What could possibly be next? The Mid-Atlantic Ping Pong Channel? The Des Moines Over-40 Men’s Basketball League Network? With the University of Texas reportedly in distribution talks with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T for a network dedicated to UT sports, it seems nothing can be dismissed as out-of-bounds anymore. Niche sports nets may soon nestle into tight, individual cubbyholes. Indeed, the network progression (regression?) gripping the pay-TV industry is overt: from general sports to pro league-specific to those covering individual college conferences to perhaps now single institutions. Just how many more slices of the revenue pie can be appropriated before widespread heartburn sets in? No doubt many cable ops already view what’s occurring as far too acidic. As content costs rise, MSOs have been forced time and time again to employ public damage control as new sports channels, particularly NFL Net and Big Ten Net, often paint the industry as money-grubbing and anti-consumer. Plus, as plant digitization continues to ramp, an increasing number of programmers are seemingly lying in wait, ready to devour any freed-up bandwidth. The bleak economic outlook only exacerbates the situation for MSOs, most of which are engaged in hand-to-hand combat with competitors. True, service price seems consumers’ current focus, but I’ll wager that content still ranks highly in the shopping equation. Enterprising cable ops, of course, have capitalized on the sports content trend by launching or investing in their own local sports nets ( Cox Sports New Orleans, Comcast SportsNet, etc), or by featuring local content. Time Warner Cable, for example, will broadcast live in NY this weekend high school football playoff games. Still, featuring schoolboy pigskin is a far cry from negotiating a carriage deal for a net exclusively purveying state or even county athletics. Or is it? Soon we may all be aware of a 43-yr-old Iowan with a wicked jump shot. CH

"The Real George Washington," Wed, 9pm, Nat Geo. This is the middle night of Nat Geo’s "Expedition Week," which starts Nov 16. The special plants doubt about GW myths, including his saintly character, mediocre battlefield skills and lack of ambition (his marriage might not have been all about love). — "JFK: Inside The Target Car," Sun, 9pm, Discovery. An interesting if brief re-examination of JFK’s assassination using modern technology and eyewitnesses. While Zapruder footage is purposely blurred, descriptions of the shooting make for difficult TV. SA

"Jon & Kate + 8," special, 9pm, Mon, TLC. Jon & Kate Gosselin renew their vows in Hawaii as their octet of tikes watch. (Parents of small kids, you didn’t believe that sentence, did you?) SA

Fans of Emmy winning "Mad Men" will enjoy an hilarious video featuring noted thespian/ AMC entertainment chief Ed Carroll. In a scene filmed on the Mad Men set, complete with lead actors Jon Hamm and John Slattery, Carroll tries to sell a radical idea for 1960, cable TV. The short video premiered at CTAM‘s Summit to quite a few chortles. Watch the video online at www.CableFAX.comwww.CableFAX.com. SA

The Daily


FCC Chair Tees Up Apartment Broadband Competition Item

Cable has to contend with FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel circulating a proposal that would prevent providers from entering into exclusive revenue sharing agreements with building owners as part of changes aimed at bringing competition to MTEs.

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