Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, July 11 »
Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt blasted current chairman Kevin Martin’s wireless spectrum auction proposal, which circulated yesterday at the FCC. Martin’s proposal sparked the Wi-Fight by effectively negating auction bidder Frontline Wireless, which is headed by Hundt. [Dow Jones]
Cable operators swept J.D. Power’s latest customer satisfaction study, with Cox Communications topping 3 of the 6 regions surveyed. Click here for the results.
Speaking of which … Gemstar-TV Guide (which just tapped Maven Networks for its online video needs) could be on the block to fund co-owner News Corp.’s Dow Jones bid, according to Forbes.com and others. Dow Jones board members yesterday met with MySpace co-founder Brad Greenspan and supermarket billionaire Ron Burkle, who are merging their 11th-hour bids and soliciting other investors (most notably, EchoStar) to woo Dow Jones from Murdoch, whose $5 billion bid still seems the likely winner. [Wall Street Journal | New York Times | AP]
Cable operators must gulp when they see direct-to-consumer distribution deals like this: Walt Disney Studios yesterday launched on demand movie rentals on Microsoft‘s Xbox Live — featuring HD and standard definition titles from Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Miramax Films — while TiVo announced its subscribers can now buy or rent Amazon.com Unbox digital movie and TV downloads directly using their TiVo remote. Xbox Live now has 28 movie and TV studio deals.
Dish Network added eight regional sports networks to its DishHD programming package: Fox Sports Net Arizona, FSN Northwest, FSN Cincinnati, FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Detroit, FSN North, SportsTime Ohio, and SportsNet New York. Dish now boasts 17 RSNs in HD, with additional launches planned for Aug. 15.
Hundreds of Adelphia bankruptcy claims remain unresolved as John and Timothy Rigas head to jail next month. [Denver Post]
AT&T is one of nine cable TV entrants (including Verizon) in Florida receiving statewide video franchises. Comcast spokesman Spero Canton comments to the Miami Herald, "We’re expecting AT&T to come into the market and we feel our infrastructure, compared to AT&T’s untested video system, will do very well. We’re already competing successfully with AT&T regarding our high-speed Internet product."
• IN OTHER NEWS
BigBand Networks rose yesterday after Merrill Lynch raised its rating on the stock to Buy from Neutral. [Reuters]
Shaw Communications in Canada announced a two-for-one stock split.
The TV Critics Association annual TCA summer press tour kicks off today in Los Angeles.
BBC Worldwide America president Garth Ancier promoted Paul Telegdy to EVP of content and production, from SVP of programming and production (he oversees Dancing with the Stars on ABC); Chris Carr to COO for the BBC’s U.S. channels, from CFO of BBC America (Andrew Bott will take over BBCA’s CFO duties in his role as CFO for BBC Worldwide America); Luke Bradley-Jones was named EVP of business development and digital media, relocating to New York from his current position as head of strategy for BBC Worldwide; Candace Carlisle was promoted to EVP, co-productions and TV sales; Burton Cramer was promoted to EVP, consumer products; and Jo Petherbridge was promoted to EVP of communications for BBCWW America, from the same role at BBCA.
Break.com received an equity investment from Lionsgate, which will share its library with the male-skewing Web video site.
Google Video is being scrutinized by the National Legal and Policy Center, which released its first list of the top 50 movies and TV shows (HBO’s titles are #1) that are available in their entirety on Google. The NLPC chastised Google in its press release for not using filtering technology (like MySpace, TorrentSpy, Dailymotion and Break.com) but waiting for take-down requests from copyright owners.
United Talent Agency and Spot Runner launched a digital studio to produce short videos for the Web. 60Frames Entertainment, their joint venture formed with $3.5 million in initial backing from Tudor Investment and Bob Pittman’s Pilot Group, signed directors Joel and Ethan Coen to produce programming and serve as advisors. [Release | New York Times]
BET‘s controversial new series Hot Ghetto Mess lost Home Depot and State Farm Insurance as advertisers before its debut. BET commented, "We hope that people who might have apprehension about the title will become the show’s biggest fans once they see an episode." [AP | New York Post]
E! premieres Chelsea Lately, a reprised version of The Chelsea Handler Show, weeknights at 11:30pm starting Monday.
ESPN repeats the premiere episode of The Bronx is Burning tonight; Monday’s debut was delayed by MLB’s Home Run Derby coverage, prompting calls from irate viewers, reports the New York Post. ESPN also tapped Syntax-Brillian‘s Olevia brand as its official HDTV partner for the X Games (Aug. 2-5) and ESPN Deportes’ Pan American Games coverage (July 13-29).
HDNet released TNS Media set-top box data ("from a major market" – we’re guessing Charter Communications’ Los Angeles system) showing HDNet and HDNet Movies achieved a record share of the HD viewing audience in that market, beating cable and broadcast networks, for the week ending July 1. HDNet’s Dan Rather Reports telecast last night was criticized by the Iranian Foreign Ministry before it aired, HDNet announced.
Lifetime‘s Army Wives continued its #1 run in key demos (Women 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54) for the sixth consecutive week. Lifetime is offering the first episodes of its upcoming series on Yahoo! — State of Mind, starring Lili Taylor, and Side Order of Life, starring Marisa Coughlan and Jason Priestley.
Logo will televise (and stream online) a forum on gay issues with at least two confirmed Democratic presidential candidates—Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama—on Aug. 9. MTV Networks’ Logo is co-sponsoring the Los Angeles forum with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
Men’s Outdoor & Recreation this month adds "Catch Us If You Can Thursdays," a Matthews Solocam-sponsored four-hour weekly block of archery and hunting shows.
Outdoor Channel announced six fishing series it will premiere through next year.
VH1 premieres new series The Fab Life Presents: My Big Fat Fabulous Wedding on July 26.
Warner Bros. continued its day-and-date tests with Comcast and Time Warner Cable with yesterday’s release of The Astronaut Farmer simultaneously on DVD and on HD video on demand.
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