NEWS BRIEFING FOR MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2008

The Cable 360 staff is reveling in how wonderful a time we live in—the White House Easter Egg hunt was streamed live today. Good day.

TODAY’S MUST READ
Verizon FiOS said today that it will be connecting the largest apartment complex in Manhattan, moving beyond single family homes in the suburbs, the AP reports in a story picked up by The Wall St Journal. The buildings are Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village on Manhattan’s East Side. They are the largest complexes in FiOS’ 17-state rollout. The incumbents at the 11,232-unit complex are Time Warner Cable and RCN. At the moment, Verizon can’t provide video, only telephone and Internet in NYC as it lacks a franchising agreement with the Apple. It’s negotiating that now with authorities. [WSJ]

Next time let Jeff Bewkes pick up the check. The Time Warner chief had a pay package of $19.6 million last year, an SEC filing late Friday says. The bulk of the package came from stock and option awards valued at $11.2 million, The Wall St Journal says. Mr. Bewkes made $18.7 million in 2006. [WSJ

HBO gave pilot orders to Suburban Shootout, directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, and to Darren Star’s Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl, augmenting the Box’s comedy stable, The Hollywood Reporter said Sunday. The two join Bob Odenkirk and David Cross’ comedy pilot David’s Situation, which was picked up last week following the ouster of Carolyn Strauss. [THR] Speaking of Strauss, HBO said Saturday it would look outside its ranks to replace her. [WSJ]

Let the names begin. The Hollywood Reporter’s Brooks Boliek did a fine job Saturday of playing the speculation game, with the FCC chairman’s job as his focus. Among the names floating around are Susan Ness, Julius Genachowski, Rick Davis and Charles Black, among a host of others. By the way, if he wins, McCain would be the first former Commerce Committee Chairman to become President. [THR]

Briefly Noted
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace disagreed Friday with fellow Foxers that remarks made by Sen Obama about his white grandmother were offensive, sparking tension at Fox News and making for some good TV, The NY Times says. [NYT]

In the midst of the Bear Stearns situation and the credit market crisis, lawmakers are debating whether the relative free-for-all known as the financial sector should be more heavily regulated. [NYT

LATE STORIES
Bonnie Hammer keeps on adding presidencies to her business card. Late today NBC Universal named Hammer President of Cable Entertainment and Cable Studio, overseeing the newly formed NBC Universal Cable Studio and NBC Emerging Networks, which includes Sleuth, Chiller and Universal HD. She will continue also as President of USA and SciFi  networks. The promotion of Hammer was joined with a renewal of her contract, NBCU said.

HGTV renewed series Rip Renew, Color Correction, Find Your Style and Save My Bath.

CTAM elected Showtime EVP Len Fogge, Cablevision SVP Jonathan Hargis and Comcast EVP Dave Juliano to its board, which is chaired by Cox Chief Marketing Officer Joe Rooney.

A pox on both their houses. Fortune’s Richard Siklos believes a Delaware court this week will rule against both Barry Diller and Dr John Malone. [FM]

Retirement Living TV today began 24/7 carriage on Verizon FiOS.  In addition, Verizon and RLTV will be launching subscriber acquisition campaigns in key markets with a focus on the 55+ consumer. RLTV also is carried on Comcast and DirecTV.

The Justice Dept late today approved the merger of Sirius and XM satellite radio. NAB claims the merger will create a monopoly. The DOJ said it would not. [PCM]

Hoping to bolster its corporate entertainment practice, PR firm Bender/Helper Impact has set up a joint venture with boutique firm October Strategies, which is run by former Leo Hindery gatekeepers Lela Cocoros and LaRae Marsik. The new venture, BHI Strategies, will offer senior-level expertise on B-to-B, financial media and corp comm for cable, telecom, media, marketing and tech-related industries.

CNN Headline News continues its entertaining feel by adding a 30-min weekend show populated with clips of pop culture, people and politics. Not Just Another Cable News Show will run Sat and Sun at 7pm, 9pm and midnight. [MW

More on just what exactly set-top box data is, from TV Board, whose piece by Rainbow’s Charlene Weisler started the search. [TVB]

TODAY’S FUN READS
The NY Times has a field day with Showtime’s The Tudors, pointing out a myriad of historical inaccuracies in the series’ plot. No matter, since the paper notes the series has garnered a loyal audience. [NYT

We speculated last week that Jim Dolan might buy Newsday to reverse the aggressive coverage of him that the paper delivers. But our effort pales compared to Pali analyst Rich Greenfield’s, who assembled a Letterman-esque Top 10 list for the Dolans’ interest in acquiring Newsday. Reason #6: "Create a more positive tone to Newsday’s coverage of the Knicks and Rangers (maybe even print the standings wrong occasionally, showing the Knicks and Rangers in first place.)" [ND]

Weekend Update

Friday’s Top Stories 

Got a tip? Contact sarenstein@accessintel.com and sgoldstein@accessintel.com

 

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