Couric in CBS Crisis!

April 10, 2008 at 6:34 pm (PR) (, , , )

 

Katie Couric, an anchor for the “CBS Evening News,” is under pressure to get out of her contract expiring in 2011.  She was one of the hit co-hosts of “NBC’s TODAY,” before she took the evening news job.  Recently, CBS has finished in third place since her arrival, which in this case is exactly where it began when she got there.  This article from MSNBC.com goes on to quote the The Wall Street Journal saying that “CBS News executives” and “people close to Katie Couric” believe she will leave the network before her contract runs out in 2011.  Katie Couric signed this deal in 2006 worth $15 million per year.  

However, the article later goes on to explain that the evening news, which Katie came in to boost ratings for, needed more help than a popular personality.  It explained that popular figures can grow ratings for shows like “The View” because the audience thirsts for celebrity juice.  But, the people who watch evening news do so because they want the news.  Pure, unadulterated news.

From my point of view, I find this as bad PR for Katie Couric.  Even though the article goes on and explains this as not her fault but rather the doings of CBS, this is a blemish on Katie’s career.  If she pulls out, people will perceive this as if she just gave up.  If I were her publicist, rather than pulling out of her contract three years early, I would advise Katie to look for a solution rather than an escape.  I feel that if she finds a way to bring “CBS Evening News” to a higher rating, it will bolster her career.  People will not view her as just another pretty face on TV, but rather as an intellectual and hard-working star that will strive for the top.

 

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Patrick’s Possible Hope

April 3, 2008 at 6:25 pm (PR) (, , , )

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Many already know that the “Dirty Dancing” star Patrick Swayze has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  But reports from today reveal that he is doing very well with the treatment. From ExtraTV.com, Patrick’s physicians have said that “Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far.”  There is more fantastic news for Swayze fans, and that is that there is a revolutionary new treatment called the CyberKnife.  The CyberKnife is a machine that delivers bursts of radiation to cancerous tumors with pinpoint accuracy.  This new treatment gives hope to the possibility that one day he may make a full recovery. 

 

I feel that this article is very positive for Patrick Swayze.  Swayze is not a Hollywood box office hit star, but his limited roles in film and TV have been meaningful.  As a publicist, I feel that this article gives Patrick Swayze’s fans hope and inspiration.  Whether it’s truthful or not, I feel that it is better to show Patrick in a positive light.  At the bottom of the article, the writer asks readers to leave comments for Patrick to read.  There is a big list of cancer survivors, fans, women, and children that have already written something that expresses how they wish him a full recovery.  This article released a joyful picture of Patrick rather than a near death cancer victim photo.  This is important because I feel this is how fans and readers want to view him.  My advice to Patrick, depending on his condition, is that I would recommend him to get online and comment on this article.  If he says thank you to all of those who wish him well, I feel confident that he will get more similar positive publicity.  If he were to pass away in the near future, I would want everyone to remember him as being the handsome and kind individual that he is.  

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Pumpkins to sue Virgin Records!

March 26, 2008 at 12:05 pm (PR) (, , )

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The Smashing Pumpkins are suing Virgin Records for using their name and music in promotional deals that they feel with hurt the band’s credibility with fans.  From CNN.com, “Virgin has used the band in a ‘Pepsi Stuff’ promotion with Amazon.com and Pepsi Co.”  According to their current contract, Virgin’s only permission is to sell digital downloads of the band’s songs.  The agreement does not give Virgin the right to use the band in promotional campaigns to sell outside products.  The Smashing Pumpkins said they would “never grant such authority to Virgin, or any other entity.”

From a publicists’ point of view, I feel the Smashing Pumpkins were very proactive at attacking Virgin.  I think this shows that they are passionate about their artistic intelligence and want no one to disrespect that.  Yes, being associated with Amazon.com and Pepsi Co. may lead to more money, but the loyal fans of Smashing Pumpkins don’t want to see that association.  If Smashing Pumpkins were to let Virgin throw their name around wherever they so please, it would make Smashing Pumpkins come across as selling out.  Selling out is not the kind of action Smashing Pumpkins takes.  I think what they are doing is very appropriate, in regards to nipping this in the butt earlier rather than later.  The lawsuit demands that Virgin pay with the profits earned in the promotion and asks for an injunction against using the Pumpkins’ name or music in the future.

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Man vs. Wild? Really?

March 20, 2008 at 9:06 pm (PR) (, , , , )

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Bear Grylls, from The Discovery channel adventure show “Man vs. Wild” has apologized for misleading viewers on his program.  He was allegedly staying in motels and it is claimed that scenes of wilderness were set up.  The secret was blown when survival consultant Mark Weinert revealed to a newspaper that Bear would stay in a Hawaiian motel when he claimed on the show to be stranded on a desert island.  Other instances of building a raft, lassoing mustangs, and catching fish were also fabricated to a degree.  The Discovery Channel confessed “isolated elements” were not “natural to the environment,” and vowed the next series, which hits Channel 4 next month, would be “100 percent transparent.”

 

After viewing Mainstream Media Coverage (MSM) articles referring to this specific event, I found most of them to be understanding.  The MSM articles include information about Bear Grylls’ background of working in the Special Ops.  I think the MSM wants to point out that not everything shown on the television is 100 percent real.  In summation, I think the coverage was neutral to Grylls.  A majority of the headlines go on to say “Grylls apologises for ‘fake’ show” and “‘Survivor’ Bear Grylls is sorry” from BBC News and The Sun respectively.  The MSM photos portrayed Grylls as either looking apologetic or as his rough mountain character from the show.

 

Throughout all the articles from MSM sources, Grylls is often quoted along with  survival consultant Mark Weinert.  Because Grylls is the only on screen talent of the show, it is very appropriate for him to make statements referring to the realness of the episodes.   After reviewing news stories from around the Web, I see the media framing this incident in a humbling way to Bear Grylls.  These articles poke at the value of the show and give insight to the viewers that not everything he did was real.

 

Upon reviewing the blogs posted, I found them divided by who was a fan of the show and who was not.  Those that dislike the show basically summed up how this incident confirms why they don’t like the show to begin with.  Unlike the bloggers who favor the show, they went on to protect Bear Grylls and know that what he does is truly amazing despite some fabrication.  All the bloggers titled their posts with a variation of something like “Bear Grylls is a fake.”  The bloggers clearly emphasize the fact that Grylls was not a 100 percent real to the audience and now they are venting.  However, very few people actually went on to say that they would watch something to substitute “Man vs. Wild.”  Photos posted of Grylls were still positive and never left a bad taste in ones mouth.  The bloggers frame Bear in a neutral light with the slightest   negative thing said that the show is more entertainment than true life.  

 

I think this crisis has not had an incredible impact in the blogging world.  This will only inform people that in the original Grylls’ season, he was not 100 percent true to his audience.   When comparing the MSM articles and the blogs, I found the biggest difference in that the MSM articles pay a lot closer attention to details and usually give the whole story.  In contrast to the bloggers that take one fact and just run with it.  The attitudes are relatively equivalent in that they both portray Bear in a neutral light, not necessarily bashing him.  

 

As Bear Grylls publicist, I would say that what he did was perfect.  He came out and apologized for apparently misleading his viewers and said that in the future episodes it will be a lot clearer as to what and where he is around the clock.  The only difference I would suggest for Bear is that he comes out and describes what exactly was fabricated.  I think he should address the points that Mr. Weinert spoke of, and talk about how he will fix this in the upcoming series.   

 

Mainstream articles were from The Sun, BBC News, Digital Spy, The Daily Green, the Daily Mail, the New York Post, and Times Online. 

 

Blogs were from The Beckner Blog, The Adventure Blog, Memoirs on a Rainy Day, and Survival Shows.  

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The End of Neverland?

February 27, 2008 at 1:53 pm (PR) (, , )

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It seems that Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch is headed toward auction.  The 2,500-acre property in Los Olivos, Calif., might be sold at an auction on March 19 unless the pop star singer can pay the $24 million he still owes on the estate.  Jackson has not lived at Neverland since 2003, when police first raided his home while building a child molestation case against him.  Jackson originally purchased Neverland in 1988 for $17 million.  Since Jackson was acquitted of all charges in 2005, he immediately left the country.  Since his return to the United States more than one year ago, he has been living mainly in Las Vegas.  If the auction takes place, it will really diminish the property value.  The article states that the auction “would include not just the grounds and buildings on the property but all of the furnishings, appliances and various child-friendly accoutrements Jackson has added over the years, including ‘all merry-go-round-type devices.'” 

If I were Michael Jackon’s public relations specialist, I would sell the property off.  I think as long as Michael Jackson is tied to this child play haven, it will only cause more and more negative feelings toward him.  I feel the best way for Michael to move on from this issue is to remove himself completely from Neverland Ranch and its negative connotation.  Obviously if he hasn’t visited Neverland since 2003, it is something he can live without.  If this story develops or Michael takes no action, I think the media will take jabs at him.  Anyone accused of pedophilia, whether innocent or guilty, have few people that like the idea of them being around children again.  I feel his reputation is permanently tarnished as long as children are involved.  I feel it is better to cut Neverland off and disconnect himself from that real estate.

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Owen Wilson is Fit for Movies Again!

February 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm (PR) (, , )

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From E! News, Owen Wilson has confirmed that he will be back into production after his August 2007 hospitalization.  His new feature film is entitled “Marley & Me,” where Wilson and co-star Jennifer Aniston are a couple that adopts a neurotic and naughty dog that often misbehaves.  The story is based upon the bestselling memoir by John Grogan.  “Marley & Me” will now begin production March 10th. The shoot, which will take place in Miami, is expected to last through mid-May.  Hopeful release date will be Christmas 2008. 

If I were Owen Wilson’s publicist, I would be very pleased with this type of article being written.  Because of the seriousness of his suicidal attempts last fall, it is very encouraging to have light, less dramatic articles.  Since the incident happened last August, it is appropriate to be putting Wilson back into the news more than six months later.  I feel that it has been a good amount of time and reporters are again willing to approach Wilson.  I would encourage journalists, if they must touch on the subject, to do it briefly and make it not the subject of a piece.  I feel that there are a lot of privacy concerns that should not be touched upon in a malicious manner.  Even in a world where Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton all have rehab problems and are constantly under the ever watchful eye of the paparazzi, I feel the media has shown great respect towards Wilson.  I would encourage more reporters to reach out to Wilson about his future film projects.

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Genocide Olympics?

February 13, 2008 at 12:48 pm (PR) (, , , )

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CBS2.com is reporting that film director Steven Spielberg has decided not to serve as an artistic adviser for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.  He said he simply can’t reconcile working on the Olympics while China and other nations were not doing enough to ease the suffering in Darfur.  Spielberg’s decision comes as activists worldwide focus on the Olympics as a way to urge Beijing to exert its political leverage on Sudan’s government to help end the crisis in Darfur.   Spielberg goes on to talk about how China buys about two-thirds of Sudan’s oil exports, and in return China sells weapons to the Sudanese government.  Mia Farrow and several humanitarian groups had been critical of Spielberg for continuing to work on the games, even as the Sudanese military said it bombed three towns in West Darfur last week.  Spielberg has sent letters urging China to take a stronger stance against Sudan but now his conscience is pointing him toward spending his time and energy on the relief effort instead of the ceremonies.    

If I were Steven Spielberg’s publicist, I would compliment him for his decision to completely pull out of being the artistic adviser to the Olympics.  This decision is a very smart one because he has stopped waffling in the middle and has taken a side to withdrawal.  This says a lot about the character of Spielberg, because he knows his artistic ability is powerful and respected and he does not want to take the chance to tarnish it by supporting a country that refuses to give significant aid.  This statement sends a message to other countries, other individuals and athletes, who haven’t taken a strong stance on Darfur up to now.  This is great publicity for Spielberg, because now he looks like a strong enthusiast for a good cause.  I think Spielberg really changed his mind to fully support the Darfur cause after learning more about the situation.  I think he was going off what people told him before, and then when he was able to talk to people it really effected, he decided to take a stronger stance.  I think this will not have a negative impact on his career at all, if anything it will only make him look more human and approachable in contrast to a celebrity.  

Jill Savitt, director of the activist group Dream for Darfur, says that China has taken small steps to help ease the people of Darfur’s suffering.  “The Olympics are China’s debut on the world stage, and Beijing wants the Olympics to go well,” Savitt said. ”Unless China acts now to resolve the crisis in Darfur, the Beijing Games will best be remembered as the genocide Olympics.”

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Ledger Dies from Overdose

February 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm (PR) (, , , )

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All the hype and all the buzz regarding Heath Ledger’s death can be put to rest now.  However, now the real gossip and questions regarding Ledger’s death have only begun.  After medical examinations reported on Wednesday (Feb. 6), the young actor died from “the result of acute intoxication by the combined effects of oxycodone, hydrocodone, diazepam, temazepam, alprazolam and doxylamine.” (EW.com) In english, Ledger died from  painkillers, anti-anxiety pills, and sedating sleep aids.  The lesson we are able to walk away with is that even celebrities who have all the money for the best doctors, lawyers, and trainers, are still human.     

 

If I were Ledger’s publicist, and I knew that he was taking all these pills, I would definitely want to know why. Is it because he was stressed from his movies, or worried about playing a part a certain way?  I would come out and explain why he was on all these medications and describe why it was imperative for him to be on them.  This issue is very important because in no way does a young brilliant actor deserve to have his or his families careers tarnished by this death.  

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