360AM — Morning news briefing for Friday, Apr. 20

Cablevision CEO Jim Dolan confirmed negotiations with Major League Baseball for the Extra Innings out-of-market games package. "I think we’ll get a deal done—hopefully we’ll get a deal done," he told New York radio station WFAN this week. As for carrying MLB’s 2009-launching Baseball Channel on a basic tier, a condition of MLBEI carriage, Dolan said, "We could. We have to work out the details. We want a deal like the other guys," meaning In Demand‘s owners at Comcast, Cox, Time Warner Cable and Advance/Newhouse‘s Bright House Networks — not to mention DirecTV. [Biz of Baseball]

In the wake of this week’s tragedy at Virginia Tech, Bright House Networks is helping the University of Central Florida create an emergency alert system to run on campus televisions. The school "also is considering installing sirens and using electronic text messages," writes the Orlando Sentinel. "University system officials say that advancing technology provides a growing array of options for broadcasting alerts. Using more than one makes sense, they contend, because no individual system could reach everyone."

Comcast flips the switch and goes all-digital in Delaware in Tuesday, writes the Wilmington News-Journal; earlier this week the company announced a new call center that will create 800 full-time jobs in the market. It’s going all-digital in Chicago on July 1. [Chicago Tribune & Sun-Times]

About 10,000 Time Warner Cable customers are without service in Maine following last week’s Northeastern storm. [WCSH]

Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are ramping up cellphone-based Web search efforts. "They have thrown tens of millions of dollars and armies of programmers at the problem, seeking to develop tools that people on the move can actually use," writes the New York Times. "The biggest growth areas are clearly going to be in the mobile space," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said at NAB this week, adding: "Mobile, mobile, mobile." Google has built a prototype phone with its own software inside, a NYT source reports. So far, only Sprint has signed a search partner, Microsoft, among major U.S. carriers.

Viacom Inc. noted in a proxy field with the SEC that former CEO Tom Freston’s compensation last year was valued at $89.3 million $58.9 million in salary, an annual cash bonus and deferred compensation. Current Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman’s 2006 compensation package was valued at $11.2 million, which includes a salary of $653,846, a $2 million bonus and $7.7 million in stock options. Company chairman and founder Sumner Redstone’s 2006 compensation package was valued at $16.4 million, which includes a $3 million salary, $5.5 million bonus and stock options valued at $4.1 million. [Dow Jones]

BlackBerry users are fuming over this week’s outage that left 5 million users without service, reports the Wall Street Journal. Blackberry’s support page doesn’t explain the outage, and there’s no message on the homepage (or even a press release) addressing what went wrong and what they’re doing about it; ditto for parent company Research in Motion‘s website.

Former Morgan Stanley analyst Rich Bilotti resurfaced today — he’s joined the board of directors at Vyyo, the cable tech firm whose CEO is former Charter CTO Wayne Davis and whose vice chairman is former Time Warner Cable CTO/OpenTV CEO Jim Chiddix. [Release]

Circuit City and Napster launched a music download service for $14.95/mo. [Release]

Rocky Mountain News looks at how Qwest has fared since former CEO Joe Nacchio’s departure; he was convicted yesterday of 19 of 42 insider trading charges.

Next week is TV Turn-Off Week.


* Click here for our guide to eco-themed programming on cable pegged to Earth Day this weekend.

ABC Family announced its first animated series, Slacker Cats, and the acquisition of America’s Funniest Home Videos (starting this fall) at its ad sales upfront this morning in New York. A new series, Greek, will be joined by returning series Kyle XY, Lincoln Heights and Wildfire. [Variety]

BBC America‘s original movie After Thomas, about an autistic child’s relationship with a golden retriever named Thomas, premieres Sunday at 8pm ET/PT.

CNN Headline News will air a five-minute version Suzanne Roberts’ interview with Kitty Carlisle Hart, who passed away this week at age 96, at 11:55am, 4:55pm and 9:55pm on Monday. Roberts (mother of Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts) hosts Seeking Solutions with Suzanne, a talk show that airs on Comcast’s CN8 regional network and on Comcast systems nationwide as a half-hour show. She also produces five-minute segments that run on Headline News. [Release]

Discovery Channel will premiere a Ted Koppel special, Living with Cancer, on May 6. [Release]

HBO‘s "fan" tribute, The 7-Minute Sopranos, turns out to be the brainchild of HBO employee Joe Sabia, gasps the New York Times. Sabia, whose title is HBOlab creative, works for the network’s LA-based new media division led by Fran Shea. Sabia produces original content for platforms such as HBO’s comedy website, This Just In, and created the YouTube hit Sopranos recap with a pal. He also spoke at a conference this week.

History Channel‘s Sherman’s March docudrama on Sunday got a rave review in today’s WSJ.

IFC premieres its first original web series, Getting Away with Murder, on May 13. Why Mother’s Day? The theme is "What do you do that your mom doesn’t know about?" Here’s a sneak peek. IFC also signed Skyy vodka to sponsor its Blue Room block of Saturday night movies starting tomorrow.

Lifetime premieres original movie A Life Interrupted Monday night; click here for Seth Arenstein and Maggie Bellville’s CableWorld review and podcast.

Logo premieres The Big Gay Sketch Show on Tuesday; executive producers include Rose O’Donnell and former EP’s on Kids in the Hall and MadTV [Washington Blade]. On Apr. 28 premieres Freddie Mercury: Magic Remixed, a tribute to the former Queen singer; content will also be available on mobile to Sprint, Verizon, Helio and Amp’d customers [The Advocate].

NBC, TV Guide and Oreo are teaming up for a watch-and-sniff promotion for My Name is Earl. Oreo-scented scratch and sniff cards exclusive to TV Guide will tie into the May 3 episode [Release]. NBC also plans Sunday night movies (Along Came Polly, National Treasure and Shrek) during May sweeps, when it will also trim Deal or No Deal to once a week. [Hollywood Reporter]

Showtime‘s upcoming series with David Duchovny (Californication and Yoga Man) noted in this Q&A with the actor in the Washington Post.

Sundance Channel EVP/GM Laura Michalchyshyn, who this week introduced enviro-block The Green ahead of Earth Day, tells the Wall Street Journal there may be a glut of eco-programming on TV: "There’s going to be a business reckoning for all of us."

WE tv debuts original series Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter (sans original gun-shopping scene) tonight at 9pm ET.

Shirley Brady

• Click here for 360AM news briefing for Thursday, Apr. 19 >>

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