NEWS BRIEFING FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 4, 2008

Global warming? It snowed in DC yesterday. Good morning.

Public affairs channel The Connecticut Television Network fears “with good reason” that AT&T’s U-verse will relegate it to the cesspool of the dial, making it difficult for consumers to watch its slate of state government debates and news, The Hartford Courant says in an editorial. U-verse should make like cable and offer the network in a more desirable channel location, the paper urges. [THC]

Let’s get to the real cable news of the day: Battlestar Galactica begins its fourth and final season tonight on SciFi. The NY Times’ usually tough critic Alessandra Stanley finds a lot to like about the series with its “egghead appeal” and multiple exegeses, calling it “science fiction for viewers who don’t particularly care about science and prefer their fiction veined with allusions to fact.” [NYT]

Liberty increased its share in DirecTV, The Wall St Journal reports. [WSJ]

ShopNBC named Glenn Leidahl as COO, Terry Curtis as SVP of Customer Analytics and Sales Planning and John Gunder as SVP of Media and On-Air Sales. [CNN]

Backstage analyzes what the SAG-AFTRA split means for upcoming talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. [BK]

VOD channel Shalom TV gets some love from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as TV reporter Rob Owen notes the successes and hurdles of non-linear or superniche networks. [PPG]

Briefly Noted
Yahoo and Microsoft met this week to discuss Microsoft’s takeover, without success, The Wall St Journal reports. [WSJ

MySpace joined Vivendi, Sony and BMG to launch an online music service to compete with Apple’s iTunes Store. [WSJ]

The focus of this week’s CTIA show was how to load phones with Web and other media to compete with the iPhone, The NY Times says. [NYT]

IFC renewed The Whitest Kids U Know and unveiled a semi-scripted comedy based on the real lives of the rock band trio Z Rock, The Hollywood Reporter says. The series offers a recurring role for Joan Rivers, who quips “it’s the first time in years that three single guys want to see me every week.” [THR]

The Wall St Journal online discusses sartorial issues with that noted man of the cloth, ESPN basketball guru Dick Vitale, whose sense of fashion reminds us of the Bobby Vinton song, “Blue on Blue.” [WSJ]

LATE STORIES
Superstation WGN Tribune Co could default on its debt in 18 months if its newspaper business continues to decline, Reuters reports, noting that  the company could grab nearly $2 billion for selling the newspaper Newsday, the Chicago Cubs and other assets.

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

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