NEWS BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, MARCH 14, 2008 On June 13, the Macon Music, a minor league baseball team, will host Eliot Spitzer night, The Macon Telegraph reports. Spitzer has been invited to throw out the first pitch. The team will give away a trip to NY and a one-night stay at the Mayflower Hotel. Fans named Eliot, Spitzer or Kristen and any fan from NY will receive $1 off admission, as will any fan who has ever resigned a position. Wire taps will be placed around the ballpark and ATMs will be limited to withdrawals of not more than $5,000 per hour. Isn’t America great? Good day.
The puck stops here, indeed. NBC wants to televise the tentatively scheduled New Year’s Day NHL hockey game to be held next year in Yankee Stadium, but it might have to renew its deal with the NHL to do so, The NY Observer says. Meanwhile ESPN might be interesting in carrying the NHL again. The league’s cable contract, through 2011, is with Comcast’s Versus. [NYO]
Items from Fortune about 2 pairs of gentlemen; one couple is friendly now after many battles, the other pair were friends but seem headed toward splitsville. Pair one is former HBO chief Chris Albrecht and Showtime head Matt Blank, now teamed for Albrecht’s Secret Diaries of a Call Girl, premiering on Showtime June 16 (you know Showtime wishes it could premiere it right now, taking advantage of the Spitzer effect). Pair two, of course, is Barry Diller and Dr John Malone, grousing in a Delaware court for all to see. Thursday, Diller complained that Malone and other Liberty execs made disparaging remarks about Home Shopping Network; he also was ticked by a Wall Street Journal piece back in October. Liberty’s lawyers challenged Diller’s management decisions. [WSJ] [CNN] [CNN]
Struggling AOL is buying #3 social networking site Bebo for $850 million, calling the acquisition “a game changer,” The NY Times reports. [NYT]
GE chief Jeffrey Immelt used the ’Net to state his case yesterday to shareholders and repeated that NBC Universal is not for sale. [NYT]
Lifetime named OMD general partner Debbie Richman its EVP of ad sales.
Speaking of former cable network bosses, old VH1 boss Michael Hirschorn is back with Paris Hilton in tow, show running for an MTV reality series, Variety says. [DV]
Bravo’s Top Chef really cooked Wed (10pm), premiering as the #1-rated food show on cable across all demos, according to Nielsen. The season 3 opener grabbed 1.5 mln 18-49s and 2.3mln total viewers; it was up 11% in total viewers from season two’s debut (6/13/07).
Rainbow SVP of Research Charlene Weisler makes a terrific point at MediaPost: People mean different things when they talk about set-top box data. [MP]
HBO’s epic John Adams (premieres Sunday) got a mixed review from Alessandra Stanley in The NY Times—actor Paul Giamatti is the major liability, she says—and a terrific one from Nancy DeWolf Smith in The Wall St Journal, who likes Giamatti as Adams and calls the mini “a feast for the eyes,” among other compliments. [NYT] [WSJ]
Billy Crystal didn’t get a hit, but he was a hit. Thursday’s Pirates-Yankees telecast on YES, during which Crystal batted, was the highest-rated (1.1 HH rating) and most-watched (89,000 total viewers) weekday daytime pre-season Yanks game ever. In other news, Robin Williams will be pitching for the Mets in a spring training game Monday.
Microsoft and Yahoo officials met Monday, the first time they’ve done so since the Jan 31 unsolicited offer was announced, The Wall St Journal says, citing unnamed sources. [WSJ] Today in CableFAX Daily: When it rains….The GAO blasts the FCC on its lack of follow-through on consumer complaints.
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