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International Data Group won't be on the floor next fall at the nation's biggest tech trade show-a floor that happens to be owned by rival Softbank. IDG in the past bartered space in magazines for space on the floor at Comdex/Fall. But when Softbank asked for hard currency-about $230,000-the publisher opted out. "We don't know why Softbank chose to" drop the barter deal, says IDG Sr. VP Chris McAndrews. But he says IDG is "eager to work with Softbank on other opportunities." IDG still will have a big presence at the show in a hospitality room for advertisers. And IDG and Softbank are partners on February's new Comdex China. Softbank since early '95 bought Comdex and IDG rival Ziff-Davis, but Comdex VP-Mktg. Peter Shaw insists the show treats all media companies the same.

Mazda won't hide

from gay `Ellen'

Amid the hype over whether Ellen DeGeneres' character on "Ellen" would come out, Mazda shop FCB told Ad Age it wouldn't advertise on any "lesbian episode" of the sitcom. But Mazda VP Jay Amestoy says FCB "misspoke" in flatly ruling it out. "It was just clearly a misunderstanding on the part of our media buyer at the agency," says Amestoy, noting Mazda has bought time on other shows that have included gay characters. Mazda isn't buying much fourth-quarter network, but it

might have a chance yet to leap into controversy: ABC has moved "Ellen" to 9:30 p.m. (ET) Wednesdays amid buzz that coming out may come soon.

George & Michael

& bad boy Dick

At Newsweek's newsmaker of the year awards gig, outgoing Clinton adviser George Stephanopoulos appeared on the same stage as Michael J. Fox, the conniving adviser in "The American President." So much for the rumor they're really the same guy. Disgraced Clinton adviser Dick Morris, also

in attendance, claimed ad techniques of non-political TV advertisers "are 15 years behind politics."

Frank gets

`A' in history

Speaking at AWNY's Ad Women of the Year lunch, Partnership for a Drug-Free America Chair Jim Burke cited a former president's quote about advertising's role in "raising the standards of modern civilization." Who said that? he asked. Silence

. . . except we heard one exec mutter, "FDR." Correct! The well-schooled colleague? WRG chief Frank Assumma.

Power car . . .

Geo . . . Oracle

Imports trounce domestics in J.D. Power ratings. So what's the boss drive? Dave Power is trading in his Lincoln on a Chevy-a fast but understated Impala SS sports sedan. . . . Will Chevy's import-alternative Geo disappear? "I'm not prepared to talk about that," snapped GM marketing czar Ron Zarrella in response. An analyst speculates Geo will be replaced by Chevy. . . . Oracle mktg. exec Kelly Delany has exited. Other Oracle execs didn't respond to questions about the "mystery review" Adages hears is under way.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Jean Halliday, Keith J. Kelly, Carol Krol and Michael Wilke.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or e-mail, [email protected]

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