The promotions people at Cable News Network call it a "blunder," mentioning in on-air promos for newly hired news anchor Paula Zahn that she was "just a little sexy."
The promos were CNN's way of welcoming Zahn after she jumped ship from rival Fox. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution says the 15-second promos for Zahn began running last weekend and were met with a firestorm of criticism from journalism purists. The publication says it's no secret that stations and networks like to hire attractive anchors, but they usually let the anchor's good looks and charm do the talking without overt mentions in promotional announcements.
One CNN executive told the newspaper the ad was never shown to anyone outside the promotions department before being aired.
Meanwhile, in a statement released by CNN, the network says Zahn has proven her journalistic talent for more than 20 years.
(Thanks to UPI Feature Reporter Dennis Daily)
THINGS WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
Libya's Moammar Gadhafi is sparing nothing in his bid to convince a skeptical world that he's a reformed character, with all the nasty terrorism behind him. Now he's turning himself into a big sports tycoon, spending $21 million to buy shares in Italy's Juventus soccer team. This makes him the second-largest shareholder in this top Italian football club -- after the Fiat-owning Agnelli family.
Next stop, the Redskins?
(From UPI Hears)
NEWS OF OTHER LIFE FORMS
Scientists at the University of Missouri are helping NASA evaluate the feasibility of using tiny flying robots as part of future Mars probes to gather information about the planet.
Aerospace engineering Prof. K.M. Isaac says he's supervising an aerodynamic study of computer simulations for a robot named "Entomopter," a combination of the words entomology (the study of insects) and helicopter. The Ohio Aerospace Institute and the Georgia Institute of Technology also are helping NASA with initial evaluations of the robot.
"What they're interested in is mapping the terrain of Mars," Issac told UPI. "The current thinking is the (next-generation) Mars Rover will land, and from there these Entomopters will fly in a circle about a mile from the rover, very close to the surface."
The swarm of robots would transmit different types of data back to the rover, depending on what sort of sensor -- i.e. cameras or radiation detectors -- they carried, Isaac said. The robots also could conceivably land and take soil samples, he said. Successful designs will be as lightweight and small as possible.
TODAY'S SIGN THE WORLD IS ENDING
TV programming executives seem to be getting over Hollywood's initial reluctance to exploit the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and have started TV projects based on that day's events.
CBS is moving ahead on a project by Lawrence Schiller, the journalist turned producer who has produced shows on O.J. Simpson and JonBenet Ramsey murder. The program reportedly will chronicle the first reactions of government and military officials after terrorists crashed the first of two passenger jets into the World Trade Center.
"It deals with the heroes on the ground and those people who broke the rules, invented new rules, and in some instances ... had to deal with something they'd never thought they would have to deal with," Schiller told Daily Variety.
Schiller's project could lead up to the crash of United Flight 93 in a Pennsylvania field after passengers -- aware that hijackers were planning to use the plane as a bomb -- took matters into their own hands and foiled the plan.
But Schiller said he will not try to recreate the events on board the plane. "That would be an invasion of privacy," he said, "and I'm not interested in doing that."
At least two other TV projects based on the Sept. 11 attacks are in the works -- including one that would use the stories of those on Flight 93 and one that would focus on the Hamburg, Germany, terrorist cell suspected of carrying out the hijackings.
(Thanks to UPI Hollywood Reporter Pat Nason)
AND FINALLY, TODAY'S UPLIFTING STORY
The cities of Atlanta and Cleveland swore in their first female mayors on Monday.
Former Atlanta city administrator Shirley Franklin becomes the only black woman to lead a major American city after she replaced outgoing Mayor Bill Campbell, who did not seek re-election. In Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jane Campbell replaced outgoing-Mayor Michael White, who also did not seek re-election.
According to the National League of Cities, the addition of Campbell and Franklin to the mayoral roster brings the total number of women currently serving as mayor in the nation's 50 largest cities to nine. Of the 10 largest cities, only Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego have ever had a woman as chief executive.
(From UPI's Capital Comment)