Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, July 13 »

Gemstar-TV Guide is moving out of News Corp.’s Manhattan HQ in mid-December as the company prepares for a possible sale. News Corp. holds 42% of Gemstar, which announced Monday it’s on the block, fuelling speculation that Rupert Murdoch is pushing for a sale to bolster his Dow Jones bid. [Hollywood Reporter]

The Wall Street Journal‘s "Numbers Guy," Carl Bialik, debunks cable and satellite TV operators’ competing claims for HD domination today. "100 HD Channels or bust" DirecTV‘s Pam Anderson spot claiming its high-def picture quality beats cable four-to-one (in a survey of installers) was questioned by Bialik, but Jon Gieselman, DirecTV’s SVP of advertising and PR, declined to respond because it’s suing Comcast over HD claims. However, "a DirecTV spokeswoman did say that the home-theater installers worked with more than one TV service, including some cable companies." Comcast doesn’t get off easy: its claim that satellite customers prefer its HD picture quality over their own providers’ has a "margin of victory [that] narrows when cable customers are included in the blind test." [Download Comcast’s HD Challenge results here.] More on Bialik’s blog.

NFL Network signed a deal with Everest Connections, a Lenexa, KS-based cable operator serving 38,000 subscribers, reports the Kansas City Star. The deal covers its eight regular-season telecasts and its 52 preseason games this season. The eight-game package starts with the Hall of Fame exhibition game between Pittsburgh and New Orleans on Aug. 5. Its first-regular season telecast will be on Thanksgiving with Super Bowl champion Indianapolis visiting Atlanta. Comcast will carry the NFL Network’s eight-game package as live telecasts on its digital sports tier.

ESPN‘s Dan Patrick, whose last day (after 18 years with ESPN) is Aug. 18, is joining radio veteran/former AOL interactive sales SVP Jimmy de Castro’s new broadcasting venture, The Content Factory, which will distribute and customize broadcasting content for traditional and new media channels.

Comcast hired Lindsey Dickinson, a staffer for Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, to join its lobbying team in Washington as senior director of federal government affairs; she served as legislative counsel, lead telecommunications counsel, and primary liaison with the Senate Commerce Committee for Hutchison. Danielle Rodier, a graduate of Temple’s Beasley School of Law, also joined Comcast’s Federal Government Affairs team as policy counsel.

Cablevision announced static IP addresses for its Optimum Online Boost premium tier Internet cuttomers; the permanent addresses are being marketed to residential and small-/medium-sized business customers in its footprint.

Ahead of Monday’s scheduled talks between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America, CBS head Leslie Moonves, the Walt Disney Co.‘s Anne Sweeney, Warner Bros. chairman Barry Meyer and chief studio negotiator Nicholas Counter want to defer their decision on multiplatform pay by commissioning a study. [Hollywood Reporter]

Is Sprint only terminating customer service junkies it considers rebate scammers? [Consumerist]



• PROGRAMMING

*Coming up this weekend: Monk returns to USA tonight for season 6 (featuring the scene-stealing return of Sarah Silverman); Lifetime‘s new original series, State of Mind and Side Order of Life, premiere Sunday night, along with TLC‘s A Model Live With Petra Nemcova. Click here for Seth Arenstein’s reviews.

AMC‘s Mad Men series (July 19) praised as "one of the best-written, all-around sparkling works to come along in many a summer season," by the Wall Street Journal‘s Dorothy Rabinowitz, despite what she calls "flaws and false notes" in its depiction of 1960 Madison Avenue.

CNBC plans to share its content with the Financial Times to bolster their respective websites, reports the Wall Street Journal.

GAC will air a Keith Urban special on July 14, 9pm ET.

NBCU‘s cable networks, ahead of wooing TV critics at TCA on Sunday, previewed some of its announcements to Variety: Bravo renewed Top Chef (a no-brainer); USA will anchor Thursdays with Law & Order: Criminal Intent at 10pm starting Oct. 4; and SCI FI is developing Going Homer, a six-hour miniseries from Farscape alumni Ben Browder and Andrew Prowse, while Tin Man, its Wizard of Oz-inspired miniseries, will air late this year. NBCU will also release a ratings analysis showing the three networks accounted for 67 of the top 100 cable series between January-June.

Nickelodeon premieres its first exclusive Web series, Nick Cannon’s Star Camp, on July 22nd. The reality competiton series is produced by Quincy Jones and his son Quincy Jones III’s QD3 Productions. [Hollywood Reporter]

SOAPnet (despite rumors) is going ahead with its Aug. 1st premiere of its first non-soaps-based reality series, The Fashionista Diaries, despite the closure this week of Jane magazine. The series, which follows interns at Jane Pratt’s now defunct publication, will include the magazine’s closure (which occurs about half-way through the season) and the interns’ subsequent placement at a new (still to be determined) publication.

Starz premieres Starz Movie News: 2007 Film Your Issue tomorrow.

Sundance Channel digital SVP Christopher Barry blogs on Google’s corporate blog about its new Eco-mmunity mapping feature pegged to The Green, its eco-initiative.

Click here for Thursday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

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