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Beatrice Arthur, 86, star of two iconic television series, died peacefully Saturday at home. Beatrice won Emmy Awards for her role in the 1970s television series Maude and also for her role as Dorothy in the 1980s series The Golden Girls. (Cynopsis 4/27)

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With an average prime-time delivery of 2.26 million in the first quarter, Fox News Channel with relative ease locked up the No. 2 spot among ad-supported cable networks. But now, the right-leaning news outlet is even looking to oust general-interest network USA as the top cable programmer. Mediaweek (4/27)

President Obama’s communications handlers acknowledge that today’s evolving media landscape works to their advantage. Both network television and newspapers are “bleeding” and are “less powerful.” And Obama is “more popular” than all of the media “combined.” (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/apr/27/new-media-no-match-for-popular-president 4/27)

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The major television networks are said to be unhappy with President Obama’s frequent primetime speeches, which are costing them some $10 million per hour in lost advertising revenue. Their revenue models didn’t “anticipate monthly State of the Unions.” (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.nypost.com/seven/04252009/business/an_obama_overload_166061.htm 4/25)

NBC says Jay Leno is its top marketing focus for 2009. “Leno is the single most important marketing priority of the year,” according to marketing head Adam Stotsky. The network is considering positioning the new primetime Leno show as a companion to its news programming. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/209983-NBC_Leno_Top_Marketing_Priority.php 4/27)

Fox is facing an uncomfortable future, as Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell — the two biggest stars on its No. 1-rated show “American Idol” — openly discuss leaving, which could send viewership plummeting in future seasons. Millions of dollars in advertising revenue could be at risk. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE53M0NB20090425 4/24)

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CNN, whose strategy is to steer the middle course in its news coverage, is ranked fourth among the cable news channels. Even CNN’s own staffers say its news formula may be preventing the network from competing effectively. (Iwantmedia 4/27, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/27/business/media/27cnn.html?_r=1 4/27)

CNN uses less opinion than its competitors. Lou Dobbs is an exception.

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MTV on Tuesday is expected to announce a new reality show called “The Stylist,” an occupational-competition series about fashion and accessory designers who will vie for a major contract. According to published reports, the show is a bit of a departure for MTV because its format will be reminiscent of series on Bravo, the CW and TLC. The Hollywood Reporter (4/26)

Two financial earnings reports to be released this week — Time Warner on Wednesday and Viacom on Thursday — are expected to provide the first detailed indication of how the cable industry fared financially in the first quarter of the year. Time Warner owns cable networks such as TNT, TBS and CNN, and Viacom’s channels include Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. The Wall Street Journal (4/26)

Analysts are blaming Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman for everything from MTV’s sagging ratings to the 44% fall in the company’s share price since he started. Some investors say they hope that “someday a CEO will come along” who can get more out of the company’s assets. (Iwantmedia 4/27, https://home.crainsnewyork.com/clickshare/authenticateUserSubscription.do?CSProduct=newyorkbusiness-web&CSAuthReq=1240855640:373352450840243&CSTargetURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.crainsnewyork.com%2Fapps%2Fpbcs.dll%2Fsection%3Ftemplate%3Dlogin_response 4/27)

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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

The Golden Globes award ceremony reeled in the big stars, but not much of a television audience. Sunday’s awards ceremony on NBC averaged 14.6 million viewers, the second-lowest TV audience since 1995. For the last telecast of the ceremony, in 2007, the audience was 20 million. (Iwantmedia 1/13, http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSTRE50B7OH20090113 1/12)

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MTV is hosting its own “Youth Inaugural Ball” on January 20, 2009 at 10pm ET/7pm PT to help parlay the impressive youth turnout on election day into continued interest in national and local community service. The show, which will be broadcast live across all MTV platforms in the U.S. including MTV, MTV.com, MTV2, MTV Tr3s, mtvU, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and MTV Mobile, will feature live remarks from newly inaugurated President Obama as well as performances from an all-star cast of performance artists. (Cynopsis 1/13)

Barack Obama is on his way to the big screen, thanks to a deal between MSNBC and Screenvision that will put the news channel’s inaugural coverage in 27 movie theaters across America. Free tickets are being handed out via MSNBC.com to see the inauguration and parade. (Iwantmedia 1/13, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3i64ab5b30222e725f847b60a34904d5fb 1/12)

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Showtime is employing what it calls a “digital sampling strategy” to whip up excitement around the premiere Sunday of the Steven Spielberg-produced “United States of Tara.” Besides TV, the premiere episode will be available on more than 100 Web sites, in theaters in 25 markets, on mobile-phone platforms and other content avenues. MediaPost Communications (1/12)

Just watched the first episode from one of their 100 web sites and was entranced.  The personalities are so engaging that you forget the original character at some point.  Check it out here in refreshingly amazing quality video.

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“Stargate Atlantis” and “Sanctuary,” two Sci Fi Channel shows, ended their series and season runs, respectively, on high notes. The series finale of “Atlantis” on Friday attracted about 2 million viewers and earned a 1.5 household rating; the first-season closer of “Sanctuary” also pulled in about 2 million people, but put up a 1.6 rating mark. TVWeek.com (1/12)

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NBC says it has sold about 90% of its available advertising inventory for Super Bowl XLIII, leaving between eight and 10 of the 67 available spots up for grabs, at a going rate of $3 million a pop. NBC is expected to break Fox’s record ad haul of $186.3 million. (Iwantmedia 1/13,http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/content_display/news/national-broadcast/e3ice058ab1756ad165816dd4f4733bfa74 1/11)

NBC is adding another legal show to its development slate, per THR, as the network gave a script commitment for a 30m comedy Barely Legal based on the true story of Kathleen Holtz who became the youngest person, at age 18, to pass the bar in California. The role of Kathleen will be played by Hilary Duff and Rob Morrow, who developed the project through his company Bits and Pieces Productions will executive produce; Universal Media Studios will produce. (Cynopsis 1/13)

Starz has extended a content deal with Sony Pictures Entertainment for exclusive rights to the company’s films as well as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the movies’ stars. The extension keeps the companies’ previous pact, which is set to expire in 2013, in place into the latter part of the next decade. Multichannel News (1/12) , Variety (1/12)

TNT has ordered 10 episodes of Ray Romano’s “Men of a Certain Age,” a buddy comedy that also will star Andre Braugher and Scott Bakula. The show, Romano’s first since “Everybody Loves Raymond,” is expected to premiere later this year. The Hollywood Reporter (1/12)

“Harper’s Island,” a new CBS murder mystery from the creators of YouTube hit “lonelygirl15,” isn’t just coming to television. The new series, premiering this spring, will be presented as a multi-platform interactive program with portions airing online and on mobile devices. (Iwantmedia 1/13, http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6629251.html 1/13)

IPTV service AT&T U-verse added NHL Network and NHL Network HD to its channel lineup. (Cynopsis 1/13)

Discovery is expanding its portfolio of HD networks with the launch of Animal Planet HD. (Cynopsis 1/13)

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BROADCAST/CABLE by Marauder

BROADCAST/CABLE

HBO is developing what is being described as a dark comedy about a down-on-his-luck father who discovers that his below-the-belt girth can help transform his life. The show, titled “Hung,” is the first project for Sue Naegle, who became HBO’s entertainment chief Monday. (Variety 4/23)

A Chinese school teacher and a beautician are filing a lawsuit against Time Warner‘s CNN over remarks they say insulted the Chinese people and are seeking $1.3 billion in compensation — $1 per person in China. Commentator Jack Cafferty had described the Chinese as “goons and thugs.” (Iwantmedia 4/24, http://www.reuters.com/article/industryNews/idUSPEK30866720080424 4/24)

CNN’s coverage of the Pennsylvania Democratic primary Tuesday averaged nearly 2.56 million viewers, good enough to overcome the other top cable news channels for the night, according to Nielsen. Fox News Channel recorded 2.36 million viewers, and MSNBC had 1.62 million. (Multichannel News 4/23)

Based on a Hallmark Channel analysis of Nielsen’s C3 commercial-ratings data, Nick at Nite retained 95.5% of its audience through commercial breaks in the first quarter — the best of any cable net. Hallmark finished second with 93.2% and was followed by The Weather Channel with 92.5%, TV Land with 92.1% and Cartoon Network with 91.4 to round out the top five. (TVWeek.com 4/23)

NBC and the National Hockey League are continuing their partnership through the 2008-2009 season. Under this agreement, NBC will air the NHL Sunday Game of the Week during the regular season per usual utilizing flexible scheduling, broadcasting nine Sunday afternoon games in all. The network will also provide coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Stanley Cup Final which may equal 15 post-season games in total. (Cynopsis 4/24)

Fox has ordered up a new pilot from exec producer JD Roth called Bad Dads, hunting down deadbeat dads who owe ex-wives child support, reports THR.  At the helm is Jim Durham, who is also the head of the National Child Support Center.  Durham first calls the dads and offers them a chance to make things right, and when that doesn’t work, in classic ambush TV style, he finds and confronts deadbeat dads in public places. (Cynopsis 4/24)

Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications have pulled out of a joint venture with Sprint Nextel to develop a quadruple play of voice, video, Internet and wireless services under the banner Pivot, according to this article. “We remain committed to bringing a wireless component to our portfolio of services, but we don’t believe Pivot was the best option,” said Jill Ullman, a spokeswoman at Cox. (MSNBC/Associated Press 4/23)

Comcast filed for a restraining order against AT&T in Chicago complaining its U-Verse service is causing problems for its cable modem customers, reports Ars Technica. AT&T says it added 148,000 new U-verse customers this quarter, bringing its IPTV base to 379,000. (Cynopsis 4/24)

Computer hacker Christopher Tarnovsky is testifying in court that News Corp. unit NDS Group hired him to develop pirating software. But he denies using it to penetrate the security system of rival satellite-TV service Dish Network. The trial could result in millions of dollars in damages. (Iwantmedia 4/24, http://www.news.com.au/technology/story/0,25642,23591694-5014239,00.html 4/24)




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