360AM — Morning news briefing for Friday, Mar. 16
Time Warner Cable yesterday fired Los Angeles division president Roger Keating. As TWC’s tumultuous SoCal market grew from 350,000 subscribers in July to 1.9 million with the post-Adelphia integration of Comcast’s LA area systems, integration problems led to 10,000 L.A. subs quitting by Dec. 31 while thousands more churned across the region. The city of Los Angeles threatened to find TWC in breach of its franchise agreement while the city of West Hollywood may impose fines. Keating, former treasurer for CA’s state cable association, is being replaced by Barry Rosenblum, TWC’s New York division head, who will now run both divisions and shuttle between NYC and LA. Joining Rosenblum in running LA: Stephen Pagano, TWC Albany division president; Nina Facini, Rosenblum’s CFO; and John Keib, Rosenblum’s CMO. [AP | Variety | Los Angeles Times]
Network heads at yesterday’s HRTS Cable Chiefs panel in Los Angeles debated YouTube/Viacom suit and digital distribution of their content. "The genie’s out of the bottle in terms of the audience is now in control," said MTVN Entertainment president Doug Herzog while AETN pres/CEO Abbe Raven noted: "It’s a new world. We have to be a little loose here in terms of experimenting with a lot of different platforms." [Variety]
MTVN’s global digital chief, Mika Salmi, tells CNET: "A big part of my job is helping television. It shouldn’t be where the digital people are here and the TV people throw some content over a wall and the digital people throw some back. Someone with a creative vision behind a TV show or an online game should drive that vision through all platforms." And Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit notwithstanding, he’s still pals with YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley. [CNET]
Asked for a hint on how the YouTube conflict might end, Salmi wouldn’t say. He noted, however, that he’s friendly with YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley and still hopes for a resolution.
Fight at the museum: Oliver North accuses the Smithsonian of blocking access to his War Stories series for Fox News, citing Showtime‘s exclusive deal with the institution. [Washingon Post | North op-ed, The Post-Chronicle]
CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves lobbies Viacom chair Sumner Redstone for more pay [New York Post] as ousted rival Tom Freston’s lawsuit proceeds to the Supreme Court this fall—and it’s not against Viacom [Bloomberg].
The Wall Street Journal examines the DVR war between cable, satellite and telephone companies in a freeview article today. Must-have features now include wireless programming of DVR recordings, as Tivo and Verizon introduced this week.
Florida bill on cable competition is now tied to ending phone rate hike; cable lobbyist Steve Wilkerson zings, "It’s the lipstick on the pig." [St. Petersburg Times]
AT&T introduced Homezone in Southeast Texas yesterday. [Beaumont Enterprise, TX]
BET will increase original programming 30-50% this year, and will continue to grow at that pace in coming years, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said yesterday. Upcoming originals include Hannibal the Conqueror, an animated series voiced by Vin Diesel, and Wifey, a co-pro with VH1 starring Queen Latifah. BET Networks is also stepping up with a home entertainment division, aggressive digital strategy and international expansion plans. [Washington Post]
Bravo tonight starts off-net run of NBC’s Friday Night Lights. [Release]
CN8 tomorrow night broadcasts the Evander Holyfield/Vinny Maddalone boxing bout live at 10pm ET. In a first for the Comcast-owned regional network, Holyfield’s quest for a fifth world championship title will be televised in all 24 million Comcast homes. The special will also be made available across its systems on VOD. [Release]
Comedy Central spent $10mln to license a trio of movies—Borat, Reno 911!: Miami and Team America: World Police—after the pay window. Borat is a shared five-year run with USA starting in 2010; network-related Team America (from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone) is available in June and Reno off-shoot is available fall 2009. [Variety]
Discovery Channel is #1 in Canada. [Release]
HDNet and SPEED expand NASCAR Grand National Division coverage. [Release]
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network launches MASN and MASN2 on Comcast’s Richmond/Chesterfield VA systems on Apr. 1. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Mojo, the primetime block of In Demand’s INHD network, partners with Clearly Canadian on a branded entertainment reality series debuting next year. [Media in Canada] In Demand is rebranding INHD on a 24/7 basis to Mojo on May 1.
NY1, Time Warner Cable’s NYC local news channel, renews The New York Times Close Up starting Mar. 24. [Release]
Outdoor Channel Holdings reports Q4. [Release]
Real Hip-Hop Network on the rocks. [Release]
Showtime developing half-hour scripted comedy, The United States of Tara, with Steven Spielberg. [Variety]
Starz InBlack celebrates director Spike Lee’s 50th birthday on Mar. 20 with a day-long marathon of his movies plus exclusive interview footage, which will be available on Starz on Demand through Mar. 29.
TLC airs a sneak peek at its first ever primetime talk show, Shut Up! It’s Stacy London, on Apr. 6. The series will debut this fall. What Not to Wear, co-starring London, continues to air on TLC Fridays at 9pm. [Release]
WE tv launches Cheerleader U on Mar. 21. [UKY]
YES Network to launch HD channel on Apr. 1. [Mediaweek]
• IN OTHER NEWS
Operators brace for NCAA-triggered streaming spike this weekend. [Lawrence Journal-World, KS]
TV Guide hopes to become the TV Guide of Web video [MSNBC]. Start-ups like Divvio also hope to own Web video search navigation. [USA Today]
Bright House Networks Indiana division is working with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to fight crime. "Operation Bright Eyes," which launched in BHN’s Tampa division, trains service technicians to assist the public and police in the event of crisis or an emergency. [Indianapolis Star]
City of Tucson criticized for demanding buyout provision in Cox Communications franchise renewal battle. [Arizona Daily Star]
Time Warner could spin off AOL this year. [Reuters]
Blogging the future at SXSW’s Interactive Festival. [San Francisco Chronicle]
As cable operators (via In Demand) and EchoStar respond to MLB‘s demands to match DirecTV‘s Extra Innings contract terms, former MLB commissioner Bowie Kuhn, a proponent of higher fees from cable operators, died yesterday at 80. [New York Sun]
Former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio goes on trial Monday for alleged insider trading. The defense will argue that the telecom firm was in line for secret "black book" contracts. [WSJ]
Scripps CEO Ken Lowe received $8 million in compensation last year. [AP]
Ted Turner re-earns "Mouth from the South" title. [People’s Daily]
Former cable operator Gerry Lensfest is donating $5 million to create the largest privately owned nature preserve in Southeastern PA. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
AOL’s In2TV adds The Gumby Show on the clayboy’s 50th anniversary. [Release]