NEWS BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 18, 2008

For the first time in 20 years Washington’s Wizards and Capitals are in the playoffs, and both are playing on television tomorrow afternoon. Decisions, decisions. Good day.

You mean reality TV isn’t all real? The Hollywood Reporter’s James Hibberd apparently uncovered some creative film editing in Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch, whose season 4 pair of premiere eps caught record ratings Tues night, but might have done so with questionable bait. During one sequence, viewers saw waves flooding a fishing boat in the Bering Strait. But THR got its hooks into a script for the show that indicates filmed scenes from a later storm were used to depict the earlier flooding, unbeknownst to viewers. Discovery denies any wrongdoing. Needless to say, fans will want to know if something fishy is afoot with this hit docu-reality series, whose producer, Thom Beers, is the well-respected exec behind The History Channel’s vaguely historical Ice Road Truckers. [THR]

NBC Universal has big plans for product placements in its digital programming, The NY Times reported last evening. It’s teaming with the Omnicom Group, the world’s top owner of ad agencies. The company said one of its digital productions, Gemini Division, will run this summer. The brands in that series are Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, United Parcel Service and the Acura TSX, the paper says. [NYT

OK, an interesting piece about former HBO entertainment chief Chris Albrecht in today’s Journal, describing his work for sports/entertainment agency IMG. Albrecht is attempting to create a league for Slamball, a cross between basketball, rugby and gymnastics. But the paper begins and ends the piece unnecessarily mentioning Albrecht’s unfortunate ousting from HBO last year. [WSJ

Briefly Noted
Call off the dogs— Google’s salad days aren’t done quite yet. The Internet giant posted a 30% jump in profit for Q1 and a 42% boost in revenue. Shares rose 17%, after they’d declined 35% since Jan 1. [WSJ

ESPN said the recent NBA season was its best since it reacquired rights to the league 6 seasons ago. Telecasts averaged 1.2 million households, up 14 percent from the previous year and averaged a 1.3 rating. Growth was linked to a 39% increase in men 18-34.

Today in CableFAX Daily: There’s really no offseason in football. NFL Network is set to file a complaint against Comcast, alleging it’s being unfairly kept off non-tier cable.

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