CABLEWORLD STAFF The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau pegs the collective upfront advertising sales for ad-supported cable networks for the 2003-’04 season at $5.68 billion — a 21% increase over last year and a gain of almost $1 billion, making this the highest-ever single-year increase in cable upfront history. It also outstrips broadcast gains, with broadcast networks up 12% to $9.2 billion in this upfront, according to CAB estimates. Court TV EVP of programming and marketing Art Bell was named president and COO of the network. He succeeds president and COO Dick Beahrs, who is retiring but will continue as an adviser. Galen Jones was also named to the new position of EVP, chief corporate strategist, from his position as EVP, strategy and planning, and GM of Court TV online. MTV Networks promoted CFO Alex Ferrari to COO for MTV Networks International, and John Cucci from COO of Comedy Central to CFO for MTV Networks. The Discovery Channel is embarking on a brand and program marketing campaign centered on the tagline “Entertain your brain.” Actor Ed Harris is the voice of the summerlong initiative, which includes heavy advertising, guerrilla marketing (such as hotel pool-sized decals touting Shark Week), refreshed network graphics and “Smarty Pants,” an on location trivia stunt hitting New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. The Food Network is heating up its “Summer Unwrapped” marketing and programming campaign, an eight-week effort plugging its Unwrapped series that includes promotional tie-ins with campaign sponsors such as the Loews Cineplex chain of cinemas. Court TV is also running a “Forensic Files Clean Getaway” competition in 150 Loews theaters this month. MTV: Music Television unveiled its new fall lineup, featuring new reality series Wade Robson Project, a dance-focused show starring the music video choreographer; Rich Girls; Roomates (sic); Made Presents: Camp Jim, about aspiring cheerleaders; a look at pranks and scandals in High School Stories; and the game show Boiling Point. Also coming are two series featuring Jackass stars: Nature Show and an untitled Bam Margera project. MTV’s documentary series True Life returns with six new episodes on July 10.

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Early Signs Positive for Emergency Broadband Benefit Uptake

The FCC’s $3.2 billion Emergency Broadband Benefit program kicked off with a bang Wednesday, and some 825 providers sat ready to answer consumer questions and get folks signed up for subsidies. Thus far, all has gone to plan and consumer interest is coming in either consistent with or in excess of providers’ early predictions.

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