News Briefing for Friday, May 9, 2008

Consecutive late nights have the Cable360 newsroom patently ignoring the company’s no slouching rule. Good day.

Based on recent movements with potential proxy board members, Microsoft isn’t about to make a quick reversal on last Saturday’s decision to walk away from the unsolicited Yahoo bid, The Wall St Journal says. Instead, officials from the companies are likely to restart talks. Meanwhile, BusinessWeek’s cover story says with Yahoo out of the mix, Microsoft has a plan to battle Google mano a mano. [WSJ] [BW]

Talks between AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & TV Producers ended yesterday, but a news blackout yielded no reports, The Hollywood Reporter says. The talks began despite SAG’s plea for postponement. SAG wanted to join AFTRA in the talks. AFTRA rejected SAG’s proposal for a joint front. Meanwhile, the chatter among cable programmers is that prospects for July’s TCA aren’t strong. [THR]

YES Networks’ announcer, former Yankees darling and cancer beater Bobby Murcer, gets a warm review of his new book from Richard Sandomir in The NY Times. “It is funny, wry, lovely — and about having the worst brain cancer possible,” Sandomir writes. Our favorite bit: Murcer’s recollection of coach Jim Turner, a chocoholic, being extremely careful to avoid chocolate cake that had been tainted by reliever Sparky Lyle’s nude dives into locker room pastry. [NYT]

Briefly Noted
David Zaslav continues to make good on his mandate to improve Discovery’s financial picture as the company readies for public offering. Its quarterly revenue rose 12%, Silver Spring said Thursday, according to The Washington Post. The Wall St Journal leads with news that Discovery’s IPO is delayed. [WP] [WSJ]

As Cablevision purchases Sundance Channel, rising costs and strong competition claims the lives of specialty studios Picturehouse (Pan’s Labyrinth) and Warner Independent Pictures (March of the Penguins), The Wall Street Journal reports. [WSJ]

In a variation on ‘what if they declared a war and nobody came?’ The NY Times asks what if banks promised loans to big corporations and now they don’t have the bucks? [NYT]

An American Crime (Sat, 9pm, Showtime) gets blasted by The Wall St Journal as “a freak show for the entertainmentally challenged.”[WSJ]

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

Thursday’s Top Stories

Have you entered our MSO of the Year or Independent Operator of the Year contests? Details at Cable360.net

What are the best companies to work for in the cable industry? Help CableFAX: The Magazine decide by nominating the companies you think should be on our list of the Top 10 Places to Work in Cable by completing our online nomination form.  We will run the Top 10 Places to Work as a Web exclusive on Cable360.net and on CableFAX: The Magazine’s home page.

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