by Ray Richmond
AYE, EYE No one will need to hold a telethon for CBS any time soon. In preparation for ”Survivor: The Australian Outback,” the Eye is bypassing the conventional, 30 second ad selling game plan and asking advertisers to pony up $12 million apiece for the 13 week run of the show. In return for buying these ”sponsorship packages,” companies like GM, Target, Pepsi, Visa, and Reebok would get ad time, product placement, and links on the show?s webpage. When all is said and done, CBS expects to rake in more than $450,000 per 30 second ad on the series, which premieres following the Super Bowl in January.
Speaking of which, CBS is also expecting to pull in a record $2.35 million per 30 second ad for that other big event (including a reported six hours of pregame programming), bringing the night?s total to a whopping $150 million (roughly $12.6 mil of which comes from ”Survivor”). CBS declined comment, but one media buyer observed, ”This ‘Survivor’ franchise is the kind of cash cow the networks dream about and almost never see.” Isn?t that what they said about ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’?
TAKING A ‘STAN’ The controversial video for Eminem?s tune ”Stan” was hit with so many edits before MTV finally aired it on Nov. 8 that it was easy to mistake the music net for the MPAA. The video originally mirrored the song?s story line, in which an obsessed Eminem fan tosses his pregnant girlfriend into the trunk of his car and drives off a bridge. In the new version, we never see the girlfriend put in the trunk, and any lyrical references to that effect have been cut.
Although an MTV spokesperson confirms that tweaks were made, she maintains it was all just business as usual. ”A lot of our videos get edited before they go on the air,” she says. ”It?s a back and forth process with the record labels. They say up, we say down; they say right, we say left.” Eminem?s camp, meanwhile, seems resigned to being too hot to handle. ”We know going in that there is certain Eminem material that won?t be deemed acceptable for MTV,” says the rapper?s spokesman Dennis Dennehy. ”That?s just the way it goes. At least people will still get to know the song.” What?s left of it, anyway.
WHAT ABOUT BOB? Ever since Fox bumped comedian Robert Schimmel?s self titled sitcom back to mid season (after the star was diagnosed with non Hodgkin?s lymphoma), rumors have flown about everything from creative hassles on the set to Schimmel?s pessimistic prognosis. ”For a while I kept reading about how I was near death,” says Schimmel, ”which pissed me off ?cause no one had bothered to tell me.” Turns out his cancer has been in remission for six weeks, and – gossips be damned – production on his show is now slated to begin Feb. 19 (the show will debut in March). Meanwhile, ”Schimmel” creator Mike Scully (”The Simpsons”) is looking on the bright side. Says he: ”We?re considering changing the title of the show to ‘Nothing Can Go Wrong Now.”’
(Additional reporting by Chris Willman)