Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, Sept. 7 »

Dish Network yesterday reached an agreement to launch the Big Ten Network on its America’s Top 100 expanded basic package. Dish offers two games in high-def tomorrow (Akron at Ohio State and Syracuse at Iowa) and launches BTN’s full-time HD simulcast channel next week.

BTN president Mark Silverman told the Lansing State Journal this week he’s still hopeful for a Comcast deal. "If this is not on Comcast by Nov. 3 … I’ve got to think things are already gonna be … It definitely should be in place," he said. "I really, really hope so." Comcast Midwest spokesman Jerome Espy commented, "There is a number, I guess, that we could come to. The Big Ten Network cut off talks, actually. We’re still willing to get back in talks for the customer. We feel the sports tier is the best place for it, but we’re willing to talk." Silverman "expressed surprise" at Espy’s comment because "Comcast has never given an indication that it would budge on placement." Stay tuned.

DirecTV is getting ready to launch its supersized HD offering, notes TVPredictions. Yesterday the satellite TV service touted its HD coverage of the 2007 MLB postseason by carrying both Fox and TBS‘s HD broadcasts. TBS in HD launches on the satellite TV service shortly as one of its "70 HD networks in September, 100 HD nets by year-end" commitment. Separately, DirecTV joined the HomePlug Powerline Alliance.

In other high-def news, Mark Cuban’s HDNet Films is being folded as Cuban, who also owns (with Todd Wagner) 2929 Productions and Magnolia Pictures, aims to consolidate his film businesses. "When we started [HDNet Films] we needed to convince people to produce in HD. That’s no longer the case," Cuban tells Indiewire. The day-and-date pioneer’s latest release, Brian De Palma’s Redacted, has been a hit at the Venice and Toronto film festivals; five other HDNet Films are en route to theaters and cable. 

CEA pres/CEO Gary Shapiro today talked up Comcast chairman/CEO Brian Roberts’ upcoming (and first) keynote at CES — in his own keynote address, at the IBC2007 conference in Amsterdam.

Cable stocks are no longer an investor’s fallback during tough times, reports Reuters. Higher cable bills that bundle video, high-speed online and phone service, and the housing slump’s impact on operators, have led some analysts to question "whether cable is still a defensive stock."

Apple‘s marketing stumble leading to Steve Jobs’ iGoofed and $100 credit to iPhone owners yesterday isn’t the half of it, writes Fortune. The new wireless iPod touch (with a lowercase ‘t’) spells trouble for wireless operators, including Apple’s iPhone exclusive reseller, AT&T.

MTV Networks announced two dozen websites launching through the 1st quarter of ’08, including, a Comedy Central-incubated site that will offer a video library of professional and amateur comedians’ jokes; and a souped up site for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. is expanding its broadband video content to stream four Warner Bros.-produced TV series (including this fall’s early buzz-getter, Pushing Daisies) in what Disney and Warner describe as an "experimental" deal.

Charter Communications conducted a month-long test in St. Louis this summer of VOD ad sales that brought ExpoTV‘s user-provided video reviews of products, movies and more onto local VOD, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Cox Communications and Charter face a Sept. 18 deadline to renew their TV deals with the New Orleans Hornets, reports the Times-Picayune. Separately, Cox pledged $2 million to fund UL Lafayette athletics yesterday, the largest sponsorship in the school’s history.

Cox Communications‘ broadcast sibling, Cox Television, launched a new ad sales unit, Cox Cross Media, to bolster cross-platform selling.

Comcast, Cox and Time Warner Cable execs touted cable’s ad sales platform as superior to broadcasters’ offerings for candidates in the coming election year at a forum for campaign managers and other politicos in D.C. [Mediaweek]

The California PUC voted unanimously to drop wireless phone surcharges by 40% starting in January. [AP]

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