Cable360 — Afternoon news briefing for Tuesday, Nov. 20 »

Discovery’s Gates of Commerce
Discovery Communications named Patrick Gates president and GM of Discovery Commerce. He was interim president and GM of the division. The 25-year retail vet will report to Mark Hollinger, president, Global Business and Operations.

Gates will provide strategic vision for Discovery Commerce, which includes home video, licensing and direct-to-consumer sales. He came to Discovery in ’05 from AOL Time Warner, where he was SVP,  commerce.

Zalaznick Gets Oxygen
As expected, Bravo Media chief Lauren Zalaznick will add Oxygen to her portfolio. NBC Universal also said today Oxygen co-founder Lisa Gersh will remain for a 3-month transition before “assuming a new leadership role at NBC Universal."

The moves were announced as NBC Universal completed its acquisition of Oxygen Media; the transaction is valued at some $875 million. Oxygen will become part of the NBC Universal Cable group, led by Jeff Gaspin, president and COO, Universal Television Group.

Cablevision Is P.C.
Cablevision entered a partnership with key NY consumer appliance retailer P.C. Richard & Son that will allow customers to sign up for all three of its Optimum products – iO TV digital cable, Optimum Online high-speed Internet and Optimum Voice phone service – at 35 retail locations in Cablevision’s service area. Cablevision will provide digital cable to more than 30 P.C. Richard & Son locations, so customers can watch HD programming as they shop.


Pantastic
Disney Channel (2.3 in prime) bested cousin ESPN (2.2) and USA (no relation) at 2.1 to grab the week’s prime ratings crown for basic cable. TBS was #4 (1.5) and TNT grabbed the fifth spot (1.4).

Top programs (Nov 12-18) were Monday Night Football on ESPN (49ers vs Seahawks), followed by Nick’s SpongeBob SquarePants movie Atlantis SquarePantis, and  a special about  making of the movie. 


CNN International Appointments
CNN International today named Katherine Green SVP of CNN International programming. She’ll oversee editorial production, program development, network talent and day-to-day operations of CNN International and be based in Atlanta. Green was VP/news director of WTTG/Fox 5 News in Washington, D.C. Mike McCarthy, managing editor for CNN International, was named VP of coverage and feature programming. He will oversee major breaking news and features produced in CNN’s London, Hong Kong and Atlanta production centers.

Cable or Broadcast?
It’s hard to tell sometimes.

That’ll be the case Sunday when NY City broadcast station MY9 WWOR-TV carries MSG-produced coverage of the New York Rangers vs Dallas Stars NHL game at 1pm ET.

The stunt is part of a 4-game package for the broadcast station,  including one more Rangers’ game (Dec 16 vs Phoenix) and a pair of New York Knicks’ basketball games (Dec 30 vs Chicago and Mar 30 vs Atlanta). All four games will be produced in HD and feature MSG announcers. Carriage on WWOR will give MSG increased exposure in the NY metro market, said Lydia Murphy-Stephans, EVP, Programming and Production for MSG. WWOR-TV’s incentive is obvious, offering coverage of the white-hot Rangers. The Knicks, while not playing well, are generating plenty of headlines with reports of internal dissention between guard Stephon Marbury and coach Isiah Thomas.

MSG is part of Madison Square Garden, L.P., which is owned by the Dolans’ Cablevision Systems Corp, which also owns the Knicks, Rangers and the Garden itself. WWOR-TV My9 and WNYW FOX 5 are owned-and-operated by the FOX Television Stations, an owned-and-operated network broadcast group with 35 stations in 26 markets and covering nearly 45% of U.S. television homes.


Briefly Noted
Blogger VCMike (aka venture capitalist Mike Hirschland of Polaris) continued his analysis of investing in digital “hits,” which was spurred by a conference panel on digital content and has begun a back and forth between Mike and fellow VC blogger Steve Rosenbaum. Mike’s point today? Digital content may have changed the rules. As he writes: “the digital platform is on the one hand dramatically lowering the cost of creating and distributing content, while on the other hand making it easier to predict success (at least to some extent).”
VCMike
Rosenbaum

It’s said that George W. Bush won partly because Americans saw him as someone they’d like to drink a beer with. A new poll largely echoes one released last week by Lifetime. Lifetime’s respondents said Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were the two who’d be most welcome at their Thanksgiving table.
[The Wall Street Journal]

After landing  on the cover of CableWorld’s "Most Influential Minorities in Cable" issue in October, the hits keep coming for Lifetime chief Andrea Wong. Ms Wong is listed in The Wall Street Journal’s "Global Women to Watch" list.
[The Wall Street Journal]
 
Mary-Kate Olsen, 21, has been hospitalized with a kidney infection, People says. Among Mary-Kate’s recent paychecks are those from Showtime, where she’s playing a sexy Christian fundamentalist on Weeds. And speaking of Showtime, word is that The Red Hot Chili Peppers are suing the network over the name of hit series Californication. The band released an album and single in 1999 with the same name.
[People
]
[Ireland On-Line]

WE tv unveiled 13-ep original reality series Party Mamas (Dec 12, 10pm ET), which looks at “the perfectionist, over-demanding nature of moms as they plan elaborate extravaganzas for their children.” Really? Who ever heard of over-demanding and perfectionist moms? 
  Today’s 360AM.

• Got a tip? Email sgoldstein@accessintel.com.

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Name Game Redux

Commentary By Steve Effros I wasn’t planning on dwelling on the subject of the language we use to describe our business and how others use (or misuse) it for a second week in a row. However I wound up

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