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In the Know / A LOOK AT THE WEEK AHEAD

The Time Is NOW for Fox Protest

May 29, 2000

For Fox, "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" turns out to be the unwanted gift that just keeps on giving. Not only did the red-faced network cut loose several so-called "reality" shows (some since picked up by UPN) in response to the publicity backlash from the February special, but the program contributed to the National Organization for Women's decision to designate Fox its "Network of Shame." NOW will call attention to that dubious honor with a demonstration Tuesday outside the 20th Century Fox lot in Century City, hoping to inspire all the networks to provide more "women-friendly shows." Activists--who have not directly contacted the network--also say they intend to stage similar events at Fox affiliated stations. There's some irony in the timing, since Gail Berman was last week named president of entertainment at Fox, which becomes the third broadcast network (along with CBS and the WB) where a woman holds that title. Still, NOW's emphasis is less on who's in charge than the kind of images being disseminated. Of course, "Marry a Multi-Millionaire?" appears to have financially benefited at least one woman, with the would-be bride, Darva Conger, recently signing what's presumed to be a lucrative deal to pose for an upcoming issue of Playboy.

Will Eminem Join 'Million Copy Club'?

Eminem's new album looks like a million--but that doesn't mean as much as it used to. The Detroit rapper's "The Marshall Mathers LP" hits the charts Wednesday, and according to early retailer projections, the disc will debut at No. 1 with sales of about 1.5 million copies. A few years ago, that would have been big news. After all, through the end of 1998, only two albums in history had cracked the 1 million sales mark in a single week: Garth Brooks' "Double Live" and "The Bodyguard" soundtrack. But it's happened three times in the past year, with the Backstreet Boys (1.1 million for "Millennium"), Britney Spears (1.3 million for "Oops! . . . I Did It Again") and 'N Sync (2.4 million of "No Strings Attached"). Now comes Eminem, who isn't even riding the wave of teen pop, with a chance to post the second-best week of sales ever. What's going on? Eminem may not be a fave of, say, 'N Sync fans, but he does tap into a very young audience, and that's where the big money is these days. Industry observers most often cite two factors for the expanding "Million Copy Club": first, the streamlined, concentrated marketing opportunities afforded in an era where Internet sites, MTV, Nickelodeon and Radio Disney can reach legions of youthful consumers with incredible efficiency; and second, a large demographic "bubble" of adolescents and teens, many of them flush with disposable income thanks to a healthy economy. "You have the Internet super-serving people, the good economy and the advent of the boy bands. . . . You also have music turning back to a 'Let's go out and have fun' sound that creates excitement," says Valentine, a top-rated afternoon DJ on KIIS-FM (102.7), the L.A. market's powerhouse pop station. "It's not just a teen thing, either. We see it spreading. The amount of fan base in women 18 to 34 is through the roof. There's a million reasons and I don't see it slowing down."

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