To Anil Srivatsa, evp, affiliate sales, ImaginAsian TV, and Randy Brown, svp, distribution, Tennis Channel, it’s fitting that National ’06 is in Atlanta. As CNN’s hometown, it’s the spiritual home to countless entrepreneurs who dream of launching cable networks. That spirit is why they were founding members of the Association of Independent Programming Networks, an organization of (currently) 16 networks launched Feb 1 that will have its coming out party Sunday in Atlanta. AIPN will hold a meeting and a reception at National for current and prospective members. It’s more than just networking and recruitment. AIPN wants to quell any nervousness about its intentions-which, it emphasizes, doesn’t include taking a collective and adversarial stance against distributors. Ever since CableFAX broke the news about this first-ever trade association of standalone programmers, AIPN has been flooded with inquiries from independents (Cfax 2/2). Cable operators also called to find out why not only Tennis and IaTV but the America Channel, Mid-Atlantic Sports Net, Horror Channel, Wealth TV, HDNet, Outdoor Channel, Lime, Soundtrack Channel and others formed an incorporated, bylaw-making and membership fees-paying organization. Their response: rest assured, AIPN won’t be filing collective comments to the FCC. They want to be more Emily Post (sharing best practices and protocol for how to conduct business with MSOs) than Matt Polka (much as they admire the affable ACA head). That means raising the bar and promoting the positive aspects of independents, says Srivatsa. "To become a member of the AIPN, there’s a certain level of, for lack of a better word, quality control," he says. The group plans to use its buying power for discounts on satellite time, insurance, legal fees, PR. "We don’t bring conglomerate leverage to the marketplace. We compete on our merits," says Brown. He adds, cable "enjoys a rich history of fabulous networks that were born out of entrepreneurial endeavors, from ESPN to BET to CNN." SB Highlights "Messiah," Mon, 9pm ET, BBC Am. Yes, another mystery on BBC A, but this 2-parter about a brilliant inspector is excellent, and gruesome. — "God or the Girl," Sun, 9pm ET, A&E. We’re not fans of A&E’s reality, but if you can take the exploitation, watching young men torn between the priesthood and their girlfriends is good TV. -"The Tournament," Mon, 10pm ET, OLN. Great spoof of reality TV via hockey. SA Worth a Look "Celebrity Food Fight," tomorrow, 9pm, Food. Not "Animal House," but celebs in a cooking contest. We’d prefer Flounder. – "Shalom in the Home," Mon, 10pm, TLC. Tough love from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, mildly useful. – "Protocols of Zion," Tues, 7pm, Cinemax. Very disturbing look at anti-Semitism.— "Honey, We’re Killing the Kids," Mon, 9pm, TLC. One of the thrusts here is kids are watching too much TV. Not TLC, of course. – "Spartacus," Mon, 10pm, Nat Geo. Fine, but we’ve seen this before. – "Just for Kicks," Sun,7pm, Nick. Promising series about teen girls and soccer-good values. – "Back on Campus," tomorrow, 10:30pm, ABC Family. Ditch the values (mom’s wasted at a frat party), but it’s a hoot watching parents and their kids in college. – "Though None Go With Me," tomorrow, 9pm ET, Hallmark. Predictable love story, but wholesome. SA

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