Cable360AM — News briefing for Tuesday, Sept. 4 »

Breaking: Discovery Communications re-hired John Ford today as president & GM of Discovery Times and the Military Channel. Click here for details.

Apple
swatted back at NBC Universal Friday, announcing iTunes will pull NBCU TV programming this month (including previews of NBC‘s new fall shows) in response to a press leak that it won’t renew its iTunes deal, which expires in December. [AP | New York Times | Los Angeles Times | Wall Street Journal]

EchoStar won’t meet the Feb. 17, 2009, deadline to offer more than 1,500 local broadcast TV channels as digital signals. "Given the magnitude of the switch-over on the DBS infrastructure, even conducting the transition over a matter of many months would be a substantial hurdle," the company told the FCC. [SkyReport]

Comcast, meanwhile, called broadcasters’ dual must-carry demands "illegal and counter-productive" in its DTV transition comments to the FCC last week, while the NCTA’s latest DTV comments called on broadcasters to make public their digital transition plans by Dec. 1. [The Morning Bridge]

Sony is planning to launch a video-downloading service that will work on its range of products. Following on last week’s launch of a video-enabled Walkman, Sony CEO Howard Stringer is planning to use Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable, along with its Bravia high-definition televisions, to develop products and services to let users download TV shows and movies. Sony is also unifying its DRM and tapped Limelight Networks to unify delivery of PlayStation content. [Wall Street Journal]

Comcast is testing self-install kits for its Comcast Digital Voice telephone service in San Francisco, a savings of $200-$300 per service call. It plans to expand the DIY kits to Boston, Denver and Philadelphia by March. Cablevision launched self-installed phone service in 2005. [Bloomberg]

Jonathan Miller, former AOL CEO, and former Fox Interactive Media head Ross Levinsohn have joined forces to form Velocity Investment Group, a multimillion dollar investment fund focused on online video and Web advertising. They’re being backed by General Atlantic, a private equity firm. [Wall Street Journal]

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was rebuffed Friday when the state’s Department of Public Utility Control denied his request to stop AT&T from signing up U-verse customers. [Hartford Courant]

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts will deliver a keynote address on Jan. 8 at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show, marking the first time a cable industry CEO will address CES.

The FCC on Friday approved the three remaining Baby Bells — AT&T, Verizon and Qwest — to combine their local and long-distance businesses without being subject to additional "dominant carrier" regulations. [Reuters | Wall Street Journal]

The Big Ten Network‘s first weekend saw Appalachian State beat Michigan in a dramatic upset — but AP asks, "Who saw it?"

The blogosphere is re-buzzing that the Google Phone is coming. [Engadget | Boston Globe | LA Times] The Wall Street Journal noted Google’s wireless phone ambitions a month ago, while Open Gardens blogged in March about the 100-staffer Google Phone team.

TNT will test the FCC’s equal time rules by not pulling Law & Order episodes featuring Republican presidential wannabe/actor Fred Thompson, reports AP. NBC stopped airing L&O repeats with Thompson on Sept. 1. Thompson is slated to officially declare his bid in a webcast Thursday.

AT&T today launches its broadest parental controls yet, giving parents the ability to block text messages and calling during school hours. [Wall Street Journal]

Sprint expanded its mobile content deal with the NFL ahead of Thursday’s regular season kick-off.

Work for a great company? Nominations are open for CableWorld‘s 2007 Top 10 Places to Work in Cable. Click here for the nomination form, due Monday, Sept. 17. Nominations are also open for CableWorld‘s 2007 Most Powerful Women in Cable list. Click here to nominate your muse/heroine/role model by Oct. 1.

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• Got a tip? Contact Shirley Brady at sbrady@accessintel.com

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Public Knowledge Stands Against NCTA in Maine

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