas Delaney says chairman is leaving

Leagas Delaney, London, said Chairman Bruce Haines is leaving. The departure comes as Leagas, international shop for Adidas, re-pitches that client with Omni-com Group's DDB Worldwide. No successor was named.


WPP Group, as expected, acquired Berlin Cameron & Partners, New York, and named its chairman, Andy Berlin, co-chief executive-chief creative officer of Red Cell, WPP's fourth global network. Terms were not disclosed. The acquisition was first reported Nov. 30 on Berlin Cameron co-founder Ewen Cameron will be responsible for Red Cell operations in the U.S. ... Interpublic's Initiative Media and DraftWorldwide are creating ID Media, a direct-response media services company that merges IM2, the direct-response media unit of Initiative, with Draft-Worldwide. ... A&E Television Networks Exec VP-Sales and Marketing Ronald Schneier said he is leaving March 31. Exec VP Whitney Goit will assume Mr. Schneier's responsibilities. ... Rodale consolidated its Men's Health and Sports & Fitness units. Men's Health Group Senior VP-Managing Director Ed Fones and Men's Health Publisher Paul Turcotte left. Tom Beusse becomes senior VP-managing director of a new Men's Health & Sports Group, from the same title at the Sports & Fitness Group, and assumes Mr. Fones' responsibilities. Mary Ann Bekkedahl was named U.S. publisher of Men's Health, succeeding Mr. Turcotte, from international ad director. ... WPP Group-backed Luminant Worldwide Corp., Dallas, filed for bankruptcy reorganization and agreed to sell its core assets to Lante Corp., Chicago, for about $3 million. ... Court TV Exec VP-Advertising Sales Gig Barton has left. He is succeeded by Charlie Collier, formerly senior VP-sponsorship sales, Oxygen Media.

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