Stewart, Colbert Will Return Sans Scribes
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report will resume production Jan 7 with both shows returning to the lineup that night without their writers. Comedy Central said the return follows a scheduled two-week, end-of-year hiatus.  “We continue to hold out hope for a swift resolution to the current stalemate that will enable the shows to be complete again," Comedy said.
      
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert said: “We would like to return to work with our writers. If we cannot, we would like to express our ambivalence, but without our writers we are unable to express something as nuanced as ambivalence."

King Roger: Let ‘Em Watch Football
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt (and the media) today outlining a compromise that calls for a neutral third party to “determine the price and tier for NFL Network distribution on Time Warner systems…” The league says it is willing to have the dispute with Time Warner resolved by binding "baseball-style" arbitration. Each side would submit a final offer to an arbitrator regarding pricing and distribution of the NFL Network, and the arbitrator would choose one proposal or the other.

Goodell’s letter continues: “Because we recognize that final-offer arbitration pursuant to the attached proposal will take time, we will allow you to provide NFL Network to all Time Warner customers immediately upon your written agreement to participate in the arbitration process and to be bound by its result.”  Time Warner Cable subs are livid about missing the Dec 29 Patriots-Giants game.
 
Briefly Noted
Sundance Channel signed Faith Salie, perhaps the only Rhodes scholar doing comedy, to host Best of the Fest, the wrap-up show from the ’08 Sundance Film Festival (Jan 27, 9pm and sundancechannel.com).

Chris McCumber, SVP of  marketing and brand strategy since 2004 at USA, was promoted to EVP of marketing, digital and brand strategy. McCumber also serves as executive in charge of all WWE programming, and recently added integrated sales marketing to his responsibilities.

Altice B2B France, the country’s largest cable operator, completed its acquisition of French telecom operator Completel.  The purchase price was approximately $1.1 billion. RBC Daniels, L.P. initiated the transaction and acted as financial advisor to  Completel shareholders.

What a difference a year makes. Nearly half of those polled were aware of the digital TV transition, set for Feb 2009, a CTAM survey of 1,000 consumers says. Just 29% surveyed last year were aware of it. On the other hand, 47% this year did not know when the transition will occur. 

More product diversity at ESPN as the all-sports network has acquired SchoolSports Inc., a high school-focused sports and lifestyle media company. The company publishes RISE, Gridiron, Hardwood and GIRL magazines. Its RISE Events produces the Boost Mobile Elite 24 Hoops Classic, one of the nation’s top high school basketball events.

MTV will send out 51 citizen journalists (1 from each state and the District of Columbia) to report on local congressional races and other issues of importance to young people. The reports will be posted online as text and videos and be seen on mobile devices and heard on podcasts. MTV’s Street Team 08 project is backed by the Knight Foundation  and the Associated Press. 

Speaking of citizen journalists, CNN’s cadre captured events like the VA Tech shootings. iReport: Caught on Camera (Dec 26, 8pm) will highlight the most memorable news events of 2007 by showcasing material from these so-called iReporters, viewers and users who submitted pictures and video via cell phones, cameras and other devices.

The Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association will hold its 48th annual conference May 13-15 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, with the theme Your World. Your Connection. Oracle  Corp chairman Jeffrey Henley will keynote the group’s Wed lunch. Also confirmed is Travel Channel host Samantha Brown.

Baby Boomers (ages 43-61) would have Hillary Clinton facing Rudolph Giuliani, with Hillary as the winner, capturing 53% of the vote vs Rudy’s 47%, a TV Land poll of 800 Boomers said. Boomers were polled assuming the election were held today. For 9 of 10 Boomers, celeb endorsements of candidates play no part in their decision making, the November poll showed.

Speaking of polls, C-SPAN, Reuters and Zogby International have joined to poll Americans on the presidential election, starting with polls in key primary and caucus states. The effort starts Dec. 30 with daily tracking polls from Iowa ahead of that state’s caucuses. Of course the network will cover Iowa’s caucuses, starting at 7pm (ET) Jan 3, with the Democrat caucus on C-SPAN, and Republican caucus on C-SPAN2. On Jan 4 C-SPAN will carry events throughout NH, culminating with the primary there, Jan 8.

Tom Arnold hosts CMT’s My Big Redneck Wedding (Jan 11, 9:30pm), featuring the hitchin’ of the country’s most “down-home country couples.”

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The FCC adopted a NPRM seeking comment on how to maximize efficient use of the 500MHz of mid-band spectrum available in the 12.2-12.7GHz band. The hope of the proceeding is to further a conversation as to

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