- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Obama Bowl exclusive

“The Today Show” host Matt Lauer has snagged a Super exclusive, landing a one-on-one interview with President Obama, TVWeek.com reports.

Mr. Lauer’s interview will be broadcast Sunday during NBC’s three-hour Super Bowl pre-game show.

NBC is using Super Bowl Sunday to give exposure to virtually all of its units, from the Weather Channel to USA Network.

Mr. Obama’s first post-inaugural TV interview was with ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts, who collared Mr. Obama backstage at the Neighborhood Ball on Jan. 20. Their conversation lasted just a couple of minutes and aired in prime time during ABC’s broadcast of the bash.

It is unclear whether the president will grant any other major TV interviews between now and Sunday.

Mr. Obama is no stranger to Super Bowl media availabilities. He was interviewed by Fox last year during that network’s broadcast of the big game.

Other presidents, including George W. Bush, have used the Super Bowl as a platform to get their message across.

NBC flies with AA

NBC Universal has struck an exclusive deal with American Airlines to take over the carrier’s in-flight entertainment service.

The deal, which spans two years (with option for a third) includes four 90-minute programs each month and begins March 1, Variety reports.

As part of the arrangement, dubbed NBC Universal on American, the airline has parted ways with CBS. The Tiffany network programmed American’s in-flight service (“CBS Eye on American”) for more than 10 years; before that, ABC held the contract.

American - cash-strapped like all airlines - also was looking to alter its financial arrangement. CBS sold the in-flight ad time; NBC will not. NBC also had a leg up when it came to the sheer variety of its programming options. The Peacock will offer fare from NBC, USA, Bravo, Sci Fi, Oxygen, MSNBC and CNBC in addition to Universal Pictures films and programs from NBC News and NBC Sports, Variety notes.

Mexican holiday

The location for the next season of “The Real World”? Cancun.

The Mexico vacation destination will serve as the setting for the MTV show’s 22nd cycle, the Hollywood Reporter says.

There, the housemates will work with the spring break resource site StudentCity.com to serve as guides for visiting college students.

“They’re going to help give people a safe and fun vacation,” co-creator Jonathan Murray said. “They also might have to bail somebody out of a Mexican jail, stuff like that.”

Production has started on the upcoming season, which will debut this year. The current season is set in Brooklyn.

The recent season premiere was up 18 percent in total viewers from last year and continues to rank as one of MTV’s top-rated shows.

If the location sounds as if it’s from a previous installment of the groundbreaking reality series, there’s some cause for that.

The party spot seems an ideal choice for the show, and after 21 cycles it’s surprising Cancun wasn’t picked earlier. Also, “Real World” producers in 2003 shot an R-rated unscripted movie called “The Real Cancun” that’s unrelated to the series.

MTV, JibJab team

MTV Networks is launching a new comedy-centric advertising vertical (or “tribe,” as the company calls it), locking up the Web-video gurus of JibJab as its first major out-of-company client, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

Under the advertising agreement, MTV networks will exclusively sell all advertising inventory on JibJab’s site as well as brand integrations and custom sponsorships.

JibJab is best known for its satirical videos mocking politicians and the media and for its unusual art style. It also has a popular digital-greetings service, enabling users to insert pictures of their friends into the JibJab videos.

JibJab says the partnership with MTV Networks will help it reach brands that have been reluctant to advertise with Web companies such as itself.

“JibJab has extensive reach but has always struggled to get mindshare with a large number of big brands,” said JibJab CEO Gregg Spiridellis, announcing the deal. “We believe working with the best comedy ad-sales team in the world at MTV Networks will give us an opportunity to educate brands about our audience and premium content offerings at a scale that was never before possible.”

On tap tonight …

Burt Lancaster: Daring to Reach (9, WETA-Channel 26) - A profile of the late actor (1913-1994), “a Harlem street kid who ran away to join the circus and ended up acting”- winning an Oscar for “Elmer Gantry” as well as nominations for “From Here to Eternity,” “Birdman of Alcatraz” and “Atlantic City.”

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff, Web and wire reports

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