Generating buzz today:

• 11 top programming execs including MTVN’s Judy McGrath, AETN’s Abbe Raven, Showtime’s Matt Blank, Discovery’s John Hendricks, Oxygen’s Gerry Laybourne and Turner’s Phil Kent sent a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin protesting the CableCARD-related "integration ban." (Read the NCTA press release). Earlier this week, NCTA pres/CEO Kyle McSlarrow warned the FCC and the U.S. Dept. of Commerce that an integration ban would be a "disaster" and derail the government’s planned 2009 digital TV transition. To quote McSlarrow: "There are decisions that must be made now in order to ensure that we don’t walk into a consumer and political disaster."

• The FCC deleted the AT&T-BellSouth merger from the agenda of its Friday open Commission meeting. It’s the third time the item has been postponed—three strikes and it’s out?

Mediacom reports Q3 earnings; chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso calls it the company’s "strongest financial performance since 2002" (press release). The Federal Appeals Court for the Eighth Circuit isn’t expected to rule on Mediacom’s retrans spat with Sinclair until it drops those stations on Dec. 1 (press release).

Time Warner Cable‘s ITV hotbed, its Oceanic system in Hawaii, launches SportsChoice mosaic channel with Ligos (press release)

Cox Communications‘ expanded programming lineup is 100% digital in Northern Virginia (press release)

Shaw uncorks Nitro, "the fastest Internet service in Canada" (press release)

Michigan‘s proposed cable regulation becomes a litmus test in the state’s elections (Flint Journal)

Verizon applies for first statewide franchise in New Jersey (press release)

Verizon and Intel bring PC-based videogames to TV (press release)

• Time Warner Cable‘s Start Over product is one of the cable-related Technology and Engineering Emmy Award nominations announced today. The winners will be announced at CES on Jan. 8. (press release)

Time Warner Cable signs the New York Times as one of its first IPTV customers in Manhattan (Computerworld)

MTV Networks‘ new digital czar, Mika Salmi, describes his job to the New York Post: "I’m the monkey in the middle—you can poke me or feed me, blame me or credit me." (More coverage here)

Mark Cuban‘s admittedly speculative blog on the Google/YouTube deal burns up the blogosphere, with pick-ups by PVR Wire, ZDnet, John Battelle, Digg, and Publishing 2.0.

HBO‘s "Bold Broadband Plans" (more like "Big Broadband Dilemma") is explored in BusinessWeek. It’s already offering Web "shows" such as Ask Bill, a post-Real Time with Bill Maher online live chat. Regarding StarzVongo service—for a backgrounder, read CableWorld‘s Oct. 2004 story on the company’s broadband strategy.

Comedy Central‘s Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert make the cover of Rolling Stone

MTVN is not pulling YouTube clips—yet (Red Herring)

Discovery Communications launches Animal Planet Media and adopts two pet websites (press release)

Gemstar-TV Guide reports Q3 earnings (press release)

Viacom‘s top PR people promoted: Carole Robinson is now MTVN’s EVP and chief of staff, reporting to MTVN chairman and CEO Judy McGrath; Viacom’s Carl Folta is now EVP, corporate communications, reporting to Viacom CAO Tom Dooley. Separately, Viacom/MTVN SVP of corporate responsibility and public affairs Alicin Reidy-Williamson is the new chair of the NAMIC board.

CBS reports Q3 earnings (press release; earnings call transcript from Seeking Alpha)

MobiTV closes Series C funding round with $100 million (press release)

JumpTV launches version 3.0 (press release), 2 weeks after its Comcast broadband deal

Al-Jazeera International launches Nov. 15 (AP) while France’s answer to CNN launches next month

GSN launches "Foley’s Follies," an online game lampooning Mark Foley (press release)

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