Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, Oct. 31 »

Monday night’s Green Bay Packers-Denver Broncos game on ESPN’s Monday Night Football scored a 10.5 rating and an average of 10.16 million homes, its biggest cable telecast in 2007. Last week’s MNF (Colts vs. Jaguars) topped cable ratings for the week ending Oct. 28 with 9.22 million homes and 12.5 million viewers. ESPN’s October ratings are off 14% from Oct. 2006, notes Variety, putting TBS in first place this month with an average 3.1 million viewers (up 123% over Oct. 2006) thanks to its first-ever carriage of nine baseball-playoff games. TBS edged out ESPN, at #2 for the month with 3 million avg. total primetime viewers while Disney Channel was #3, averaging 2.9 million in primetime, and USA #4 with 2.6 million average total viewers in prime.

With the FCC voting unanimously today to ban exclusive deals between cable operators and apartment-building owners (making Verizon happy), the agency’s open commission meeting will also look at public access television and who should pay for it. The FCC is expected to decide whether to allow cable companies to "renegotiate their contracts for their own benefit," reports the New Hampshire Union Leader.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts met with FCC chairman Kevin Martin and four other FCC commissioners Friday — but not to discuss the FCC’s pending exclusivity ban. Roberts and his team highlighted Comcast and the cable industry’s commitment to the OpenCable standard (reports over the CEA’s alternative proposal for third-party CE devices ahead of the 2009 DTV transition.

Congress yesterday extended the Internet Tax Freedom Act, continuing the ban on state and local Internet-access fees through 2014. Comcast NH hailed Sen. John Sununu’s role; the LA Times has more.

DirecTV today launches the NHL Network HD full-time (as promised) on channel 215, which also carries the SD channel for non HDTV-viewers. Time Warner Cable‘s Buffalo and Western NY market tonight adds the NHL Network on a digital sports tier (in standard-def, and will black out Buffalo Sabres games) plus Versus HD, but not on a tier. 

With tonight’s start of regular season NBA games, Dish Network has launched NBA TV HD, as has DirecTV. RCN, meanwhile, is offering a free preview of the NBA League Pass out-of-market games package.

MASN and Suddenlink are locked in a stand-off in NC, where MASN wants expanded basic carriage and Suddenlink is pushing for a digital tier. Greenville’s Daily Reflector has more.

AT&T‘s U-verse has expanded its Detroit footprint, while its battle in Connecticut was addressed at a state DPUC meeting yesterday but still hangs on a Superior Court judicial ruling, reports the Connecticut Post.

LIN TV and MetroCast reached a retransmission consent agreement to offer LIN’s local broadcast stations in HD and analog in Eastern CT.

New Yorkers watch more HDTV than any other U.S. market, according to Nielsen. About 17.5% of NYC’s 7.4 million TV households are "HD receivable," meaning the household owns a high-def TV and tuner and receives one or more HD channels. Another 41,000 NYC households own HDTV sets but do not subscribe to the channels.

Google is in advanced talks with Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel about selling handsets tailored to its new mobile-phone operating system, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Consumers will soon be able to sign up for "do not track" lists to shield their Web surfing actions from marketers, reports the New York Times, with AOL launching a website that will allow Web users to opt out of online direct marketing pitches.

Ganging up on Facebook, a consortium led by Google (reports the NYT) will develop open standards to allow software developers to write programs for Google’s social network, Orkut, and others including LinkedIn, hi5, Friendster, Plaxo and Ning.

Windstream will bundle TiVo DVR service with its own high-speed Internet services in the first half of next year.

BigBand Networks announced it will shed 15% of its workforce and stop offering its Cuda CMTS line.

• Catching up? Read yesterday’s Cable360AM briefing >

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