News Briefing for Wednesday, April 16, 2008 If anyone stranded in Vegas for the NAB show happens to run into Cable360 tipster Brain Clark in the bar at the Peppermill, please tell him a buyout offer is on the way. Good day.

Screen Actors Guild president Alan Rosenberg is insisting that his members should be “compensated fairly” and is prepared to bring the entertainment industry to another halt if current contractual negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers prove to be one-sided, the New York Times reports. Rosenberg is seeking for guild members increased compensation for content streamed on the Web, a larger share of DVD revenue and a share of product placement fees. Producers are likely to offer SAG a deal similar to the one eventually accepted by both the writers’ and directors’ guilds; Rosenberg was not happy with those contracts. He does have some nice pieces of recent news to use in his public sparrings with producers, who are determined to keep costs down: the recent revelation that CBS chief Leslie Moonves was paid $36.8 million in 2007 while dumping a fortune on struggling news anchor Katie Couric, and media companies’ insistence to Wall Street that they were able to shrug off the effects of the writers’ strike. [New York Times]

Charter Communications added eight channels to its hi-def lineup in St. Louis, TVPredictions reports. The new channels are: AMC HD, CNN HD, The Learning Channel HD, Animal Planet HD, The Science Channel HD, Smithsonian Channel HD, TBS HD and The Movie Channel-HD. Charter customers have been complaining about a relative lack of HD content options, says TVPredictions. [TVPredictions]

Comcast says it will take the lead in creating a P2P bill of rights that would apply to Internet service providers and their file-sharing customers, Ars Technica reports. Consumer advocacy groups are noticeably absent from the list of document drafting partners that Comcast wants to work with on the bill of rights, Ars points out. [Ars Technica]

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich) said in a congressional hearing yesterday that Google “was successful in gaming the system” during the recent government auction of wireless spectrum. FCC chairman Kevin Martin responded that the commission’s rules were not designed to prohibit a company from bidding, even if its ultimate aim was to bid just high enough to trigger open-access requirements, the San Jose Mercury News reports.  [San Jose Mercury News]

China, which is helping to bankroll the U.S. economy and is absorbing much of its debt, has asked for a formal apology from CNN for critical comments made by the network’s commentator Jack Cafferty, who referred to the Chinese government as a “bunch of goons and thugs,” the New York Times reported. Perhaps Cafferty’s injudicious use of language stemmed from frustration with the unwillingness of the three presidential candidates to speak directly to the large-scale economic issues that matter instead of indulging in thinly veiled racial ploys, rhetorical calisthenics and tax-cut hucksterism. [New York Times]

Briefly Noted
Search ad clicks for Google missed expectations for the third month in a row, the Wall Street Journal reports. [Wall Street Journal]

Lifetime said it launched Lifetime Television HD, joining Lifetime Movie Channel HD, which launched last year. The network said it’s signed carriage deals with Verizon and AT&T to carry Lifetime Television HD.

Barack Obama’s campaign spent $1.4 million last week on broadcast and cable spots in Philadelphia, while Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent $547,000, according to Washington Post blog The Trail. Obama’s statewide presence on ESPN and MTV, in particular, has been stronger than Clinton’s. [Washington Post]
 
Newsroom layoffs at the New York Times are expected to be announced soon. [Wall Street Journal]

Late Stories
HBO led 29 networks vying for honors in NAMIC’s 14th annual Vision Awards in LA, capturing 14 trophies. Its big winner was the original film Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. The complete list of winners is below:
         
ANIMATION                                                  
Handy Manny (A Very Happy Holiday)/Disney Channel

BEST PERFORMANCE – COMEDY
Whoopi Goldberg – The Word According to Whoopi”/Bravo

BEST PERFORMANCE – DRAMA
Adam Beach – Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee/HBO

CHILDREN’S
High School Musical 2/Disney Channel
 
COMEDY
D.L. Hughley: Unapologetic/HBO

DOCUMENTARY
Special Investigations Unit: Judgment in Jena/CNN

DRAMA
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee/HBO

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
El Honor De Un Sacrificio/The History Channel
 
LIFESTYLE
Styleyes Miami/Si TV

NEWS/INFORMATIONAL
American Morning: MLK Series/Soledad O’Brien/CNN

ORIGINAL MOVIE OR SPECIAL
Akon: The Rhythm of Africa/The Africa Channel

BEST REALITY
How Do I Look?/Style Network

SPORTS
After Jackie/ESPN

VARIETY/TALK SHOW
My Two Cents/BET J
  Got a tip? Contact sgoldstein@accessintel.com and sarenstein@accessintel.com.

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