Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, August 29 »

Comcast nixed any slim hopes it will carry Big Ten Network in time for tomorrow’s launch. The MSO, taking a page from Dish Network, issued a press release saying it will offer "the best Big Ten match-ups" on its other sports channels (with schedules updated online) "without burdening our customers with the additional cost of the Big Ten Network." Comcast must be hoping that irate sports fans won’t harass its regional staffers, whose internal phone lists (dated 8/27/07) have been leaked on the Consumerist blog. BREAKING: Insight Communications today signed a deal to launch BTN tomorrow — click here for details.

NBC Universal and News Corp. announced the Interbrand– selected name for their joint video portal: Hulu. Click here for details. NBCU also confirmed it’s buying UK-based Sparrowhawk Holdings, making it the proud owner of the Hallmark Channel outside the U.S. Terms weren’t disclosed, but the Guardian estimates the sale at around $350 million (£174 million). NBCU now owns more than 30 international channels including the 18 Hallmark Channel feeds reaching 53 million viewers in 152 territories, and plans to have more than 50 global networks by 2010. NBCU is acquiring Sparrowhawk from a consortium that includes Providence Equity Partners, which earlier this month acquired a 10% stake for $100 million in the NBCU/News Corp. site now known as Hulu.

Verizon is offering a lifetime DSL price plan ($14.99/mo. for 768 Kbps, $27.99 for 3 Mbps) through Oct. 31, but has been confusing customers (notes DSL Reports) with a letter warning they need to sign new contracts to retain current pricing or they’ll be bumped to month-to-month rates. Verizon is offering a $5/mo. bundled discount for DSL + FiOS TV and a bigger discount for triple-play DSL + phone + TV.

The FCC is holding a Digital Television Consumer Education Workshop, Sept. 26 at its D.C. HQ. Representatives from NCTA, NAB and CEA will participate in panels, with the public invited to submit questions to dtvworkshop@fcc.gov.

Cox Communications "is the only major telecom company to publicly publish (online) its forms and fees for wiretaps" according to Wired, which notes that Cox has not participated in (or have any knowledge of) warrentless wiretapping.

EarthLink is cutting 900 jobs (40% of its workforce) and closing offices, diminishing the ISP’s plan to compete against big telephone and cable companies by building citywide Wi-Fi networks, notes CNET.

Adelphia‘s founding Rigas family asked a Pennsylvania state court to prevent Deloitte & Touche from withdrawing claims the auditing firm filed in 2003 against company founder John Rigas (who’s now serving time with son Tim) and family in connection with the collapse of the cable company. "The Rigas family will continue to pursue our right to a full trial on Deloitte’s claims so that a public record can be made of what really happened at Adelphia," son James Rigas said in a statement. [Dow Jones]

Cablevision added Broadcast Video Transport to its Optimum Lightpath commercial services offering.

Service Electric Cablevision is using Harmonic‘s edgeQAm suite to deploy video-on-demand in Pennsylvania.

Verizon expanded its broadband network in Maine and its FiOS TV rollout in North Pinellas County, FL.



• PROGRAMMING

Cartoon Network promoted Alice Cahn from VP of development to VP of social responsibility, a new position to coordinate initiatives such as its anti-junk food guidelines across programming, marketing and other areas.

Oxygen confirmed it’s looking for private equity to replace Clarity Partners’ "substantial" five-year investment in the network, blogs Marianne Paskowski. NBCU has been in talks about acquiring some (or all) of the network, which will be part of its Hulu.com jv with Fox (above).

TCM announced celeb guest programmers for November including Alec Baldwin, Danny DeVito, Whoopi Goldberg, Matt Groening, Rose McGowan, Martha Stewart, and Donald Trump.

TNT tonight launchs The Charm, a minute-long series of dramatized ads running within Law & Order (through Sept. 26) sponsored by Capital One, reports Mediaweek.



• ONLINE

Federal regulators cleared AOL‘s acquisition of ad targeting start-up Tacoda.

Apple‘s iTunes is now offering TV programming from ABC and Disney, and Viacom‘s MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and Paramount units in the UK. It’s the first non-U.S. deal between Apple and Viacom.

Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick joined the board of PopSugar.com owner Sugar Publishing, in which NBCU took a stake this summer.

Comcast‘s Ziddio.com launched The Lucky 21, a comedy talent search that will give the winner a spot on-stage at the Las Vegas comedy fest in November.

Google signed a multi-year deal to replace Yahoo as CNN.com‘s official ad server.

Netflix movie and TV downloads doubled in six weeks (July 7-Aug. 22) from 5 million to 10 million.

YouTube‘s video clip of Miss South Carolina’s flubbed answer at the Miss Teen USA pageant doubled to more than 7 million views in 24 hours.

Web series Afterworld (130 mini-episodes on MySpace TV) cost $3 million to produce, reports the New York Times. It also airs as half-hour TV episodes on the SCI FI channel in Australia.

Click here for Tuesday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

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