Archive for the ‘Syfy’ Category

NBC Universal Chief Jeff Zucker, His PR Folks And His Talent Host Holiday Party For Media At 30 Rock

December 9, 2009

We just got back to Jersey after attending NBC Universal’s party for the press. The soiree Tuesday night, held on the 52nd floor of 30 Rock in Manhattan, was officially off-the-record. But we can certainly tell you who we saw there.

As we were checking our coat, Kathie Lee Gifford was putting on her’s and leaving. Her NBC morning-TV partner, Hoda Kotb, was still inside at the shindig.

The event, sponsored by NBCU chief Jeff Zucker and his communications team, came on the heels of news that the nation’s largest cable operator, Comcast, was buying the home of the Peacock Network along with its stable of cable channels, which includes USA Network, SyFy, Bravo, Oxygen, CNBC and MSNBC. The seller is General Electric.

A shirt-sleeved Zucker briefly addressed the gathered media, and made some funny jokes about the coming merger (we can’t say what, it was off the record, remember?)

There were both NBCU talent and suits at the holiday party. NBC News anchor Brian Williams, a Jersey guy, stopped by, as did Lester Holt, Ann Curry and Amy Robach from “The Today Show.” Jimmy Fallon popped by when the party was ending.

As for execs, in addition to Zucker there was NBC Cable Entertainment chief Bonnie Hammer, Bravo honcho Frances Berwick, NBCU’s women’s and lifestyle chieftain Lauren Zalaznick, CNBC president Mark Hoffman and “Saturday Night Live” creator and producer Lorne Michaels.

We have written about Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” for NewJerseyNewsroom.com, and NBC has big home shopping connections and affiliations.

First of all, GE/NBC currently owns about 32.5 percent of ShopNBC on a fully diluted basis of 37.6 million shares. NBC’s 6.4 million shares represent 16.8 percent ownership and GE’s 6 million common stock purchase warrants represent 15.7 percent.

Secondly, the stars of several of NBCU’s cable show have home shopping lines, including: Tori Spelling, who is in Oxygen’s “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” on HSN; Rachel Zoe, from Bravo’s “The Rachel Zoe Report,” on QVC; Isaac Mizrahi, who hosts Bravo’s “The Fashion Show,” on QVC; Padma Lakshmi, from Bravo’s “Top Chef,” on HSN; and Ramona Singer from Bravo's "The Real Housewives of New York City." on HSN.

The party gift was a DVD of the third season of NBC’s “30 Rock,” appropriately.

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Wall Street Journal Chronicles The Challenges Of Liz Claiborne Honcho William McComb, Who Struck Deal For Isaac Mizrahi To Come To QVC

November 3, 2009

The Liz Claiborne executive who just did a major deal for QVC to partner with designer Isaac Mizrahi and also carry the Liz Claiborne New York line comes under scrutiny by The Wall Street Journal Tuesday. And it isn’t pretty.

The story headlined, “Claiborne CEO Hangs On,” talks about Liz Claiborne CEO William McComb, and how the company has suffered seven consecutive quarterly losses on his watch. Liz Claiborne reports its quarterly earnings Wednesday.

McComb was responsible for recruiting Mizrahi, fresh from his success at Target, to come to Liz Claiborne as creatice director. But the women’s clothing maker still was seeing ink.

In October, Liz Claiborne officially announced a major deal to make JCPenney its sole bricks-and-mortar retailer. As part of that announcement, Liz Claiborne also said that Mizrahi would be doing a line of premium apparel, accessories and home products for QVC, and that the home shopping network would also be selling the Liz Claiborne New York line.

McComb is on the hot seat to turn Liz Claiborne around.

As an aside, The Journal quotes Kay Koplovitz, Liz Claiborne’s chairman. We know Koplovitz, and interviewed her, from our cable-reporting tenure. She is a cable pioneer who founded USA Network, and later Sci Fi Channel (recently renamed the silly Syfy).

We didn’t realize that Koplovitz, who left USA Network in 1998, was at Liz Claiborne. In the cable world, she was known as a tough-as-nails executive.