Cable360AM — News briefing for Monday, Dec. 3 »

The distinction between broadcast and cable networks just got hazier. NBC struck a deal with a group of production partners that includes cable action-reality producer Thom Beers to run blocks of their programming on the network, the New York Times reports. Beers is one of the creators of Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch and History Channel’s Ice Road Truckers. A three-hour block of Beers’ relatively low-cost, highly popular programming could potentially air on Saturday nights, when NBC and other broadcasters typically run repeats. [New York Times]

DOCSIS 3.0-powered broadband speeds will lead Comcast’s offensive strikes in 2008 against Verizon’s FiOS TV service, according to technology website Ars Technology. To better compete against FiOS’ broadband service, which is faster than cable’s current DOCSIS 1.0 specification, Comcast will roll out the 3.0 infrastructure in 20% of its markets by the end of 2008. Customers in markets served by both Comcast and Verizon are likely to get the 3.0 upgrade first. [Ars Technica]

A court rules that TiVo’s patent case against EchoStar is valid. [TechSpot]

Media analyst John Stone tells website Rapid TV News that AT&T doesn’t need to own satellite distributor EchoStar. [Rapid TV News]

As expected, NBC Universal’s content has been removed from Apple’s iTunes Store, according The Unofficial Apple Weblog. [TUAW]

The writers strike in Hollywood could extend to March and beyond, Variety reports. [Variety]

Oregon-based cable operator BendBroadband will begin carrying American folklore and culture programmer BlueHighways TV as both a linear channel and video-on-demand option this month.

BET entertainment president Reginald Hudlin and Cablevision Systems SVP Ben Tatta will be among Cable360 and CableWorld contributor Simon Applebaum’s guests today on “Tomorrow Will Be Televised,” Simon’s Internet audio show on www.nowlive.com. The show runs live at 3 p.m. ET.

Jennifer Davidson, Cartoon Network SVP of programming and scheduling, died of a sudden illness early Saturday morning. Davidson, 38, was one of the first 15 employees hired around the time Cartoon Network was launched in 1992. She is survived by her husband John Davidson and three young children, Mitchell (7), Oliver (5) and Harper (2). Earlier this year, Davidson was selected as a 2007-08 Betsy Magness Leadership Fellow by Women in Cable Telecommunications. Viewing services will be held tomorrow, from 6-9 p.m. at The Sandy Springs Funeral Home in Sandy Springs,  GA. The funeral is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m. at Buckhead Church in Atlanta.
    In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to one of three charitable organizations the Davidsons have actively supported: FRAXA, the Fragile X Research Foundation (www.fraxa.org); the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia-lymphoma.org); and BrightPoint For Children (www.brightpointforchildren.org).

In CableFAX Daily: NCTA chief Kyle McSlarrow’s reaction to the FCC’s majority vote to cap the growth of cable operators.
Friday’s 360AM
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