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NBC is banking that its lead among 18- to 49-year-olds will allow it to perform well in the scatter market after the Olympics. The net is offering advertisers the chance to shift into the Olympics in exchange for giving up time purchased in March. Also, watch for a lopsided Super Bowl to help NBC with the male 18-80 demographic as it counter-programs with "Fear Factor" featuring Playboy Playmates. At halftime, the net will immediately switch to a 20-minute version where six Playmates try to cross between 12-story buildings on a tightrope (an insider says all six make it). After the game, they swim in icy water.

Short of Reese's Pieces IN "ET," has a marketer had a better product placement arrangement than ChapStick's in the new Sony film "The Mothman Prophecies?" Not only does Richard Gere's character hold the lip balm on screen, but the climax of the TV ads feature a full-screen shot of a Cherry ChapStick tube.The script called for a generic brand but the director wanted something more realistic. ChapStick marketer American Home gave Sony the go-ahead at no cost, but had no idea it would get so much advertising time gratis.

CNN continues to wonder how entertaining its news should be (Ted Turner be damned). The 24-hour news channel hired award-winner Connie Chung away from ABC, and also adds Anderson Cooper, late of the ABC reality show "The Mole," and MTV's Serena Altschul . Chung earned praise for grilling tabloid fascination Gary Condit.

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