Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, May 20, 2021

I can always count on Chris Rock for a chuckle-inducing one-liner. Here’s his quip on his upcoming sitcom:

UPN, which already has a comedy based on the life of Will Smith, will add another based on the childhood of Rock. UPN is moving “WWE Smackdown!” to Friday nights to make way for “Everybody Hates Chris” and three other comedies.

” ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ ‘Everybody Hates Chris’” Rock said. “White man out, black man in. See how it works?”

Almost makes me want to remember to tune in for it. Almost.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/20/2005 07:31:57 PM
Category: TV
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A while back, while making note of the scintillating topic of new European Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, I mentioned how the Sarbanes-Oxley Act had become a universal scapegoat for the business world:

While there’s no denying it’s an added burden, what I’ve experienced is more of a use of Sarbanes-Oxley as a catch-all for anything a company doesn’t feel like disclosing. I’ve had CFOs tell me they can’t give out detailed info because it would violate their compliance — a neat trick, since the point of that legislation is to make companies more transparent, not less.

I’m not the only one to notice this: The Washington Post’s Marc Fisher shows how the magic words “Sarbanes-Oxley” are used to justify everything from an added level of computer passwords to ethics violations.

All this is befuddling to Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes, who helped craft the law:

“You have some way-out requirements, and the company says that’s what Sarbanes-Oxley says we have to do, but these changes are neither in the act nor in the regulations implementing the act,” Sarbanes tells me. “I don’t know where some of these things came from.”…

Sarbanes sighs at how his name is being taken in vain as a nation of office workers grouses about new incursions on their time and sanity. “Some people in the business world think it’s unnecessary regulation,” he says, “but look at the price we paid with Enron and those scandals in losses of jobs and confidence in our capital markets. We didn’t set out to create onerous requirements. We were confronted with these gross abuses, and we set out to protect the American investor.”

I find it amusing to hear all the grousing over a law that requires nothing more than simple accountability. That the extra work drives CFOs to distraction (and in the case of Outback Steakhouse’s Bob Merritt, resignation from his job) elicits no sympathy from me at all. These companies are more than happy to reap the rewards of being a public company — huge cash reserves, leveraged borrowing, etc. — but ask them to pay for those advantages by lifting the veil from their financial books, and they have a fit.

I’m sure all this bitching will have the desired effect: After a few more years, a movement will form to repeal Sarbanes-Oxley, citing the “hardship” it imposes upon companies.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/20/2005 07:15:48 PM
Category: Business
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life support?
I’ve got no hard data to back it up, but I’m wondering if the days are numbered for Life Magazine.

I say this because today’s edition, slipped in as a supplement to my local paper, was so wafer-thin at 26 pages that I almost mistook it to be a non-descript ad insert. I’m sure plenty of people are completely overlooking it. I mean, it’s got a fair smattering of ad pages, but when a magazine is that light — even when it’s a supplement — it’s practically invisible.

What’s more, this week’s issue has a home-improvement theme, with homestylin’ celebs like Ty Pennington and Alton Brown filling up copy. Plus, daytime talkshow fave Ellen DeGeneres is primping for the cover story, talking about her favorite home decor. This is primtime ad placement territory, targeting what should be Life’s core audience; by rights, it should account for 10 pages of related advertising. Instead, I see hardly anything in the magazine’s paid pages commensurate to this ad-friendly presentation.

It’s not like Life is still looking to gain traction seven months after launch. If it’s not pulling in the ad dollars now, it’s never going to. Unless parent company Time Warner feels like ramping up resources to promote it — and I’ve seen no indications of such — I think Life will go back to the abyss within a year (where it’ll await yet another revival, probably).

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 05/20/2005 09:40:29 AM
Category: Publishing
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