Jay Leno to NBC’s Rescue

How odd is it that perhaps the most exciting story in network television is not about “Lost”, “Fringe” or some other edgy, expensive small-screen phenomenon, but instead, about a veteran night time talk show host moving to prime time?

According to reports, NBC is set to announce today that Jay Leno, who relinquishes his “Tonight Show” gig next May, will get a new show at 10 p.m. each night “in a format similar to “The Tonight Show.”

This news comes as last-place NBC tries to cut costs during the economic slowdown. It wants to streamline creative decision-making. I suppose you can’t streamline it any more than putting the same gab-fest on every weekday night to compete with everything from legal and espionage yarns to hospital dramas and time travel shows.

But don’t sneeze at the idea: Jay Leno is a proven entertainer with a solid audience– more than can be said for sidelined shows like “My Own Worst Enemy” and “Lipstick Jungle.” Even better — the move may save NBC $200 million annually.

So what’s next? Three-nights-a-week of some kind of variety or singing competition? Wait, oh… nevermind.

Watch Gannett layoffs in slow motion

It’s layoff week at Gannett — even the second N and T might be redundant.

The largest U.S. newspaper publisher and owner of USA Today, the nation’s biggest-selling daily paper, is slashing payroll just in time for the holidays. We read about layoffs everywhere these days, but if you want to see the slow-motion car crash version of how Gannett is doing it, look to Gannett Blog, run by former company reporter Jim Hopkins.

With no newspaper job to keep him busy, Hopkins chronicles nearly every event that he hears about Gannett. That includes a dose of rumor, but much of what he reports is more right than wrong.

Dial M For MySpace mobile advertising

MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe is bullish on the mobile advertising market, but says ad agencies and corporate sponsors haven’t figured out to dial into it.

Speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, DeWolfe outlined MySpace’s mobile efforts, such as its Blackberry application. He said the company was targeting more download applications for mobile devices. He said he saw big opportunities in the mobile-based advertising sector once there’s some standardization.

We think the future of mobile is more advertising based. But the marketplace on the advertiser side has not quite caught up to the inventory out there… It’s relatively undeveloped, but we think it’s a market that will grow.

MySpace Music finds conductor

Meet News Corp’s latest cool dude: Courtney Holt, president of MySpace Music. They say he’s not only talented, but he’s hip as well — and reports of his arrival were, to say the least, plentiful.

Here is his history, as outlined by MySpace’s press release:

Holt previously served as Executive Vice President of Digital Music for the MTV Networks Music and Logo Group where he oversaw several initiatives for the company’s digital music group, including working with the MTV, VH1 and CMT brands… Prior to joining MTV, Holt was Senior Vice President of New Media, Creative and Strategic Marketing at Interscope Geffen A&M.

It couldn’t hurt that he used MySpace to tout new albums from well-known pop acts such as Weezer, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Black Eyed Peas, and Audioslave.

McCartney fires up MySpace, burns NPR

So I wrote this story the other day about how Guns N’ Roses and the Paul McCartney/Youth project The Fireman were running streaming versions of their latest albums on MySpace, the social network that Rupert Murdoch counts as part of his News Corp media empire. The heart of the matter? MySpace touted it as exclusive launches preceding the albums’ debuts in stores.

On Thursday, I got a call from someone at National Public Radio who had read my story. Everything seemed fine except that it looked like Sir Paul and his buddy from Killing Joke who comprise Fireman had promised the exclusive to NPR.

I was getting ready for a good old-fashioned media brawl, but it was not to be.

NPR spokeswoman Anna Christopher: “We think that two people [at the record company] probably offered the same thing to NPR and to MySpace. Both of us are continuing to carry the album. We’re not going to make anybody take anything down or do anything drastic like that.”

Dragging and dropping with MySpace

At MySpace, change is a gradual affair. News Corp’s online social network on Monday is introducing Profile 2.0, which it calls the “next step in iterative global site redesign, enabling millions of users to opt-in and customize the appearance of their profiles using an innovative new drag-and-drop user interface.”

I’ve spent the last 13 years working on getting my PhD in translating tech PR to English, but I’m not quite fluent yet. Loosely rendered, this means that it will get easier for MySpace members to change the way their profiles look by moving various parts around their computer screens.

Here’s what else they’re doing with Profile 2.0: People can display different kinds of information to different categories. That could mean that you share your weekend bong-and-bender photos with your extracurricular pals while saving the work information for prospective employers to see (unless you’re going to work at one of those places that counts hard-partying social activity as a prerequisite).

Is MySpace dreaming of a music device?

    Step right up and take your best shot. Think you’ve got a digital music player that can compete with Apple’s iPod? Bring it. Go ahead. Others have. Look what happened to them.

Think Microsoft’s Zune or Sandisk’s Sansa.

But one of these days somebody, somewhere is going to come up with a device that trumps the iPod. It’s only a matter of time. The question is, who will that be?

Well, one contender might just be News Corp. Its MySpace could eventually be interested in developing a player to go along with the big music venture it recently launched, it seems.

MySpace — better with Bacon Salt?

mmmmm-baaaaacon.jpgMySpace rolled out the public test of its MyAds system, a service created for small businesses that want to run banner advertising on the online social network. Designed to take advantage of the personal information that MySpace members provide, it’s geared primarily toward folks whose businesses are small enough that they don’t have things like media buyers. (See the e-mail conversation with our friend at Bacon Salt at the bottom of this entry for an example of what I mean.)

You can read the Reuters story that we ran Sunday night, and then check out these other stories, which wrote up different angles on the service:

BNET’S Steve O’Hear offers directions so easy that even someone evincing signs of my legendary tech illiteracy could make it work:

Newspaper online advertising slows to crawl

turtle.jpgMore bad news for newspapers. We’ve all gotten used to hearing that circulation is down, print advertising is down, newspapers are cutting staff and the industry is in deep, deep trouble.

The one silver lining to all of this was the online efforts of newspapers, which were supposed to save the industry. Advertising dollars were actually growing at a rapid pace.

That was then, apparently. The New York Times reports today that online advertising growth at newspapers had slowed to a crawl.

APT question: A big win or an empty promise?


Cheaper? Easier?!??? Those words are the lifeblood of the advertising community.

Now Chief Executive Jerry Yang is using them to tout Yahoo’s new advertising system, telling Reuters in an interview that the so-called APT will make life better for advertisers and publisher.

“This system allows cross-selling between sales forces, it allows us to have visibility of what pricing is happening and where,” Yang said in the interview.