360PM — PM news briefing for Monday, May 14 >>

Cox Communications and Discovery Communications completed their transaction to exchange Cox’s 25% ownership stake for Discovery’s Travel Channel and its website (but not Antenna Audio, as previously announced). Two-thirds of Discovery Communications is now owned by by Discovery Holding Company, a subsidiary of Liberty Media, and the remaining one-third is owned by Advance/Newhouse Communications. [Release]

Comcast dropped Microsoft TV‘s interactive program guide (in exchange for its GuideWorks IPG developed with TV Guide) in Washington, marking the end to Microsoft’s only U.S. cable operator and sole U.S. market to use its Foundation on-screen navigation guide. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer | Spokesman Review]

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman spoke at Reuters’ Global Technology and Media confab today, where he defended BET and MTV against Imus-like charges and said he’s not in the market for any "splashy acquisitions." And—memo to Comcast—Dauman said he’s not going to allow any "day-and-date" theatrical/VOD releases of Paramount movies, even though he deemed his company’s tests with Comcast of collapsed VOD windows (with DVD releases) in Denver and Pittsburgh a success and said they haven’t cannibalized DVD sales or rentals. "So far it’s pretty interesting," he commented. "To the extent that it doesn’t hurt, it can be additive." But same-day VOD and theatrical? "We need to be very careful about changing windows," he said. "We do not want to tread too heavily on a system that works so well."

SCTE announced NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow as keynote speaker at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando, FL, on June 20.

CTAM announced Circuit City pres/CEO Phil Schoonover as keynote speaker at the CTAM Summit in Washington, D.C. on July 25.

Canada’s Rogers Communications merges its cable and wireless subsidiaries. [Release | Bloomberg]

NAB pres/CEO David Rehr urged consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers to ensure digital-to-analog boxes are available to consumers by Jan. 1. [Release]

Today was the deadline for ISPs, cable operators and other "facilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers of interconnected VoIP service" to comply with the FCC’s expanded interpretation of CALEA, the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch sent a letter to Dow Jones‘ Bancroft family, offering to place a family member on its board as a sweetener to its bid, but won’t raise its $60/share offer. [WSJ]

The Tennessee Cable & Telecommunications Association and Comcast spent more than $2 million lobbying against AT&T in Tenn. [Nashville City Paper]

Online content aggregator Synacor adding games from Yummy Interactive. [Release]

Cellphone-only users increased last year to 1 in 4 people 18-24 and 29% of 25-29 year-olds, according to a wireless survey conducted between July-Dec. ’06 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. [AP | CDC Report-PDF]



• PROGRAMMING

Buckeye CableSystem will launch Fox’s Big Ten Network when it goes live in August. Toledo, Ohio-based Buckeye serves over 150,000 customers in Northwest and North Central Ohio and in Southeast Michigan.

Comedy Central announced its Memorial Day marathon; slated a Larry the Cable Guy special for June 3; and launched a Virtual Vacation sweepstakes today through May 30.

Discovery Communications announced 14 original series launching on Discovery Mobile, its 24-hour mobile network. Four of the new series—Green Gadgets, GreenSpace, Go Green and Living Tomorrow—tie into Discovery’s PlanetGreen initiative announced at its upfront. Discovery Emerging Networks EVP/GM Clint Stinchcomb gave a sneak peek at another of the new series, Animal Crackers, at iHollywood Forum’s Mobile Bootcamp at the Cable Show on May 6. The mobile programming slate debuts this month through the fall.

Fox Reality and MyNetworkTV are reviving Paradise Hotel, a competitive reality series about singles looking for love in a swanky resort, in 1st quarter 2008.

HDNet owner Mark Cuban invites programming pitches on his blog.

IFC confirmed Chris Kattan’s eight-ep. sitcom, Bollywood Hero; and promoted Debbie DeMontreux to SVP, original programming, from VP.

Logo renewed The Big Gay Sketch Show and is developing an untitled music-based reality show with ex-‘N Syncer-er Lance Bass. Also in the works: a sitcom called Gayonic Man.

MGM named Gary Marenzi co-president, worldwide television.

MSNBC veteran Mark Effron joined TitanTV.com as SVP.

MSG Network announced a slate of documentary specials including Spring of ’94 (premiering Monday), about a fabled season for New York Knicks and Rangers fans; Mecca of Boxing (June); Hip Hop & MSG: The 34th Street Beat (July); From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans Remembered (Aug.); and Diamond at the Rock: 75 Years at Radio City Music Hall (Sept.)

NBA named Attila Gazdag SVP of global media distribution.

TV5Monde televises (live) the opening ceremonies to the Cannes Film Festival, Wed. at 12:45pm ET.

Shirley Brady

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