FOX Superbowl Ads Fetch $2.4 Million, 'Pimp My Ride' Gets Fined, Details On New Missy Elliot Reality Show

FOX, which is looking forward to the return of stalwart shows like “24” and “American Idol” next month to help rescue its season, is getting good news on another front as well.

The network has sold about 90 percent of its ad inventory for the Super Bowl and is commanding record rates for each 30-second spot, according to Bloomberg News. Commercials are going for $2.4 million each.

That’s an increase of close to 7 percent over the $2.25 million CBS charged for ads for last year’s game. Assuming the remaining ads fetch the average price, the broadcast will bring in about $139 million for the network.

Usual suspects Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi and Visa will have one or more ads during the Super Bowl broadcast, which will air Sunday, Feb. 6 from Jacksonville, Fla. Anheuser-Busch has bought 10 spots for its Budweiser and Bud Light brands.

First-time advertisers on the telecast, which is typically the highest-rated TV program of the year, include Volvo and GoDaddy.com, an Internet domain-name registration service.

Last year’s Super Bowl between New England and Carolina drew an audience of about 89.8 million, the largest since 90 million watched the Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers in 1998.

The car shop made famous by MTV’s “Pimp My Ride” has been a little too aggressive in some of its ride-pimping, a federal agency says.

West Coast Customs and another TV customizer, Unique Autosports of Uniondale, N.Y., are facing fines for disabling or removing safety equipment from vehicles as part of the overhaul work they do. The fines are part of a crackdown on illegal customization by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“It’s not only a bad idea to disable the air bag, it’s against the law,” agency spokesman Rae Tyson tells The New York Times.”If you have a DVD player there instead of an air bag, it’s not going to protect you in a crash.”

“Pimp My Ride,” one of MTV’s most popular series, follows the Inglewood, Calif., crew of West Coast Customs as they turn decrepit hoopties into accessory-laden automotive artworks that often feature in-car TV and video-game systems, hydraulics and immaculate paint jobs. The NHTSA fined the shop $16,000 for removing air bags to install video monitors in the steering column of some cars.

Unique Autosports, which will be featured in an upcoming series on cable’s Speed Channel, was fined $5,000 for a similar offense.

In addition to the federal air-bag law, most states have laws that make watching television in the front seat of a car illegal. The video navigation systems that are now a regular feature of luxury cars are excepted.

If a prominent personality wants to share his or her success, landing a reality show is one way to do it.

Donald Trump, Tyra Banks and Richard Branson have, and Missy Elliott is joining their ranks. The Grammy Award-winning performer of hip-hop hits such as “Get Ur Freak On” and “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” gives 13 aspiring performers the chance for their big break on the unscripted UPN series “The Road to Stardom With Missy Elliott,” premiering Wednesday, Jan. 5.

With cameras and microphones trained on them always, the hopefuls literally go on the road, traveling together in a tour bus and facing challenges designed to reveal how they deal with various aspects of the music business. Elliott and the other judges — singer Teena Marie, producer Dallas Austin and manager Mona Scott — determine who stays, eliminating one contender per week and giving the eventual winner $100,000 and a deal with Elliott’s record label. Madonna and Busta Rhymes make guest appearances along the way.

Elliott, who is producing the series in association with Arnold Shapiro and Allison Grodner (“Big Brother”), says she’s recalling her career roots while helping others jump-start their own dreams.

Credit: Jay Bobbin, Zap2It

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