[opendtv] The "Mice" Roared

  • From: "John Willkie" <johnwillkie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2006 13:34:46 -0800

There seems to be the prevailing view among commenters on this list that the
broadcast networks tell the local stations and cable networks affiliated
with them without any recourse.


In that light, I think that we had an obvious counterpoint in the last week,
involving a "book" allegedly written by the illiterate murderer O.J.
Simpson.  It was "to be" published by Reagan Books, an imprint run by
low-brow Judith Reagan (Rush Limbaugh's books, Howard Sterns' "Private
Parts", the Bernard Kerik book [with whom she was having an affair]) and a
two-part four-hour television show that was to be aired on Monday and
Wednesday next week, tied in to the Nov. 30 release date of the book.


Talk about synergy!


Instead of the book being issued and the show aired, the civilized world
fought back.


On the Fox News Channel, a man that many consider [wrongly] to be a lapdog
of News Corp [corporate parent of the Fox News Channel] was so aghast that
he promised to lead a public boycott of any advertiser that deigned to
present their spots on the Simpson "special."  Talk about synergy!  He even
said that the Fox Broadcast Network was not associated with the Fox News
Channel.  Talk about synergy!


Then, over the weekend, a small broadcast firm with a mere two Fox stations
announced that they had determined that airing the Simpson special wasn't in
the public interest.  That was followed by Pappas Telecasting and other
affiliates.  The largest Fox affiliate group [other than stations owned by
News Corp.] indicated that they were reviewing whether to air the "special,"
and it seemed like they would chose not to air the show.


On the advertiser side, buyers were actually calling up Fox, according to TV
Newsday, to say that none of their clients would even consider airing their
spots on the special.


According to published reports, News Corporation offered to remit all
profits (it should have been all proceeds) from the "book" to the families
of Orenthal James Simson's dead victims (his kids are living victims).  Talk
about synergy!


Finally, earlier this week, probably to head off a negative announcement
from Sinclair [and, I suspect, more than one Fox owned and operated
station], News Corporation, through Rupert Murdoch and several other
executives, announced that they will scrap the book and the special.  This,
despite the fact that advance sales powered the rise of the book on Amazon's
list of book sales.


They had printed 400,000 copies of the book, and paid "others", although the
murderer said he ended up spending the advance "blood money" (it wouldn't
have been blood money if he were innocent, a point apparently too subtle for
Simpson to understand as an admission) that amounted to somewhere between
$800,000 and $3.5 million.  Assuming that it costs $5 to print such a book,
News Corp committed at least $3 million to this project, without even
considering the cost of the "special."


I wonder how the "search for the real killers" is going?  Does he spot
"them" when he's shaving?


This show would have been highly watched, but thinly advertised.  Fox
stations have had a rough season, with not a single new show of theirs being
in the top 50 nationally.  Just think of the synergy!  Despite that, Fox
affiliates led the charge against the crap.  


In spite of my professed "IP hawk" status, the next step should be for
someone with a copy of the book to scan the text and make it freely
available on the Internet, to remove any commercial possibility from this
project.  Simpson's very savyy able attorney, Yale Galanter, wouldn't even
dare to take such an infringement case to court, since he would lose, and
possibly have to pay the other side's court costs.  (I must remind that
Florida, California and New York forbid a criminal from profiting directly
or indirectly from his or her crime through the publication of a book,
screenplay or story.)  Under the legal standard that prevails in civil
trials, Simpson killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.


Makes one think that synergy is more of a negative force than a positive


John Willkie  


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