360AM — Morning news briefing for Thursday, Mar. 22 (Updated: 8pm ET)


AT&T’s U-verse customers can now get live programming on PCs. AT&T U-verse OnTheGo is a premium service ($10/mo) that streams live TV delivered via broadband channels to computers. 28 channels are available via MobiTV including Fox News Channel and Fox Sports; a suite of AETN nets (The History Channel, A&E, the Biography Channel, Crime & Investigation, Military History and History International); plus The Weather Channel, Oxygen, fuse, MavTV, here!, and Bloomberg TV. Coming soon: movie trailers for U-verse VOD titles, and expanding from PCs to wireless devices. [Release]

Major league fall-out today over MLB’s rejection of In Demand’s Extra Innings offer on behalf of its cable operator owners: Comcast, Cox and Time Warner. MLB EVP Tim Brosnan tells the New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir, "the correspondence [In Demand] sent us amounts to a misleading press release and a failed strategy if their intention is to make a deal and to truly deliver this package to their customers." In Demand pres/CEO Rob Jacobson counters, "we understood that if we matched the terms of the DirecTV offer, we’d have a deal. We feel we’ve done that." Sandomir notes that Jacobson "was never shown the contract between baseball and DirecTV." MLB wants In Demand and Dish to launch its Baseball Channel in 2009 to 80% of their digital customers, like DirecTV; In Demand wants to match the number of subs (15 million), not percentage, guaranteed by DirecTV. MLB isn’t offering complete parity with DirecTV, which is taking a 20% stake in the Baseball Channel—that opportunity isn’t on the table to other parties. Extra Innings talks continue through Mar. 31. A hearing into the MLB/DirecTV deal (chaired by Sen. John Kerry) is set for Tuesday; Kerry appears the night before on The Daily Show. [New York Times | AP | Reuters | Los Angeles Times | MediaWeek]

Former FCC chairman Michael Powell is joining Cisco’s board of directors. [Release]

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt signed a statewide video franchise bill into law; the Missouri Senate and House approved the legislation last week. [AP]

Florida’s statewide video franchise moves to the Senate. [Palm Beach Post]

Verizon’s FiOS TV expanded to 19,000 additional homes in Montgomery County, MD, and added seven cable franchises in Delaware County, PA.

The FCC hopes to settle the net neutrality debate by launching an inquiry into broadband market practices and said it will consider adopting regulations to make sure all Internet traffic is treated equally. In other business at its open meeting today, the Commission classified wireless broadband Internet access service as an information service; initiated rulemaking to evaluate access to multiple dwelling units for video providers; and adopted its annual report on the state of competition in the satellite industry, finding effective competition in the space. [FCC releases and Commissioner statements | Verizon response | AP]

Starz Entertainment sued Disney for alleged copyright and contract violations. The suit claims Disney’s Buena Vista Television arm licensed titles during windows they were already licensed to Starz for online downloads to iTunes and Walmart.com. [Release]

Viacom is being sued by MoveOn.org and Brave New Films, a production company owned by filmmaker Robert Greenwald (whose documentaries have tackled Fox News and Wal-mart) for ordering YouTube to take down a parody of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report under copyright law "fair use" provisions. YouTube was not named in the suit. [AP]

News Corp. and NBC Universal announced their own version of YouTube. The companies are pooling resources to launch a video-based website this summer featuring their TV shows and movies, plus clips that users can modify and share with friends. The site boasts thousands of hours of full-length TV programming including NBC’s Heroes, My Name Is Earl, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, The Tonight Show, and Friday Night Lights; FOX’s 24, House, The Simpsons, Prison Break, and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader; and on the cable side, FX’s The Riches and Bravo’s Top Chef. Yahoo, MSN, AOL and MySpace are the launch distribution affiliates. [Press release | WSJ | Los Angeles Times | PaidContent]. NBC is goosing its website this summer by improving its video player (which has streamed more than 27 million clips for Heroes] and adding embeddable video clips, social networking and other Web 2.0-like features to NBC.com. [The Hollywood Reporter]

HBO chair Chris Albrecht lays out his post-Sopranos strategy for the New York Times‘ Bill Carter, including an extra hour of Sunday night originals, opening new nights and mixing older hits with new series. Albrecht has high hopes for John From Cincinnati, David Milch’s post-Deadwood drama that debuts after The Sopranos‘ finale on June 10. It then moves to 9pm Sundays, bracketed by new seasons of Big Love at 8pm and Entourage at 10pm. Curb Your Enthusiasm returns in early ’08; new comedies include Flight of the Conchords, about singing New Zealanders in NY, and 12 Miles of Bad Road, which co-stars Lily Tomlin. The Wire is returning for a final season while new dramas include In Treatment, starring Gabriel Byrne as a therapist; Tell Me You Love Me, about couples therapy; plus miniseries John Adams (starring aul Giamatti and Laura Linney) and Five Days, a BBC co-production. [New York Times]

SCI FI Channel held its ad sales upfront last night in New York. Highlights: Battlestar Galactica got a full 22-episode fourth season order (from 13 eps) plus a two-hour special that will air in the fourth quarter to bridge the gap between seasons 3 (which wraps Sunday) and 4, which is set for early ’08. Its two-hour special will be released on DVD; no confirmation on season 5. Stargate SG-1 returns for its final season on Apr. 13, joined by new series Painkiller Jane starring Kristanna Loken. Ghost Hunters was renewed for season 4 next year and gets 12 additional episodes this year; its Ghost Hunters Live special returns on Halloween at 11pm. British "mentalist" Derren Brown (described as a mind-reader who’s "part James Bond, part Yoda") makes his U.S. debut on SCI FI, starting in July. SCI FI’s Pulse broadband channel will run a live original after-show to upcoming season of Who Wants to Be a Superhero? Kiefer Sutherland is exec-producing Phenomenon, a two-hour pilot about paranormal investigators. Upcoming miniseries Tin Man (wt), a reworking of The Wizard of Oz, is slated for December. No word on the BBC’s new Dr. Who series—which SCI FI debuted in the U.S. and BBC America is now repeating—which just greenlit season 4.

Cablevision officially announced the addition of Discovery HD Theater and National Geographic Channel HD to its high-def lineup. The launch brings Cablevision subs the HD feasts of Discovery’s epic Planet Earth series, which premieres Sunday, and NGC’s Galapagos, among other treats. Cablevision, which now offers 23 HD networks with these additions, is the last major MSO to launch DHDT.

Suddenlink launched phone service in Tyler, TX and surrounding communities. Aiming to offer VoIP telephony to 80% of its customers by year-end, today marks the company’s biggest phone roll-out to date. [Tyler Paper]

Time Warner Cable’s Los Angeles division was fined $25,000 by the city of Moorpark, CA, which claimed customer service infractions of its franchise agreement. [AP]

SpikeTV.com will merge with sister Viacom website, iFilm.com, "to become the go-to viral video site for guys." MTV Networks’ newly created iFILM/spiketv.com group will report to Erik Flannigan, SVP, digital media, MTVN Entertainment Group. Blair Harrison, president and CEO of iFILM, will relinquish his post and "is currently in conversation with MTV Networks to explore what he might do next inside or outside the company." [Release]

Shirley Brady

• Click here for 360AM news briefing for Wednesday, Mar. 21 >>

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