Cable360AM — News briefing for Monday, Dec. 17 »

Striking writers in the Cable360 newsroom were gently reminded that they are not members of the WGA. Good morning.

David Letterman is working on an interim deal with the Writers Guild of America to allow his writers to return to work, the New York Times reports. Letterman’s Late Show, which airs on CBS, is owned by his production company, Worldwide Pants. The Late Show, as well as other late-night talk shows, could conceivably return to the airwaves while the strike continues, as reported in Friday’s 360AM.
    Beginning today, studios and production companies will have to bargain with the Writers Guild individually instead of as a united front. Studios reacted to the guild’s enactment of what it claims to be its legal right to bargain individually with them by signing a statement of unity, Reuters reports. [New York Times | Reuters]

Showtime made a deal for 20 half-hour episodes of U.K. series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Variety reports. Former HBO chief and current executive at agency IMG Chris Albrecht brought the series to Showtime. [Variety]

Emeril Lagasse taped his last episode of Emeril Live last week for the Food Network, which has canceled the show. Essence of Emeril remains in production for now, says the New York Times. Total day ratings for the network have been slipping. The Times also reports that the network has been unhappy about not sharing in profits from some of its star chefs’ outside merchandising. Rachael Ray, meanwhile, re-upped with Food. [New York Times]

A state senator in Texas writes in the Austin American-Statesman that it was the NFL that decided to pull eight games off of broadcast this year and add them to its NFL Network schedule. The league, therefore, and not cable operators, should be blamed for making the games unavailable to fans. The legislator also points out that this issue isn’t worthy of the attention it’s been getting.
    Comcast filed a lawsuit Thursday with the New York State Supreme Court against the NFL, claiming the league’s public efforts to get viewers to end their cable subscriptions violates the terms of a contract between the NFL and Comcast. [Austin American-Statesman | ESPN.com]

AT&T’s U-verse TV launched in central Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reports. U-verse carries the NFL Network. [Columbus Dispatch]

The federal government might take it easy on telecom firms that cooperate with national security needs, the Times reported Sunday. [New York Times]

Comcast launched its non-partisan voter education and registration campaign Our Time to Vote, which will continue through next year’s presidential election. The centerpiece of the $5 million campaign is a series of multicultural public service announcements that will run in markets served by cable operators Time Warner Cable, Cox, Bright House Networks and Comcast. Comcast also created an online resource, www.ourtimetovote.com, to support the initiative.

Join CableFAX executive editor Michael Grebb and editor-in-chief Amy Maclean, along with panelists NCTA SVP, law and regulatory policy, Dan Brenner, Fleischman & Harding’s Seth Davidson and uber cable guru Steve Effros on Wed., Dec. 19, for the Cable360.net Webinar: “Regulation Redux: How to Navigate the FCC in 2008.” It’ll all happen only a day after the FCC’s controversial planned vote on cable ownership caps at the Dec 18. meeting, so don’t miss out. Click here to register.
    "The cable industry has perhaps never felt quite as beseiged by an FCC chairman," says CableFAX’s Grebb. "But Kevin Martin seems determined to fulfill his vision despite protests by the industry, lawmakers and even some fellow commissioners. That’s why it’s more important than ever for cable execs at all levels to fully understand the complexity of what’s going on at the FCC. We’re hoping this Webinar will clarify matters and help cable execs get a full grasp of the situation."
Friday’s 360AM.

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