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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Passing on the OJ

Wow! Now this doesn’t happen every day. A giant media conglomerate backs off on plans after a public outcry? I’m talking about Fox and News Corp. today canceling the O.J. Simpson "Why I Did It" TV specials -- and book too!
I mean, who wasn’t appalled when they heard about this last week? And in what I consider a stunning turn of events, News Corp. – which owns Fox Broadcasting and ReganBooks – today dropped both projects. They must have been feeling a lot of heat – from viewers, advertisers and affiliates. (What advertiser would want to sponsor "If I Did It?" I’m sure you’ll have some great suggestions.
Wire reports quote News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch as saying: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project." (As that other Simpson would say: "D'oh!")
Channel 19 here received more than 100 emails (in less than a week) protesting the planned two-part Simpson interviews next Monday and Wednesday (Nov. 27 & 29) to promote the book, which was to be released Nov. 30. General Mgr. John Long was on the phone with Raycom Media corporate execs part of the morning. I’m hearing that they were leaning toward not airing the show – but held off any announcement until Fox killed the Simpson show, making it moot.
Another point: If Fox and Ch 19 had aired OJ, we wouldn’t have seen the second part in prime-time on Weds Nov. 29 because of a UC basketball game. The station already had pushed Fox’s prime-time schedule into late-night for the UC game, so there was another reason to bag the first installment.
One more note: If Fox had aired OJ, most Time Warner cable subscribers would have seen it on Dayton’s Channel 45. The Dayton Fox affiliate had no reservations about showing it. As this controversy was brewing earlier today, I called Ch 45 and was told quickly that it definitely would air. No hesitation. (Ch 45 and Ch 22 are owned by Sinclair, which owns Ch 64 too).
These things just don’t happen often. Usually a network goes ahead with a bad idea, and apologizes later, like the air crash/"Lost" bit to open the Emmy awards the day of the Lexington plane crash in August. (You can list others.) Not often does a network bend and snap under pressure from advertisers and affiliates. (Like I said, who would sponsor it?) But to cancel the book too?
Oh, one last thing, and I credit this to my coworker, Lauren Bishop our pop culture writer. To be able to have thousands of books in stores next Thursday, after the TV special, they must already be printed. So how quickly will copies show up on e-Bay?
You’ll tell me that too, I’m sure.

Hello Mary Jo
Check out the blog of Mary Jo DiLonardo, former Cinci Post writer and WLW-AM staffer who’s now a senior contributing editor for Atlanta Magazine. She wrote a funny blog about George Clooney being "Sexiest Man Alive" again, and her close encounter with him at a Music Hall gala for the Clooneys in 1995. Here’s a link.


at 11/20/2006 11:53 PM Blogger Not Todd said...

Ginsu knives? Bruno Magli shoes? The new "Police Squad" dvd set? The mind boggles.

at 11/21/2006 12:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

first on 5 nordstorm is coming to cincy

at 11/21/2006 12:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
first on 5 nordstorm is coming to cincy

11/21/2006 12:12 PM

is he the new meteorologist for news5? Nord Storm

at 11/21/2006 1:11 PM Blogger Brad said...

That Instant Bogey Golf guy could have sponsored the show, and in the add he could tell people he could cure their slice in no time......

at 11/21/2006 2:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes you wonder which of Rupert's underlings thought this was a good idea in the first place??

at 11/21/2006 8:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This really doesnt fit in here exactly,but I want to know why it is ok for African Americans can harrass a performer who is on stage, but they get mad if he calls them on it...
think about it.

at 11/21/2006 9:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese- there's about to be a pink slip frenzy in the clear channel radio stations here. It's going on all over the country.

at 11/21/2006 10:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This really doesnt fit in here exactly,but I want to know why it is ok for African Americans can harrass a performer who is on stage, but they get mad if he calls them on it...
think about it."

I agree 100 percent. Yet if a black comic is making fun of white audience members like chris rock does and its fine then this society is full of hypocrits(sp)

at 11/21/2006 10:27 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

is he the new meteorologist for news5? Nord Storm

Yes and he comes from seattle

at 11/23/2006 9:02 PM Anonymous Alan said...

On a completely unrelated note, did
anyone see the story on "Popeye" the one eyed turkey on Channel 12? Today It was on the front page on the CBS news web site. Check it out if you missed it. The link is below! Happy Thanksgiving!

at 11/24/2006 4:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Popeye, the one eyed turkey is a resident of the area according to the Middletown Journal yesterday.

at 11/24/2006 10:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you aware that WLW's Mike McConnell is now on in Atlanta, thanks to a shakeup at WGST/640 there?

Oddly enough, he replaces a local show hosted by former Toledo host Denny Schaffer.

at 11/26/2006 12:06 AM Anonymous dave in atlanta said...

Yeah McConnell started here last week when GST gutted their entire staff. Doesn't matter as noone in this town listens to it. Terrible reception outside the 285 loop (smaller than 275 up there). I can pick up WLW down here from 6p-6a better thank I can get GST anywhere in town.

at 11/26/2006 10:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, McConnell has moved to Atlanta? Or is this another Clear Channel radio "squeeze more blood" from the troops move? BTW, what's being referred to as "Black Friday" is coming very soon.

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