News briefing for Thursday, Feb. 21 »

As the northeast readies for the dreaded wintery mix tomorrow, here’s a secret: teachers appreciate snow days as much as students do. Good day.

Interactive ads and techniques to advertise in the VOD and DVR age are top of mind for advertisers, portions of a new survey by the Association of National Advertisers and Forrester Research says. 65% of advertisers want to try ads embedded in VOD, while 43% want to experiment with interactive ads. The full survey will be released next Thursday. [THR

Hoping to tap into the explosion in online video, Google has launched a push to sell ads within videos, The NY Times reports. Microsoft and Yahoo already have similar efforts. [NYT]

Mrs Anthony Soprano (aka Edie Falco) will be back on cable, starring in a dark,  single-camera comedy on Showtime that’s set to film immediately in New York, Showtime and partner Lionsgate said this morning. Falco will play a NYC-based nurse with ‘tude.

Buoyed by dividend talk, Comcast’s shares have risen 15% since last Thursday’s earnings report. But Credit Suisse’s Bryan Kraft thinks the run should end soon as he downgraded the MSO’s stock to neutral from outperform, The Hollywood Reporter and Barron’s report. [THR] [Barron’s]

Comcast upped WICT member and Magness grad Grace Killelea to the newly created position of VP of Talent and Leadership Initiatives, where she’ll lead the talent management and exec development function throughout Comcast.

Briefly Noted
The Directors Guild approved a new, 3-year deal with the Motion Picture  & Television Producers. [THR]

Multichannel News and Broadcast & Cable parent  Reed-Elsevier put the Reed Business Information unit up for sale. The Anglo-Dutch company said it wants to move away from ad-based products.

Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club installment on Tuesday night was the top-rated ep of an Oxygen original, delivering a 1.1HH and 1.13 million total viewers (P2+). It was the first Oxygen original to eclipse 1 million viewers. Last week’s ep grabbed 710,000 viewers (+59%).

Cox named veteran AT&T and  BellSouth public affairs exec Necole Merritt its new VP of Public Affairs, replacing the departed Ellen East.

Mark Kang and his team are celebrating as The Sportsman Channel landed carriage this month on Comcast systems in Hattiesburg and Meridian, Miss., Shreveport, La. and Little Rock, Ark. Additional launches include Comcast of Carolina, Comcast of New Jersey and several NCTC systems. TSC now is in front of nearly 17 million households on a full- and part-time basis.

TBS ordered eight more eps of late-night comedy series Frank TV, the vehicle for impressionist Frank Caliendo. The series has averaged more than 2 million viewers since its Nov launch.

Roger Clemens pulled out of the annual ESPN The Weekend event (Feb 29-Mar 2), saying he didn’t want to be a distraction to others having fun. ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz told The NY Times ESPN had informed the Clemens camp of the potential for “disruption to the events given the press scrutiny and ESPN’s interest in treating his participation as a newsworthy event, including the appropriate questioning about the issues.” [NYT]

Cable takes center stage as CNN hosts the Democrats’ presidential debate tonight at 8 ET and MSNBC runs the contest on Tuesday evening. [NYT]

Time Warner Cable upped rates for subs in the Mount Airy, NC, area, and gave no warning, The Mount Airy News says, noting basic cable rates have risen 87% since 2000. [MAN]

A candidate who actually knows what net neutrality means? Internet scholar Lawrence Lessig says he’s running for Congress. [NYT]

CBS College Sports TV nabbed a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television for its program on NC State basketball coach Kay Yow, and its Women in Sports Initiative was named a finalist for an ACC Beacon.

Upset with The NY Times’ McCain story? Want more grief? Head back a few sections to the Fashion & Style pages and see The Times’ piece (and pictures) on wedding dresses whose fronts plunge precipitously and backs drop south enough to reveal brides’ tattoos. “For my generation, looking like a virgin when you marry is completely unappealing, boring even,” The Times quotes 26-year-old bride-to-be Natasha DaSilva saying. “Who cares about that part anymore?” [NYT]

NAMIC announced its new regional officers. They are:
President – Lynnette Smith, Manager, Specialized Advertising, The Weather Channel; Vice President – Quincy Johnson, Director, Technical Operations, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.; Secretary – Jamelia Outlaw, Affiliate Ad Sales and Promotions Manager, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.; and Treasurer – William Cossey, Director, Supply Chain, Cox Communications.
President – Stacy Kline, Director, Human Resources Time Warner Cable; Vice President – Alana Moton, Account Director – Domestic Distribution, Discovery Networks; Secretary – Kristina Hill, Media Relations Manager, The Inspiration Networks; and Treasurer – Brian Hoffman, Regional Director, Talent Acquisition, Time Warner Cable.

NAMIC-Central Pennsylvania
President – Melissa Jackson, Student, Pennsylvania State University; Vice President – Alexis Hargo, Student, Pennsylvania State University; Secretary – Roshni Gasalia, Student, Pennsylvania State University; and Treasurer – Eden Kassa, Student, Pennsylvania State University.
President – Michael Woods, Regional Director, Marketing, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Vice President – Carla Moore, Director, Affiliate Sales, HBO Services, Inc.; Secretary – Angelynne Amores, Regional Corporate Communications Director, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; and Treasurer – Roger Williamson, Collections Manager, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

President – Chelsye Burrows, Vice President, Programming Publicity, Starz Entertainment; Vice President – Ron Phillips, Divisional Vice President of Human Resources, Comcast West Division; Secretary – Barbara McCoy, Coordinator, Corporate Communications/Publicity, Starz Entertainment; and Treasurer – Eric Claytor, Director of Affiliate Relations, The Sportsman Channel.

President – Pam Ford, Director, Communications, NCTA; Vice President – Jaye Linnen, Public Relations Manager, Comcast Cable; Secretary – Tamara Robinson, Marketing Representative, C-SPAN Networks; and Treasurer – Bryce Adams, Sales Coordinator, TV One.

President – Bill Jensen, Regional Vice President, Mediacom Communications Corporation-MN/SD Region; Vice President – Mohammed Haroon, Director, Telephone Operations, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Secretary – Yolanda Sims, Associate Security Investigator, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; and Treasurer – Diana Hawkins, Government Affairs Professional, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

NAMIC-New York
President – Juan Herrera, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, MTV Networks; Vice President – Dhanusha Sivajee, Director, Affiliate Marketing, HBO; Secretary – Denise Bennett, Integrated Marketing Manager, MTV Networks; and Treasurer – Monica Pons, Director, Strategic Sourcing, NBC Universal.
President – Bret Perkins, Vice President, Government Affairs, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Vice President – Lea Satterfield, Manager, Contract Administration & Service, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Secretary – Rakia Reynolds, Publicist/Television Producer, Banyan Productions; and Treasurer – Deborah Buhles, Director, Corporate Travel & Relocation, Comcast Corporation.

NAMIC-San Francisco
President – Linda Crayton, Regional Senior Director, Government Relations, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Vice President – Bill Rivas, Director, Sales & Marketing, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Secretary – Manoj Joseph, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Operations, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; and Treasurer – Charlon McIntosh, Director, Customer Care, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.

NAMIC-Southern California
President – Debra Langford, Executive Director, Strategic Sourcing, Time Warner, Inc.;
Vice President – Marco Williams, Vice President, Affiliate Marketing, The Africa Channel;
Secretary – Barbra Johnson, Director, Marketing Communications, Time Warner Cable; and Treasurer – Jennifer Kanter, Director of Sales & Marketing, Rainbow Network Sales.

NAMIC-South Florida
President – Helen Miranda Smith, Regional Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable; Vice President – Allan Navarrete, Vice President, Sales, Latin America, NBC Universal International Television Distribution; Secretary – Lucia Rodriguez, Hispanic Marketing Manager, Comcast Cable; and Treasurer – Dwayne Burke, Marketing Manager, Comcast Cable – Southern Division.

President – Jonathan Palmer, Regional Director, Southeast Region, Scripps Networks; Vice President – Lucia Folk, Director, Public Affairs, CMT/MTV Networks; Secretary – Elle Butler, Public Relations Manager, Scripps Networks; and Treasurer – Brandi Piper, Sales Coordinator, Scripps Networks.

NAMIC-Western Pennsylvania
President – Beverly Durrett, Customer Account Executive, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Vice President – Rayna Smith, Customer Service Lead, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; Secretary – Cynthia Haywood, Customer Account Executive, Comcast Cable Communications, Inc.; and Treasurer – Sharlene Mitchell-Pennington, Customer Service Specialist, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
  Yesterday’s Top Stories

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Today in CableFAX Daily: Time Warner and YES Network might be ready to settle their differences on licensing fees.

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Doing Good

Verizon is donating $100,000 to the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce for its Digital Horizons: Bridging Ohio Communities initiative.

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