T Dog’s Grab Bag: OMG! “The Insider” is getting a new name

News on The Insider, Howie Mandel, The World Series, and more:

– OMG! OMG! OMG! Can you stand the excitement?!!! In a bid to lure younger viewers, CBS Television Distribution’s The Insider is adding an OMG to its name and beginning in January, will be known as OMG! Insider! Exclamation points!!!! (all right, calm down bucko.)

Originally, the series was to be named omg!NOW, named after Yahoo’s entertainment website.

Joining Kevin Fraiser and Brooke Anderson is Yahoo’s Kristen Alridge (who hosted Yahoo’s daily online news show since 2007) and Michael Yo. Insider video material will also be featured exclusively on omg!NOW.)

Originally a spinoff of Entertainment Tonight, Insider currently draws two million viewers daily and ranks 52nd among all barter syndicated shows. While OMG! Insider is somewhat a better title than omg!NOW, it’s still a stupid name.

– And OMG will face competition from yet another syndicated tabloid half-hour coming next fall – this time from a new syndication startup company formed by American Media, Big Fish Entertainment, and Unconventional Partners to sell OK! TV, based on the British tabloid who launched an American version in 2005. Focusing on pop culture, gossip, and celebrity news, OK TV plans to utilize the resources of other American Media magazine brands, including Star, National Enquirer, Soap Opera Digest, Men’s Health, and other titles.

OK TV is being targeted for all dayparts, including prime access (the hour before primetime.) But given the clamphold many existing programs from bigger syndicators of its ilk in key early fringe and access time slots (most contracts aren’t up until 2014, or so), this series may be a tough sell.

– The planned merger between Canada’s Bell Media and Astral Communications, which was announced in July, has been rejected by the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (which is the Canadian version of the FCC.) The CRTC rejected the merger on public interest grounds, saying the transaction would not benefit Canadians, and it outweighed the “efficiencies” granted by vertical integration and consolidation of market power.

Not surprisingly, Bell Media blasted the decision and is planning an appeal, asking the cabinet to order the CRTC to follow its own policies regarding mergers involving media companies. Founded in 1961, Astral owns 83 radio stations across Canada and stakes in several cable and premium channels. Bell owns the CTV network and dozens of radio stations, local broadcast, and cable channels across the country, including Toronto’s CFTO-TV, TSN, RDS, CIMX-FM (X89) in Windsor, Ont./Detroit, and other properties. Canada’s media is already one of the more consolidated among industrialized nations, even more so than the United States.

– Expect an all-time audience low for the 2012 World Series, which would be best remembered for Fox’s shameless self-promotion for their prime-time programming, particularly their Tuesday night lineup (having Zooey DeSchanel butchering the National Anthem Saturday night was a disgrace) and constant advertising plugs (one fan was on-camera with Chevy logo plastered below his eyes?) No surprise, given this was the least exciting World Series ever played on the planet – a four-game sweep by the San Francisco Giants over the Detroit Tigers, despite Joe Buck and Tim McCarver desperately trying to make it at least halfway interesting. At least we weren’t subjected to seeing X Factor contestants in the stands in the second inning only for them to leave by the fourth.

Despite the expected “worst-rated series of all-time designation” (the Stanley Cup Finals also had a tough time drawing an audience this year) don’t look for ad buyers to shy away from the national pastime anytime soon – live sports is still an valuable asset in a era where viewers are watching many of their shows on their DVRs.

– NBC is launching a new game show with Howie Mandel that’s being stripped two weeks before Christmas. Debuting on December 10 is Take It All, where contestants pick boxes with prizes in them, and have an opportunity to steal prizes from other contestants. Scott St. John, who executive produced the NBC and syndicated version of Deal Or No Deal (which was also hosted by Howie Mandel.) Take It All concludes on December 17. And if you think this concept is familiar, check out this 1974 episode of this particular program below (with the weird theme music – coincidentally written by Chuck Barris):

(Editor’s Note: The video was taken down by YouTube.)

Yes, people get quite excited at opening a box. Though if the producers are planning any kind of Klunk prize, I would suggest a DVD of Howie Mandel’s lame attempt at a sitcom, Good Grief from 1990.

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