News Briefing for Monday, April 21, 2008 Paramount Pictures will be launching its own premium cable channel and will no longer be selling its new movies to its quasi-sister company Showtime Networks, the New York Times reports. The new channel will compete directly with Showtime, as well as with HBO and Starz. Paramount is owned by Viacom; Showtime is owned by CBS Corp. and previously was under the Viacom umbrella. Viacom chief executive Sumner Redstone split his media company into two parts—Viacom and CBS—which now are free to compete with each other, and appear to be doing so. MGM and Lionsgate will be Paramount’s partner in the new premium channel, which is set to launch in 2009 and will offer new movie titles such as Iron Man, MGM’s James Bond films and original programming. [New York Times | Reuters]

Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett says AT&T’s upcoming earnings report may show the effects of a decline in demand for its business services, Bloomberg reports. [Bloomberg]

AT&T’s U-verse triple play launched in west Michigan.

Verizon will spend $200 million this year to extend the reach of FiOS TV in Massachusetts. [Eagle Tribune]

Spike TV bought the rights to Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo movies. [Variety]

Late Stories
TV Guide Network said today its ad-supported VOD service TV Guide SPOT was re-branded TV Guide Network On Demand, effective last Friday. The service provides more than 32 million digital cable viewers with entertainment-focused original content and highlights of popular programming from TV Guide Network.

BlueHighways TV said today that it’s added 4 independents to its ranks, launching on: New Hope Telephone Cooperative of New Hope, Alabama; Windomnet, Windom, Minnesota; SRT Communications, Minot, North Dakota; and I Fiber Communications of Douglas and Grant Counties, Washington. These operators bring 10K subs to BlueHighways’ linear sub count, which stands at 250K. The network has some 5.5mln VOD households.

Gemstar-TV Guide and Digeo today said they’d settled their outstanding litigation by mutually dismissing claims. With that they also announced a multi-year patent license agreement. In the agreement, Gemstar TV-Guide provides Digeo with a patent license to cover Digeo’s currently deployed IPGs, as well as IPGs that Digeo plans to deploy with service providers and for use on consumer electronic and personal computer platforms. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nothing succeeds like success. So, MTV’s inked an agreement with Cris Abrego (I Love NY, Flavor of Love, My Fair Brady and The Surreal Life) to executive produce two shows. The previously announced From G’s To Gents (July ’08) will follow guys as they compete to become gentlemen.  Also casting is Chubby Model (working title), a reality competition where overweight women aspire to become models. 

Sci Fi ordered new eps of Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth.

SoapNet re-launched its Web site. Got a tip? Contact and

Friday’s Top Stories

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