360PM — News update for Friday, May 18 >>

DirecTV sued Comcast for allegedly misrepresenting its HD picture quality and touting its own as superior in its recent campaign that cited research conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates. DirecTV also agreed to settle a patent dispute and pay Forgent Networks $8 million to license its technology that allows playback during recording, according to Forgent’s SEC filing. [MarketWatch]

Insight Communications is on the block — according to TheDeal.com, which hears that the Carlyle Group wants to sell the New York-based operator it acquired for $2.1 billion in Dec. 2005. The article says Insight, worth an estimated $2.5 billion, retained Morgan Stanley and Waller Capital to advise on a possible sale.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin discusses a la carte, the digital TV transition, net neutrality, TV violence and more with the San Jose Mercury News.

A day after Nexstar Broadcasting announced it retained Goldman, Sachs to shop the company to potential buyers, LIN TV announced it’s weighing up a sale and has retained J.P. Morgan Securities to advise.

Verizon shareholders approved a non-binding proposal allowing shareholders to vote on (read: curb) executive pay; CEO Ivan Seidenberg received compensation worth $20.2 million last year. [AP]

Florida governor Charlie Crist signed a statewide video franchising bill into law. The state will begin issuing franchises on July 1, when existing cable companies can seek a state franchise and cancel local franchise deals. [AP]

Mediacom and Fox Sports Midwest reached an agreement that lifts the cable operator’s blackout on 19 St. Louis Cardinals games in the Springfield, MO, region. [News-Leader]

Time Warner pres/COO Jeff Bewkes wasn’t asked by shareholders (as the Los Angeles Times expected) to address a pay-off he reportedly authorized 16 years ago to Sasha Emerson, a former HBO employee who accused then-boss and ex-lover Chris Albrecht of choking her. CEO apparent Bewkes attended today’s shareholder meeting in Burbank, CA, but let boss Dick Parsons do all the talking, including outlining TW’s digital initiatives, including HBO Mobile and gossip site TMZ, and defended this week’s Atlanta Braves sale to Liberty Media. [Reuters | Variety]

News Corp.’s Times of London newspaper published a detailed account of Albrecht’s exit last week from HBO, noting that he’s "expected to sign an independent production deal with a studio before the end of the year."

Donald Trump announced that NBC can’t tell him "you’re fired" — he’s quitting. After The Apprentice was MIA at NBC’s upfront this week, Trump issued a statement saying he is "moving on from The Apprentice to a major new TV venture" which he declined to discuss further. [Reuters]

Time Warner Cable promoted Kathy Brabson to president of its Central Texas division, from VP/GM in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Cablevision‘s battle with Verizon‘s FiOS TV on Long Island is detailed in The FiOS Affair, a Long Island Business News blog.

Fast Company profiles Albert Cheng and Disney‘s 20-month-old digital media initiative — required reading for insights into what Cheng and his colleagues have been up to and what’s their "new next."

Discovery Communications announced that DJM Realty will "dispose" of its 103 stores, further to yesterday’s announcement it’s exiting the bricks-and-mortar retail business (and shedding 25% of its workforce by the 4th quarter) to focus on e-commerce and licensing.

Retirement Living TV will premiere Yellow Mountain Road: The James Hylton Story on May 21; the special recounts 72-year-old Hylton’s NASCAR-qualifying run at the 2007 Daytona 500.

Shirley Brady

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