Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, June 29 »
Apple head Steve Jobs and new AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defend the iPhone’s use of AT&T’s slow Edge wireless data network in today’s New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The overly hyped handset, which finally goes on sale today, will use Wi-Fi networks to pick up the slack, although Jobs tells the NYT: "Edge is good, but you’d like it to be faster." Jobs tells the WSJ, "We started off thinking we should do an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and in talking that through with AT&T, both of us came to the realization that would just be a big waste of energy. We’d be trying to duplicate a lot of things they were already doing at a much greater scale. And we came to this … simple partnership: Let AT&T be AT&T. They’ve forgotten more about running a network than we’ll ever know. And let Apple be Apple. We think we know how to design a great phone." Users will be the judge of that at 6pm.
If today is (Fr)iDay, Sunday is CableCards Day as the July 1st deadline looms for cable operators to comply with the FCC’s order to provide set-top boxes with removable security modules. As Comcast VP of engineering Charlie Kennamer quipped at SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo this month, "If you’re a cable operator and you don’t already know this stuff, you should be back home figuring it out." More on the industry’s CableCards deadline in USA Today and Newsday. Click here for CableFAX’s scoop on Cablevision’s CableCards limits.
Terayon‘s stockholders approved the company’s acquisition by Motorola. Motorola will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Terayon’s common stock for $1.80/share in cash, without interest. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter. Comcast certified TiVo‘s software, which will be integrated in Motorola set-tops, TiVo stated in an SEC filing.
Blockbuster announced it will close 282 stores, about the same number it shuttered last year, a day after settling a suit with Netflix. [Bloomberg]
A twist in WWE‘s Chris Benoit saga: someone in Stamford, CT (WWE’s corp. hometown) noted on Benoit’s Wikipedia entry that his wife’s death was the reason he missed Saturday’s pay-per-view event — 14 hours before police discovered the Benoits’ bodies, baffling WWE officials. The poster’s IP address is linked to a Cablevision Optimum Online account, not WWE’s IP address. [AP | CNET | New York Post] AP update: a Wikipedia user with the same IP address as the Benoit-page tweaker admitted to the posting, based on rumors. Nancy Grace also addressed the controversy on Headline News last night; her panel included WWE wrestler Chris Jericho, who debunked media errors and discussed the Benoit he knew over the years as a colleague, mentor and friend; Pro Wrestling Insider recaps.
ABC Family‘s "Fallen Trilogy Weekend" reprises Fallen‘s two-hour debut (from July ’06) on Aug. 3 to refresh viewers ahead of new episodes running Aug. 4/5.
AmericanLife TV shuffles its primetime lineup Monday, with The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 8pm, Newhart at 8:30pm, WKRP in Cincinnati at 9pm and The Bob Newhart Show at 9:30pm.
BBC World News released a commissioned study that (naturally) indicates a demand for the channel’s 24/7 international news service in the U.S. While CNN ranked first in the U.S. survey (51%) the BBC World News brand was second with 24%, beating Fox News Channel (23%) and local newspapers or the Internet. BBC World News outscored CNN for "net credibility among the opinion elite" (defined as "most credible minus those describing as least credible") with a score of 37% vs 13% for CNN and -37% for Fox News. BBC Worldwide yesterday announced record profits in 2006 and its intention to open a NYC office to produce programming for U.S. cable networks.
BET will premiere five new series in July: starting nightly on July 9, Hell Date, a blind-dating show, and Take the Cake, a late-night (11pm) interactive game show; starting weekly on July 10, Baldwin Hills, a Laguna Beach-like reality series about spoiled teens; and starting July 25, Socially Offensive Behavior (S.O.B.), a hidden camera series hosted by D.L. Hughley; and Hot Ghetto Mess, weekly look at "the good, the bad and the ugly of Black popular culture," hosted by Chappelle Show alum Charlie Murphy.
CNN attracted 3.2 million viewers for Larry King’s Paris Hilton interview, the network’s highest rated Larry King Live telecast since Sept. 21, 2005.
Court TV premieres Bounty Girls on Aug. 9, a nine-episode series followingfour women and their male boss at a Miami-based bail bonds agency.
ESPN was slapped with a lawsuit by a former makeup artist on ESPN2’s defunct Cold Pizza sexual harassment by former host Jay Crawford and pundit Woody Paige, who still contributes to ESPN’s Around the Horn. [Wall Street Journal]
MTVN‘s gay channel Logo signed more than 100 advertisers and doubled to 27 million homes in 2 years, while Here! Networks now attracts 3 million unique visitors per month on iTunes and online, at the same time that gay media outlet PlanetOut is suffering, notes a Wall Street Journal profile.
TBS will announce the All-Star Game picks Sunday, after the conclusion of the Florida Marlins-Atlanta Braves game; Major League Baseball registered 11.8 million votes on MLB.com for the July 10th All-Star Game in San Francisco.
TLC will add Street Customs to its "Turbo on TLC" Thursday primetime block this fall.
The MPAA sued Peekvid.com and YouTVpc for illegally posting copyrighted material. [Bloomberg]
MTV launched WannaBeMade.com to support tomorrow’s new season of Made.
Discovery Communications named new network CFOs, reporting to U.S. Networks EVP/CFO Neal Kirsch: Kristen Welch, CFO, Discovery Channel and The Science Channel; Ben Teicher, CFO, Animal Planet, Discovery Kids Media and Planet Green; and Doug Baker, Discovery Health Media Enterprises and Digital Media, Emerging Networks and Business Development; while a CFO for TLC is yet to be named.
Lifetime president of ad sale and EVP/GM Lynn Picard announced her resignation; the 13-year veteran’s ad sales duties will be handled by SVPs Rick Basso and John Matluck until a replacement is named.
MTV Networks promoted Dario Spina to SVP, integrated marketing; from SVP, marketing at Spike TV.
MTV Tr3s promoted Jesus Lara to SVP, music and talent; and hired Michael Galbe as VP, music and talent.
NBC Universal and News Corp. hired Jason Kilar as CEO of their still unnamed online video joint venture; his current title (he starts July 9) is SVP, worldwide application software, Amazon.com.
Time Warner Cable EVP of corporate affairs Lynn Yaeger will retire at year-end but stay on as a consultant.
* CableWorld welcomes nominations for the 2007 Most Influential Minorities in Cable — click here to nominate an executive of color.