Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, June 8 »
RCN signed a deal to offer Major League Baseball’s Extra Innings package; more details here.
Wednesday’s premiere of Tyler Perry’s House of Payne on TBS set a record as basic cable’s biggest sitcom telecast. The series’ back-to-back premiere on June 6th averaged 5.2 million for the first episode and 5.8 million for the second episode, the half-hour that made cable ratings history for total viewers, Adults 18-34 (1.4 million), A18-49 (3.1 million) and A25-54 (3 million). More details in Turner’s release, while TBS expects to release more data on black viewership figures today. The Hollywood Reporter takes note of how charter advertisers Allstate and Pine-Sol are getting "custom on-air vignettes, brand graphics within certain episodes, digital and VOD ads, limited product placement and co-branded tune-in spots and print ads in exchange for ‘significant’ media commitments during the first three months of the show." They’re also sponsoring digital content (episodes, clips and interactive features) on TBS.com and TBS on Demand.
Time Warner Cable is facing a showdown in North Carolina, where MASN has filed for arbitration in an attempt to force the operator to carry the network locally, where it’s only available on DirecTV and Dish Network. MASN is seeking basic or expanded carriage while Time Warner is only willing to offer digital carriage. MASN is accusing TW of protecting its News 14 channel, which carries Charlotte Bobcats games. Time Warner contends that MASN is not "regional" to North Carolina and thus exempt from FCC provisions regarding regional sports networks. [News & Observer, Raleigh NC]
The FCC is cracking down on digital TV transgressors, warning electronics retailers Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kmart and Radio Shack this week that their websites did not sufficiently inform consumers about the DTV transition while selling analog TV sets. The Commission also fined two electronics manufacturers, Syntax-Brillian and Regent USA, for shipping non-compliant sets and warned the consumer electronics industry that more fines would be slapped on companies ignoring its DTV tuner requirement.
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) yesterday unveiled a four-step plan to improve broadband access: reform the Universal Service Fund to promote expansion of broadband service; allow local governments to offer commercial broadband service; push federal lawmakers to adopt a program similar to Kentucky’s hybrid publicly and privately-funded state broadband network; and push the deployment of broadband over power-line service. Boucher also called for the net neutrality debate to be settled: "I’m afraid that until we resolve that vexing network neutrality issue, none of what I’ve spoken about is going to happen." [Dow Jones]
Qwest is evaluating whether to offer cable TV service in Iowa ahead of a statewide video franchise that goes into effect on July 1, reports AP. Mediacom chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso also tells AP that 50,000 Iowa subscribers returned after the company’s retransmission consent brawl was settled, primarily from Qwest and other small service providers.
NAB pres/CEO David Rehr sent a letter to Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin asking him to reconsider the satellite radio provider’s proposed merger with XM.
A Verizon employee groused to Network World that FiOS TV was "hurried" and planned "without sufficient research," a marketing-driven product that "did not understand the complexities of integrating cable systems with their own proprietary telephony systems or the differing regulatory requirements."
MTV will incorporate online user-generated video into two series: the previously cancelled Short Circuitz, an improv and sketch show hosted by Nick Cannon, and smack talk competition series, Yo’ Momma. Viewers can upload videos at YoMomma.TV and ShortCircuitz.MTV.com. [Variety]
Revver promoted COO Kevin Wells to CEO, while founder and CEO Steve Starr moves to chairman of the board.
Time Warner Cable implemented a packet-shaping tool to manage its high-speed online traffic in Rochester. [Broadband Reports]
Qualcomm is seeking a presidential veto and emergency stay of a federal ruling by the International Trade Commission that prohibits millions of 3G phones using Qualcomm’s chips accused of infringing a Broadcom patent from being imported into the U.S. Qualcomm, whose MediaFLO mobile TV system is highly anticipated by U.S. carriers, feels Broadcom’s patent is invalid and not infringed. Broadcom’s response to the ITC ban is here.
* Click here for Seth Arenstein’s upcoming cable programming reviews for this weekend and beyond.
Time Warner Cable‘s Los Angeles division added a trio of MTV Networks diginets (MTV Hits, MTV Jams and VH1 Soul) plus new MTVN VOD content; and on July 1st will roll out here! as a subscription VOD service for $7.95/mo across its SoCal footprint. Time Warner and here! are hitting this weekend’s Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood to promote the launch.
FX added Peter Facinelli to the cast of the Glenn Close-starring legal series Damages, now shooting in New York.
HBO hasn’t seen the last of The Sopranos‘ cast: James Gandolfini is narrating an upcoming documentary on Iraq war veterans and has a development deal with the network, while Michael Imperioli is pennng a pilot. Forbes has more plus a slideshow. Gandolfini tells AP he’s already put Tony Soprano behind him and finds it "calming" to move on. HBO’s Sex and the City movie is back on now that Kim Cattrall has agreed to participate, notes the New York Post.
NBC will air live commercials paid for by Garmin on Tuesday’s broadcast of The Tonight Show in a reaction to DVR-skipping and commercial ratings. Lifetime’s outgoing ratings guru Tim Brooks comments, "We have killed and mauled the golden goose of commercial breaks. For a long time, the audience has put up with it, but now they have the ability to dodge commercial breaks, so networks can’t get away with it any more." [Wall Street Journal] ABC, meanwhile, last night debuted a Procter & Gamble-sponsored series about NASCAR, Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. [AP]
NBCU Television Studio SVP of drama and cable programming Laura Lancaster is leaving to head up drama development at Fox. [Variety]
NHK World TV, an English-language channel that originates in Japan, will launch July 10 on Comcast in the Washington, D.C. market, to be followed by RCN and Verizon. The service of Japan’s national public broadcaster is distributed in the U.S. by MHz Networks, which launched the channel in the U.S. on Cox Communications on May 30. [World Screen]
Nick Jr. hosts a Beach Party on-air theme week, June 25-29.
SCI FI‘s Wednesday premiere of Ghost Hunters averaged 1.6 million total viewers and Destination Truth averaged 1.4 million total viewers. SCI FI’s SVP of programming Thomas Vitale tells iF Magazine original movie ideas can come from anywhere, with past concepts coming from network head Bonnie Hammer and his father.
Vivid Entertainment is releasing the adult industry’s first direct-to-VOD movie, My Ex-Girlfriend, on July 2nd to cable operators via In Demand. As a high definition title, it will be offered in HDVOD lineups.
• TONIGHT ON CABLE
5pm: Nickelodeon kicks off its "Ned Shred Weekend" including a Ned’s Declassified School marathon and an original movie at 8pm, Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide to Field Trips, Permission Slips, Signs and Weasels, and tomorrow at 8pm, Shredderman Rules!
8pm: BBC America premieres The Gil Mayo Mysteries. Disney Channel premieres Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board, a sequel to 1999 original movie Johnny Tsunami.
9pm: Animal Planet airs Bindi Irwin’s special, My Daddy the Crocodile Hunter. TLC premieres What Not to Wear: Wedding Spectacular, a special featuring three brides-to-be.
11pm: IFC‘s The Henry Rollins Show features actor Don Cheadle and singer Rufus Wainwright.
5pm: Discovery Kids premieres Bindi Irwin’s first series, Bindi: The Jungle Girl.
9pm: BBC America‘s new season of Hex. Hallmark Channel original movie, You’ve Got a Friend. WE tv wraps up America’s Cutest Puppies. SCI FI original movie, Ice Spiders.
9pm: HBO‘s series finale of The Sopranos. HGTV‘s Red Hot and Green eco-special.
10pm: Comedy Central‘s comedy special, Brian Regan: Standing Up. HBO premieres John from Cincinnati. Showtime concludes season 1 of The Tudors. VH1 airs Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School finale.