The Week: Watchdog sues KFC over trans fat

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After an impressive sales recovery that began with returning to its deep-fried roots, Kentucky Fried Chicken last week was slapped with a lawsuit for having a menu soaked in trans fats.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest and class-action attorneys Heideman Nudelman & Kalik filed suit the Superior Court of the District of Columbia claiming that it's "harder to avoid trans fat at KFC than at any other fast-food chain in America." The groups are asking the court to either bar KFC from using partially hydrogenated oil or at least post signs in KFC outlets notifying customers that many of its foods are "startlingly" high in trans fat.

"This is a frivolous lawsuit completely without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend our position," a spokeswoman for Yum Brands' KFC said in a statement.

Tribune Co. fending off calls for its breakup

tribune co. officially became the latest big media company facing calls for a breakup when its second-largest shareholder, the Chandler family, publicly called for splitting the company's newspaper and television businesses. The 2000 merger between Times Mirror Co. and Tribune was supposed to produce above-average performance, the family said in a letter to the board of directors. "This strategy has failed," they wrote. The family also said Tribune, which owns papers including The Los Angeles Times and 26 TV stations, should explore other strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company as a whole. Big shareholders in Knight Ridder forced that company to the block last year; the McClatchy Company won the bidding and immediately set about re-selling Knight Ridder newspapers that it didn't want.

Ford taps 'Idol' winner for year-end sale effort

"american idol" winner Taylor Hicks sings and dances in a promotion for Ford Motor Co.'s 2006 model-year clearance sale for Ford Division that broke last week. Ford said the promo, dubbed "Drive on Us," is available in most major markets through July 31. It offers zero-percent financing plus free gas up to $1,000 for buyers through July 31, or buyers can take cash back ranging from $1,000 to $4,000.

Ford, a major "American Idol" sponsor, is advertising the deal nationally in USA Today and major newsweeklies. A 60-second and 30-second TV and radio will also support the effort from WPP Group's JWT, Detroit. Mr. Hicks sings and hoofs to a new song, "Possibilities."

American Media puts five titles on the block

american media put five magazines up for sale-Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Country Weekly and Mira-as it announced a new focus on its celebrity-weekly and "active lifestyle" magazines. The move follows the decision in April to close three magazines, Celebrity Living Weekly, Shape en Espanol and car mag MPH. Bondholders have been pressuring the company, which harbors ambitions of going public, to straighten out and strengthen its balance sheet. After American Media didn't file its third-quarter results due to an ongoing audit, they forced the company into a March 17 deal with incentives to lower its leverage.

Smith Barney selects Hill Holliday for creative biz

smith barney, the global brokerage, investment-banking and asset-management firm, has awarded creative duties to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulous, New York, according to executives at Smith Barney and Hill Holiday. Spending was not disclosed. Other contenders included Publicis Groupe's Fallon, Minneapolis, and Interpublic's McCann Erickson, New York. Omnicom Group's Merkley & Partners had the account since June 2003. In 2005, Smith Barney, which is part of Citigroup Global Markets, spent $18.2 million in media, according to TNS Media Intelligence. battles scourge of 'Bachelorism'

pizza-box furniture, cereal dinners, sporadic high-fiving-all are symptoms of "bachelorism," a pretend illness that is tackling in a new awareness campaign. To get the word out, an ad in People magazine's annual bachelor issue asks readers to "Join the fight against bachelorism," while teams of anti-bachelorism "activists" hit city streets this week with free T-shirts, orange awareness bracelets and pamphlets driving consumers to the campaign's microsite, By Match estimate, there are presently 41 million bachelors living in the U.S.
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