That, and other news, in today's Roundup and Recap.
Midterm candidates are ramping up their fund-raising in Los Angeles and Hollywood circles, activity that will only accelerate as the year goes on and as Democrats sound the alarm on tough reelection battle. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is scheduled to raise money at a cocktail reception on Feb. 16 at the Bel Air home of Norah and Bruce Broillet. Others who have recently raised money in industry circles include Robin Carnahan, running for Senate in Missouri, and, for his reelection bid, Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
This morning a House subcommittee is hearing testimony on the proposed Comcast and NBC U match up, with Brian Roberts and Jeff Zucker telling that the deal will bolster broadcast television and stimulate competition. A rep for the Consumer Federation of America opposed the merger outright, while the CEO of a competing cable service argued for significant conditions. Lawmakers indicated concern, but in opening statements none indicated that they opposed the deal. Several Republicans, in fact, said that federal regulators speed up their review. And there was a lot of discussion about the deal's impact on NBC's affiliates, particularly their ability to negotiate agreements with cable providers to carry their stations. Inevitably, there was a poke at the recent Leno-Conan flap. Roberts' oral tesitimony is here. Rep. Mike Rogers made a quip about offering to hire Conan O'Brien, but the joke seemed to fall flat.
Music artists jumped on the lobby for a Performance Rights Act during Grammy week last week, with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Stephen Stills, Sheryl Crow, Dave Matthews, Flea, Josh Groban, Mary J. Blige and Stevie Nicks among the 20 or so signing a statement, right, supporting the legislation. It would require that broadcast stations compensate artists and musicians when their music is played on the radio.
Meanwhile, the Media Institute, which includes reps from firms like DirectTV, Viacom, Microsoft, Time Warner, NBC Universal and Warner Music on its board of trustees, posted a critical look at the legislation on its website that was written by the orgs vice president, Richard T. Kaplar. He wrote that record companies should "not try to kill the 'golden goose' of radio broadcasting in order to boost their bottom lines. Free music for free airplay has stood the test of time."
More on the demon sheep: Tom Campbell, who is running against Carly Fiorina, is now using her online attack video to raise money. Teddy Davis of ABC News reports that Campbell's fund-raising email reads: "Carly's ad likens fiscal conservatives to sheep, and Tom to a demon sheep, without mentioning a single federal issue or proposing a single solution to America's economic woes. Seriously." Fiorina's other opponent, Chuck Devore, is also taking a dig at the web vid, setting up his own demonsheep.org site, officially named the Society for the Eradication of Demon Sheep from Our Political Discourse. But does Fiorina have the last laugh? One of the purposes of viral campaign vids is to get the spots spread around the Internet, which it certainly has, and it's so far generated more than 100,000 views on YouTube.
Update: The voice in the spot, according to ABC's The Note, is actor Robert Davi. According to the Daily Beast, the man responsible for Demonsheep was Fred Davis, the colorful, Hollywood-based ad guru famously responsible for John McCain's "Celebrity" attack spot on Barack Obama last year. Slate profiles him here.