Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, Feb. 7 »

It’s February 7. One week to go before Valentines Day. Gentlemen, forget it and you’ll regret it. Good morning.

The writers strike has claimed additional episodes of FX’s Dirt and The Riches, The Hollywood Reporter says, essentially ending the series’ second season in midstream. Although fewer episodes will be seen, chances for season three renewals will not be harmed by the move. Dirt  premieres March 2 and stars Courteney Cox. The Riches premiere date will be announced next week.  [Hollywood Reporter]

Discovery Communications hired former People magazine publisher Kathleen Kayse as EVP, Digital Sales. Most recently she was EVP, Marketing Solutions for AOL’s Platform-A organization. Kayse will lead the development of digital ad sales strategies for Discovery’s Web properties.  She will also be charged with creating new client relationships and generating revenue from targeted major advertisers through the use of Discovery’s multi-platform assets.

The hotly contested local New York Emmys nominations went out this morning. Among the sports networks, MSG Network grabbed a pack-leading 50, the NY Yankees’ YES Net took 25, the Comcast, Time Warner Cable and NY Mets’-owned regional SNY pulled 16, with FSN New York getting two. The awards will be made in April.

Rep John Dingell (D-MI) wants to interview artificial heart inventor Dr Robert Jarvik about his commercials for Lipitor, The NY Times reports. Dingell’s House Committee on Energy and Commerce wants to know when and why Jarvik began taking Lipitor and whether the ads give the public a false impression. “It seems that Pfizer’s No. 1 priority is to sell lots of Lipitor, by whatever means necessary, including misleading the American people,” the Times quotes Dingell as saying. [The NY Times]

The Wall Street Journal characterizes Time Warner as “a sleepy company” and gives props to new boss Jeff Bewkes for his “hard-charging tone” during his first call yesterday with investors. As expected, Bewkes said he plans to cut costs and perhaps sell off Time Warner Cable and bits of AOL. [WSJ]

The Cable Center launched a Planned Giving Program with print and online components that allows for a variety of giving vehicles from simple bequests, gifts of real estate and retirement plan assets, to Charitable Remainder Trusts and Charitable Gift Annuities. The Cable Center says it’s the first cable industry non-profit to have such a program.

Briefly Noted

Jon Stewart has pulled out of hosting duties for tonight’s heavy hitter Paley Center fundraiser honoring Sumner Redstone. The Daily Show host apparently made the  move in solidarity with striking writers, The Hollywood Reporter says. [THR]

The Journal profiles Kevin Johnson, a key player in Microsoft’s bid for Yahoo. [WSJ]

The NY Times chronicles the newspaper industry’s woes, saying major downsizing at large papers is no longer considered a big story. [NY Times]

North of the border Canadians are embroiled in a debate over the Canadian  Television  Fund, a public-private partnership that finances Canadian TV programs, including Degrassi, shown here on The N. Canadian cable firms, such as Shaw Cable, believe they should not be taxed to fund programming that is shown on public television.
[Globe and Mail] [The Hollywood Reporter]

Cisco’s profit rose 7.2%, but it’s concerned that an economic slowdown could hurt technology spending. [NYTimes]

Al Gore’s Current said today it reached a distribution agreement with SKY Italia that calls for an Italian version of Current TV. The deal will add 4.24 million households to the network’s global reach, making Current TV available in 56 million households worldwide. In addition to the U.S., Current is also in  the U.K. 
In today’s CableFAX Daily: Time Warner Cable pushes HD.

Yesterday’s AM Update

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The Daily


DOJ Requires Divestitures in Gray’s Quincy Buy

The DOJ will require Gray Television and Quincy Media to divest 10 broadcast television stations in seven local markets as a condition of resolving a challenge to Gray’s proposed $925 million of Quincy.

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