- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ads still a hot ticket

And then there were two.

NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol said Wednesday that the network sold two of its four remaining ads for the Super Bowl. The ads went for as much as $2.4 million each. Even with the poor economy, NBC’s total revenue from the Super Bowl likely will be a record take. Some of the ads went for $3 million.

Mr. Ebersol expressed relief that NBC Sports was able to sell 85 percent of its inventory by Labor Day. That’s particularly important because the economy began to come apart in September, and NBC had just come back from an all-hands-on-deck effort to sell the Beijing Olympics, which was a huge ratings success.

“This has become a story because some people look at [Super Bowl ad sales] as a barometer of the U.S. economy,” Mr. Ebersol told the Hollywood Reporter.

There’s not a lot of visibility on the content of the Super Bowl ads, which are for the American viewing public just as important as whatever the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals will do on the field Sunday night. Mr. Ebersol said he had been told that many are of the “same normal Super Bowl quality, meaning that the vast majority of them are worth waiting for.”

He also said a few directly address the problems in the American economy, with companies talking about how they can help.

“And I’m sure there are a couple that will rub people the wrong way,” Mr. Ebersol joked.

‘A-Team’ redux

Twentieth Century Fox has assembled a creative team to transform the 1980s TV series “The A-Team” into a summer 2010 film with Joe Carnahan directing and Ridley Scott producing, Variety says.

Also producing are Jules Daly and Stephen J. Cannell, the latter of whom created the original TV series.

Mr. Carnahan will team with Brian Bloom to polish a script by Skip Woods (“G.I. Joe”). The intention is to start production by June for a June 11, 2010, release.

Fox has struggled to find a way to exploit the branded TV show while avoiding the series’ campy tone. Director John Singleton most recently was attached to such an attempt before dropping out.

Mr. Carnahan says he and his team will use the original premise of the series as the template for an action film. In the original, four Vietnam vets convicted of armed robbery escape from military prison and became do-gooder mercenaries.

The Middle East will replace Vietnam as the place where the four did their tour of duty, but Mr. Carnahan says the origin story is the jumping-off point.

“You can … make a film that reflects on the real world without losing the great sense of fun and the velocity of action in a classic summer popcorn film,” he says.

“This was a coveted property, and re-imagining a show that I remembered as a kid was tough to turn down,” Mr. Carnahan says. “Fox hired me to make it as emotional, real and accessible as possible without cheesing it up.”

‘Lately’ earlier

“Chelsea Lately” just got a little earlier.

The late-night series on E!, hosted by brassy comic and author Chelsea Handler, is moving to 11 p.m. beginning Feb. 16, Broadcastingcable.com reports.

Miss Handler’s half-hour pop-culture and entertainment roundup will continue to repeat at midnight and 2:30 a.m. on the Comcast Entertainment Group-operated channel.

Since premiering in July 2007, “Chelsea Lately” has grown in total viewers for 18 consecutive months.

Miss Handler previously appeared on E!’s “The Chelsea Handler Show” and Oxygen’s “Girls Behaving Badly.” She also is the author of “My Horizontal Life” and “Are You There, Vodka, It’s Me, Chelsea.”

‘Nanny’ Style

The Style Network has acquired the exclusive off-network rights to ABC’s “Supernanny.”

According to Variety, the deal with Disney-ABC Domestic Television gives the Comcast-owned cable network rights to all episodes of the reality series, which will bow on Style in the fall.

Currently in its fifth season on ABC, “Supernanny” follows child care expert Jo Frost as she visits families struggling with marriages and parenting.

On tap tonight…

The Trials of Ted Haggard (8 p.m., HBO) - Filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi crafts a documentary on the one-time evangelical leader that chronicles his rise and fall from grace in 2006 when he admitted to “sexual immorality” and buying methamphetamines from a male prostitute.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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