NEWS BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, MARCH 7, 2008 Today’s pleasant thought: You can buy a gallon of gas in San Diego for more than $4. Good day.

It’s looking grim for a settlement of the dispute between CBS affiliate WIBW of Topeka, KS, and Cox Communications before tonight’s midnight deadline. "We’ve made no progress," WIBW GM Jim Ogle told The Topeka Capital-Journal Thursday. "We made a last-ditch effort. But it’s not going anywhere right now.” WIBW wants Cox to  pay 1 cent per sub, and claims it’s negotiated that down recently, but Cox won’t budge, WIBW says. In turn, Cox says WIBW is misleading the public about the negotiations. Cox wants WIBW in its lineup, an official says. Meanwhile, WIBW is urging viewers to switch to DirecTV or Dish Net. [TCJ]

Viewers aren’t the only ones who benefit when shows born on cable, ahem, “graduate” up to broadcast networks to plug holes left by the writers strike. The actors on the shows gain exposure to larger audiences and get another pay day, Reuters says. [R]
 
Writers are using a variety of techniques to put spicy material into shows as cable and broadcast networks dance delicately between audiences’ hunger for sex and the FCC and watchdog groups, The Wall St Journal reports. 
[WSJ]


Briefly Noted
Disney will put classics from its library on its Web site for free or by subscription, rather than selling them as DVDs, Bob Iger said. [Bloomberg]
 
The UK’s #2 cable operator Virgin Media named interim CEO Neil Berkett CEO, Bloomberg reports. Berkett changed the company’s strategy, pushing high-speed access and basic TV. [B]

Another journalist , US News’ David LaGesse, weighs in on the disaster known as the digital transition, when “whole swaths of American homes will see their TVs turn to snow….” [USN]

Tough times at Bloomberg, as cuts loom and salaries for those making $200K+ are frozen, Keith Kelly writes in The NY Post.  [NYP]

VH1’s new slate features reality series starring Margaret Cho and rock docs about James Brown and Elton John, The Hollywood Reporter says. [THR]

NY Post’s Adam Buckman gives History’s Ax Men 2.5 stars (out of 4). [NYP]

Nice piece by The NY Times’ Richard Sandomir about YES Network’s Bobby Murcer’s ties through brain cancer to fomer Showtime boxing chief Jay Larkin.  [NYT] Got a tip? Contact sarenstein@accessintel.com and sgoldstein@accessintel.com

Today in CableFAX Daily: Cable is recession-proof, Morgan Stanley’s Ben Swinburne says.

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