Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, July 20 »

The Senate Commerce Committee yesterday approved two bills giving the FCC increased oversight over cable operators and programmers. The first, aimed at curbing indecency, would empower the FCC to take action against broadcasters who air a single profanity. The second bill, notes Dow Jones, seeks to improve the federal government’s collection of data on broadband Internet service "so as to be able to better identify how widespread broadband service is actually available across the country." In another win for FCC chairman Kevin Martin yesterday, AT&T endorsed his proposed rules for the 700 MHz wireless spectrum auction, notes Reuters, while Google CEO Eric Schmidt wrote a letter to Martin that commits $4.6 billion for its wireless spectrum bid — but only if open access rules are part of the auction, reports Bloomberg.

Gemstar-TV Guide shareholder Citadel Investment Group expressed concerns in a 13D filing to the SEC yesterday that Gemstar’s proposed sale would overly benefit "certain strategic shareholders" — who might, hypothetically, be on the verge of acquiring Dow Jones

Sumner Redstone’s spat with daughter Shari, which threatens to roil Viacom and CBS Corp., is examined in-depth in this morning’s Wall Street Journal and New York Times. UK’s The Telegraph reports market speculation about a sale of the companies if the Redstones can’t settle their family feud.

RCN expanded its reach in Boston and Pennsylvania.

Canada’s Cogeco Cable said it will raise $153.4 million in bought deal financing, in part to reduce its debt. [Canadian Press]



• PEOPLE

BET Networks promoted Scott Mills to president and COO; from CFO and president, digital media. BET’s digital czar is now Denmark West, who was yesterday named president, digital media, BET Networks; from EVP and chief of operations, global digital media, MTV Networks. Michael Pickrum was promoted to CFO, BET Networks, from EVP and COO, BET Interactive.

News Corp. hasn’t landed Dow Jones (yet) so interesting to see Jeff Misenti, Dow Jones’ senior director of product development and marketing, yesterday join Fox News Digital as VP/GM. Fox News also promoted Refet Kaplan to managing director, FoxNews.com, from Northeast bureau chief.

Former MSNBC producer Chris Ariens is reportedly taking over TVNewser.com, part of the MediaBistro network acquired this week by Jupitermedia. TVNewser founder Brian Stelter, whose last day is today, next week begins life at the New York Times.



• PROGRAMMING

The Wall Street Journal ponders all the boozing on cable networks’ original series this summer, including TNT‘s Saving Grace, AMC‘s Mad Men, Lifetime‘s Army Wives and The House of Payne on TBS. By the WSJ‘s count, 6 of cable’s 17 new scripted series this summer feature substance abuse.

CBS says so-called C3 ratings (Nielsen’s commercial + 3-day DVR ratings) is better for broadcast than cable networks. [MediaPost]

AP blogger Derrick Lang outlines a 5-point plan to "save" MTV (#4 is already under way).



• ONLINE

Facebook, arguably the hottest online acquisition target, yesterday acquired Parakey, a Web-based operating system start-up. [Red Herring | New York Times]

Google‘s lobbying strategy, reports the Wall Street Journal, is "to reinvent corporate influence-peddling for the Internet Age. Instead of just hiring a roster of lobbyists and tossing out millions of dollars in campaign contributions, Google has embarked on a quiet march through the conference rooms of Washington to explain how its products can help politicians get elected."

VoIP start-up Ooma‘s CEO answers New York Times readers’ questions about his still-in-beta Web-based phone service.



• WIRELESS

MobiTV and Discovery Channel partnered on a low-bid auction game for mobile phone users touting Discovery’s 20th anniversary Shark Week, which starts July 29. [MediaPost]

Click here for Thursday’s 360AM news briefing »

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

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