USA Networks and Sci-Fi Start Media Review

NEW YORK — USA Networks and its subsidiary cable property the Sci-Fi Channel are looking for a media agency to handle buying and planning.

According to CMR, the two networks spent $20 million-plus in 2000.

Over the past three years, USA Networks and Sci-Fi have used several shops for media planning, including Grey Global Group?s MediaCom and Omnicom?s OMD, both New York.

USA Networks, which in addition to Sci-Fi owns the Home Shopping Network, is working with consultant Adam Stotsky, formerly with Fallon and the Travel Channel. Although no RFP has gone out, the client has been holding discussions with several agencies.

Stephen Chao, the TV programmer who headed the USA Networks channel and Sci-Fi, announced this week that he is leaving the cable company; sources said he was unhappy after seeing his power diminish in recent reorganization of the company.

In July, the company hired Michael Jackson, the former chief executive of Britain’s Channel 4, to run all of USA Networks’ entertainment businesses, including the cable channels. Jackson is expected to fill Chao’s role.