The Week

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Live from tomorrow," the live variety/news/entertainment show aiming to be the first prime-time broadcast network show without commercials, is nearing a deal with AOL Time Warner's WB, according to executives. Two marketing partners, PespiCo's Pepsi-Cola and Visa USA, have also inked deals for the show, according to advertising executives. Instead of traditional ads, each hour-long episode will work advertisers' products or services into variety/news segments, both live and taped, and will skew toward a young demographic. The title of the show is likely to change, according to one executive. Diplomatic, the TV production company run by Michael Davies, who was the creator of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" on Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, is producing the effort, which is scheduled to run next summer. Neither WB nor Diplomatic executives would comment. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao33a

AOL TW plans $10 bil write-down

As it indicated last October, AOL Time Warner will take a multibillion-dollar goodwill write-down on its ailing America Online asset, which is expected to be announced when it discloses its full-year results Jan. 29. The charge, expected to be at least $10 billion, comes on top of the $54 billion write-down the company took on Time Warner assets last year. The adjustments in asset valuation will have no effect on the company's operating income. Separately, Chief Financial Officer Wayne Pace told investors Jan. 9 the company was looking to spin off its cable assets via an initial public offering in the second quarter of `03. America Online also named Charles Schwab & Co. Exec VP Leonard Short to the new post of exec VP-brand marketing. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao33L

Ion effort focuses on stages of life

Saturn motor corp. hopes to lure Gen Y car buyers with its campaign backing the launch of its Ion line. The campaign features four friends traveling in an Ion through towns representing different stages of life, from childhood to marriage. The ads were created by Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco. The first spot, "Childhood," shows a town populated by children. High-school spot "Prom Night" and 20-something "Wedding" will follow later this season. A spot called "College" backs the Ion quad coupe, which is set for a spring launch. The Ion replaces Saturn's S-series of vehicles, long the staple of the General Motors Corp. subsidiary. The campaign also includes sponsorship of a Goo Goo Dolls concert tour and of CBS's hit show "Survivor: The Amazon," as well as MTV's "Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes." Both TV units are under Viacom. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao33g

Gateway nabs Sony executive

Gateway appointed two marketing executives as the ailing PC maker looks to reverse its fortunes. T. Scott Edwards, consumer segment marketing officer for Sony Electronics, was named exec VP-consumer business for Gateway. Gateway also named David Turner, senior VP-sales and marketing, business-to-business, moving him from a role in which he oversaw both consumer and b-to-b. Mr. Edwards had led Sony's brand and marketing efforts, including a drive to market by consumer segments, since 1998. Prior to Sony, he worked for Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, managing blue-chip accounts such as Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing Co. He begins work later this month and will report to Gateway Chairman-CEO Ted Waitt. Mr. Edwards' replacement at Sony will likely be named in a few weeks. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao32v

ConAgra searches for marketing chief

Conagra foods is reorganizing its corporate-marketing structure to include a new chief marketing officer as well as senior VP-marketing positions for its Retail, Foodservice and Ingredients divisions. The search, being handled by Wiser Partners, Cincinnati, comes as part of the nearly $30 billion food company evolves from an agricultural company to a branded food marketer. "The company has gotten very serious about operations, distribution and other functions [in its turnaround plans], but now it needs to take marketing to the next level," said Tim McMahon, who until recently held the position of Con Agra's VP-marketing and communications. He will continue to act as a consultant to the company through his own firm, McMahon Marketing. Sergio Zyman, former global chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola Co. and founder of consulting firm Zyman Marketing Group, has worked with ConAgra to lead the reorganization and the relaunch of some of ConAgra's core brands. The new CMO will be the first marketing executive to oversee marketing functions company-wide. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao33m

FYI...

Anne bologna, 46, on Feb. 1 will take over as president of Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, New York, after Alison Burns, 39, said she was resigning to start a consultancy. The planning department will now report to Rob White, president of the Minneapolis office. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao32k ... The Presidential Commission on the U.S. Postal Service met last week for the first time, and Postmaster General John Potter told the commissioners the USPS must be able adjust to the American public's changing needs, and he looks to them to help define what those needs are. Mr. Potter cautioned that economic recession, bioterrorism and electronic diversion, all threats to its long-term viability, have had a negative impact on mail volume . ... Kashi's GoLean cereal line launched a print and TV campaign featuring a man in a red jumpsuit asking people to give up their scales. Print will break in February issues. The campaign is the first from new agency Amazon Advertising, San Francisco, 35% owned by Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett. AdAge.com QwikFIND aao33n

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