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WIRELESS by Marauder


The Disney/ABC Television Group, ESPN and Verizon announced a deal to offer a broader selection of programming to Verizon Wireless VCast and mobile web customers. The agreement covers mobile distribution of on-demand, full-length episodes to VCast Video, complementing existing short-form content already available from ABC and ESPN. Full-length programs now available include Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost and Ugly Betty from ABC; Nightline, This Week with George Stephanopoulos and 20/20 from ABC News; and Hannah Montana, The Suite Life on Deck and Phineas and Ferb from Disney Channel. (Cynopsis 1/27)

After losing some 1.3 million subscribers during Q3 Sprint Nextel announced it is preparing to eliminate some 8,000 workers or 14.3% of its workforce by the end of March (the same month that Palm is rumored to introduce its new Pre smartphone on the Sprint network.) (Cynopsis 1/27)

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With an audience-retention rate of nearly 100% since its premiere Oct. 20, freshman comedy “Rita Rocks” already has proved to be a buzz-worthy hit on Lifetime’s Tuesday-night schedule. The network has rewarded that performance by ordering seven more episodes, which brings the show’s first-season episode total to 20. TVWeek.com (11/10)


Barack Obama’s two daughters have been invited to appear on the Disney Channel kids show “Hannah Montana,” said actor Billy Ray Cyrus, the father of “Hannah” star Miley Cyrus. The show has asked Malia, 10, and Sasha Obama, 7, to take part in an episode around April. (Iwantmedia 11/11, http://www.accesshollywood.com/malia-and-sasha-obama-to-visit-hannah-montana_article_12106 11/11)


Discovery Channel showcases new episodes of Man vs. Wild beginning late January with adventurer Bear Grylls at the helm. Eight new hi-def episodes will follow Bear to challenging locations such as Transylvania, Turkey, Belize, the Yukon Peninsula, Dominican Republic and the Bandlands of Oregon. These new episodes, produced by Diverse Productions, continues season three which began last August. (Cynopsis 11/11)


History unveiled its new series Shadow Force last Friday at 10p, delivering 585,000 A18-49 viewers, 616,000 A25-54 viewers and 1.1 million total viewers. (Cynopsis 11/11)

There have been layoffs at Current Media, the cable network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.  A source close to Current told CNET News on Tuesday that 20 percent of the staff has been cut, and that some of the layoffs will take place now and others in January. Current had announced less than a day ago that it had partnered with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to bring its network to Canada. (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-10094101-36.html?tag=rtcol;relnews 11/11)

The notion that General Electric would like to sell NBC Universal has circulated for years. But the credit crisis has suddenly changed prospects of selling the unit. Analysts now don’t see the point in dumping NBC at a time when other GE businesses are struggling. (Iwantmedia 11/11, http://www.reuters.com/article/reutersEdge/idUSTRE4A92OC20081110 11/10)

The MLB Network secured carriage on Verizon’s FiOS TV service as part of a multi-year agreement. Verizon will add MLB to its Essentials and Extreme HD package when it debuts on Jan. 1 2009. Verizon will also offer the MLB Extra Innings package of out-of-market games to its subscribers. (Cynopsis 11/11)

The MGM HD channel has secured carriage through AT&T’s U-verse IPTV system. U-verse TV customers can receive MGM HD as part of the service’s HD Premium package, a new tier which can be added to an HD service subscription for an additional $5/month. (Cynopsis 11/11)

The FCC said it would seek additional information on the so-called “quiet period” being suggested around retransmission-consent agreements leading up to and following the country’s transition to all-digital TV signals. Cable companies have asked the commission to impose a quiet period that would start at the end of the year so that negotiations would not add to the confusion of the DTV switchover. Broadcasting & Cable (11/10)

Insight Communications turned in a stellar third-quarter performance, adding 9,300 basic-cable subscribers, 14,400 digital-cable customers, 20,500 high-speed data homes and 19,200 telephony subscribers. That solid growth in revenue-generating units helped the company earn $220 million in revenue during the quarter, a 17% improvement over the same period a year earlier. OneTRAK (11/10) , CED Magazine (11/2008)

Dish Network reported another bad quarter losing about 10,000 subscribers to end the quarter with 13.78 million overall subs. The company’s Q3 net income was $92 million – down 54% from Q3 2007. Like its competitor DirecTV, Dish warned it is likely to suffer from the loss of AT&T as distribution partner net year. AT&T subs accounted for around 17% of its gross subscriber additions so far in 2008. (Cynopsis 11/11)

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MISC by Marauder


Financier Carl Icahn announced plans to become a blogger more than four months ago. He now states he will start his blog “next week,” but adds that “human nature” could delay his plans. Icahn says he hopes to post entries showing examples of corporate waste. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://www.nypost.com/seven/06122008/business/carl_is_no_blog_icon__just_yet_115066.htm 6/12)

Sales of licensed Disney merchandise is expected to break records and top $30 billion in global retail, up from $27 billion last year. The company’s new “tween” businesses — “High School Musical” and “Hannah Montana” — are expected to rake in some $2.7 billion this year. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://www.cnbc.com/id/25079772 6/10)

Mort Zuckerman’s Worldwide Plaza and the old New York Times Building in Times Square are among the buildings that NBC Universal is considering as it looks for a new home for many of its New York-based operations. NBC may sell some of its space at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. (Iwantmedia 6/12, http://www.nypost.com/seven/06122008/business/nbc_eyes_morts_digs_115079.htm 6/12)

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Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is ending Paramount’s deal with CBS pay channel Showtime to start a rival network with MGM and Lionsgate. His decision is said to be fueled by CBS boss Les Moonves‘ refusal to sweeten an offer on a renewal pact to run Paramount films on Showtime. (http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222008/business/moonves_waning_107560.htm 4/22)

Cable-company executives took a look at the recently announced joint venture by Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lions Gate to create a pay-TV movie channel and, according to this article, collectively shrugged their shoulders. Michael Willner, chief executive officer of Insight, said the as-yet-unnamed channel could have a hard time securing carriage agreements: “If they are just another outlet for movies, they will have a tough go.” (The Wall Street Journal 4/22)

Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC Television, is credited with boosting Disney profits with smash-hit multiplatform tween products like Hannah Montana and “High School Musical.” Sweeney is seen to hold the top spot on the list of those who might succeed Disney CEO Bob Iger. (Iwantmedia 4/22, http://www.portfolio.com/news-markets/national-news/portfolio/2008/04/14/Disneys-Evolving-Business-Model 5/08)

I am a HUGE Anne Sweeney supporter in part because of her ability to garner the tween marketplace and for her confidence in bringing online streaming video to ABC.com.  In case you don’t believe me, I bring you a pic from the bulletin board in my office.  I’m thinking of making a T.  Only media geeks will get it. . .

Netflix added 3 more (unnamed) set-top partners to its streaming video-to-the TV project, according to CEO Reed Hastings in an earnings call, who join previously-announced LG Electronics. Netflix now offers over 9,000 movies and TV shows for online rental. (Cynopsis 4/22, Reuters 4/21)

Fox Television Stations and distributor Debmar-Mercury are co-producing a six-week preview of The Wendy Williams Show. The daily, 60m entertainment and talk show will be based in New York and surround radio DJ and author Wendy, who will offer advice to the audience and viewers on various life issues as well as dish on celebrity gossip and new events. (Cynopsis 4/22)

CBS’s Entertainment Tonight and The Insider will be the first to entertainment magazine shows to be broadcast in HD beginning this September, reports B&C. (Cynopsis 4/22)

Beginning this week, NBC will flip-flop two of its Thursday night sitcoms as 30 Rock will move into the 930p time slot following The Office, per Variety. Scrubs will move to 830p filling the vacancy left by 30 Rock.  (Cynopsis 4/22)

FOX renewed the sci-fi drama Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles for a sophomore season, confirming the series will be back this fall. FOX ordered 13 episodes though the fall season time slot for the series is yet to be determined. (Cynopsis 4/22)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

(Below) Even for broadcast TV, this is a new low.

Appearing on NBC’s Celebrity Circus series which premieres on June 11 at 930p, are Christopher Knight, Rachel Hunter, Antonio Sabato Jr., Blu Cantrell, Janet Evans and Jason “Wee Man” Acuna. Signed as ringmaster is Joey Fatone,  Celebrity Circus, produced by Endemol USA, features celebs performing a variety of circus feats including the high trapeze and fire eating, reports Variety. (Cynopsis 4/22)

TV Guide Network rebranded its ad-supported VOD barker channel as TV Guide Network On Demand, which provides news and behind-the-scenes content to VOD viewers. The service is also planning to roll out original content from next month, including minisodes of “Making News” and a newly ordered comedy series from internet impresarios from Rhett & Link. (Cynopsis 4/22)

Charter has announced a corporate reorganization, primarily at its St. Louis headquarters, to streamline operations and maximize efficiencies as the company looks to bundle services. As part of the move, some executives will be leaving the company, most notably Cathy Fogler, vice president and general manager of video services. (Multichannel News 4/21)

AT&T is introducing its full U-verse package to western Michigan, marking the first time the company has debuted TV, broadband and telephony service at once in a market. Still, Comcast spokesman Patrick Paterno seemed underwhelmed by the news of the competition’s latest move: “We deal with competition all the time. We still feel we offer the best value in TV, high-speed Internet and home phone service.” (MLive.com (Mich.) 4/21)


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