Cable360AM — News briefing for Thursday, August 16 »

Based on this SEC filing, rumors started flying yesterday that Charter Communications chairman Paul Allen is looking at taking the company private or selling it. By indicating that the company’s controlling shareholder is open to exploring his options — as Allen has stated over the years — a flurry of speculation followed in Reuters, CNNMoney, AP, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Wall Street Journal, where Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield commented, "Charter should and will be acquired eventually. I just don’t find the reference in the SEC filing as groundbreaking information. Charter is always looking at strategic alternatives."

U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement yesterday filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling in Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. In the case, which will be heard by the Supreme Court in October, Charter shareholders sued Motorola and S-A for allegedly helping Charter inflate its financial performance. The suit was dismissed by a Missouri district-court judge, who cited a 1994 Supreme Court ruling that third parties working with public companies can’t be sued by that company’s shareholders for aiding and abetting in a fraud. [Dow Jones | Financial Times | Wall Street Journal | Reuters]

The city of Walnut Creek, CA, settled with AT&T over its 2005 federal and state suits to stop the telco’s Project Lightspeed (the fiberoptic rollout that precedes each U-verse market launch) expansion without a franchise agreement. Walnut Creek agreed to issue permits for Project Lightspeed without a city franchise in light of California’s statewide video rules, while AT&T agreed to comply with the city’s conditions. [San Jose Mercury News]

Comcast filed a petition with the FCC seeking basic cable rate deregulation in nine South Texas cities. [Galveston Daily News]

The Washington Post‘s blog takes Comcast to task for alleged slipshod CableCard installations, while two irate Comcast customers in South Florida have threatened violence over perceived customer service slights.

M2Z Networks, a consortium of tech companies seeking to offer free Wi-Fi across the U.S. by using 25Mhz of unused wireless spectrum to offer broadband, said the FCC is shooting down its proposal because of pressure by "big cell" companies including Verizon and AT&T. [Dow Jones]

Embarq, the #4 local phone service provider, plans to test its own TV service while continuing to offer EchoStar‘s Dish Network in packaged bundles. [Kansas City Star]

Dish Network is promoting its carriage of NFL Network HD as part of its "total value football package" starting at $29.99/mo.

New survey says 25% of DVR users rewind to watch commercials that catch their eye while fast-forwarding.



• PROGRAMMING

Court TV premieres Star Jones, the former View host’s daytime legal talk show, Monday at 3pm ET.

Disney Channel‘s High School Musical 2, which makes landfall worldwide tomorrow, will unleash more than 100 HSM-branded items in stores by Christmas and continue lifting ratings, just as repeats of the original movie this summer boosted primetime ratings for series incuding Hannah Montana. Bloomberg chats with Disney-ABC head Anne Sweeney about the HSM phenom.

IFC‘s Web video series (which started Monday and will move to IFC’s TV network next month) of R. Kelly’s hip-hopera, Trapped in the Closet, is profiled in today’s New York Times.

Nickelodeon said it would stop licensing its characters to unhealthy food and beverage products. [Wall Street Journal]



• ONLINE

AOL today launches its Truveo video search service.

Facebook launched the pilot episode of Facebook Diaries, its R.J. Cutler-helmed original series that started soliciting submissions with Comcast‘s Ziddio in February.

MTV NetworksLogo acquired DowneLink, a multicultural gay social networking site.

Click here for Wednesday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

The Daily

Subscribe

Mediacom Shows Off 10G Smart Home in Iowa

Folks got a first look at what a future with 10G could look like last week at Mediacom’s 10G Smart Home in Ames, Iowa.

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up