News briefing for Monday, April 7, 2008
The next generation of Apple’s iPhone is expected to arrive in about two months, and with it will come another wave of media echoings, just like this one. Last year’s favorite gadget could become this year’s standard-issue communications and entertainment device for anyone who has not yet maxed out on all of their credit cards. Shares of Apple rose 1.7% today at the closing bell. [HULIQ.com | Reuters]

Episodes of the third season of Friday Night Lights will be available exclusively to DirecTV subscribers before they are broadcast on NBC, the New York Times reports. The satellite distributor made a deal with NBC to partly finance production of the series—a critical favorite with a hard-core fan base but without spectacular ratings—in return for an exclusive window of episode presentations next year. Episodes of Friday Night Lights will appear on NBC four months after their premieres on an exclusive DirecTV channel. The Times says CBS Paramount Network Television is working on a similar deal with cable operator Comcast to revive the recently canceled series Jericho. [New York Times]

Viacom and CBS chairman Sumner Redstone continues to feud with his daughter, Shari Redstone, nonexecutive vice chairman of Viacom and CBS, over issues of “corporate governance,” clouding the question of succession at the media empire, the New York Times says. [New York Times]

AT&T has agreed to make its U-verse TV service available to at least 30% of its telephone territory in Tennessee within three and a half years, under terms of state legislation that is currently being drafted, the Tennessean reports. The bill will cover statewide franchises for all pay-TV providers, including cable operators, which had been lobbying state legislators to demand a minimum buildout requirement for AT&T. The Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association was concerned that AT&T would be granted a statewide franchise that would allow it to cherry-pick the most affluent neighborhoods for its U-verse rollout. [The Tennessean]

Briefly Noted
U-verse TV and Internet services are now available to more than 300,000 households in Indiana.

Residents of Sonoma County in Northern California are complaining about AT&T’s U-verse buildout and Comcast’s upgrading of its own physical plant. [The Press Democrat]

Professional bloggers are dropping like flies. [New York Times]

Teenagers with TVs in their bedrooms have worse eating habits, exercise less and get worse grades than teenagers who don’t have TVs in their bedrooms, Reuters reports. [Reuters]

Charlton Heston has passed away. [New York Times]

LATE STORIES
Bravo’s hit series Project Runway is leaving the NBC U family (for now) and heading to Lifetime in November. The blockbuster deal is part of a five-year pact that brings Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn and  everyone else associated with cable’s top-rated reality show to Lifetime, the network and The Weinstein Company said today. NBC has brought a suit against The Weinstein Company, hoping to block the popular series from leaving Bravo. The Weinstein Company said it believes the suit is without merit.

Warner Bros. International Television Distribution and HBO will be supplying programming to France Telecom Orange’s new pay-TV service.

William Shatner confirms he’s going to host a talk show on Biography Channel. [NYP]

Al Bundy (Ed O’Neill) and his family from Married …With Children have found an appropriate home on Spike TV. The male-oriented cable net acquired rights to all 259 eps of the 11-season series and can begin running them in September. 

Gotta love the wording of a press release from the folks at E! announcing a reality series centered on Pamela Anderson. The series, E! says, will be an "observational documentary" about Ms Anderson. It’s slated for this summer.

The American Cable Association appointed Bruce Beard, SVP and general counsel of Broadstripe (formerly Millennium Digital Media), to its board. Beard served on the ACA board from 2002-2006.

AMC signed BMW as premiere sponsor of season 2 of Mad Men. The hit series begins its sophomore run this summer.

This weekend’s Top Stories Cable360 Announcements
What are the best companies to work for in the cable industry? Help us decide by nominating the companies you think should be on our list of the Top 10 Places to Work in Cable. We will run the Top 10 Places to Work as a Web exclusive on Cable360.net and on CableFAX: The Magazine’s home page. Nominations are open to all cable operators, programmers and vendors. Deadline for nominations: Monday, June 9, 2008.
Click here for nomination form.

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