The week that was
Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/24/2002 7:00:00 PM
In an executive shuffle at the top of MTV Networks, MTV Chairman Judy McGrath is adding VH1, CMT: Country Music Television and the company's digital music networks to her watch. John Sykes, who was top exec for VH1 and CMT, is moving to sister Viacom division Infinity Broadcasting radio group. He takes over for Farid Suleman, who resigned last month to become CEO of Citadel Communications radio.
Van Toffler, president of MTV and MTV2, will continue to oversee those channels' daily operations. Sykes' departure leaves VH1 Executive VP Fred Graver and CMT Senior VP and GM Brian Philips now reporting to McGrath. She is now president of MTV Networks music group.
Comedy Central inked a deal for a second play of Late Night with Conan O'Brien just one day after the variety show airs on NBC. It will likely show in early fringe, at 6 or 7 p.m., making it strangely easier to find in its second run than it is at 12:30 in the morning on NBC. Comedy Central also may air in daytime. …FX's new original The Shield posted an impressive 3.7 overnight Nielsen rating in its second week on FX. The gritty Los Angeles cop drama debuted on March 12 to a 4.1 rating, the highest-ever rating for the premiere of a cable original series. …
News Corp. is creating its eighth duopoly, this one in Orlando. The company's Fox Television Stations unit said Friday it would trade its UPN affiliate, KPTV(TV) Portland, Ore., for Meredith's WOFL(TV) Orlando and WOGX(TV) Ocala, Fla., both Fox affiliates. Fox already owns WRBW(TV) Orlando. That will boost Fox's TV total to 34 stations.
C-SPAN kicks off its live programming series American Writers II: The 20th Century March 31 centering on the Harlem Renaissance writers. In total, 15 programs will air on Sunday at 3 p.m. through July 7. C-SPAN planned the series last fall, but took a hiatus after Sept. 11. ...
MORE HAMMERING ON COPY PROTECTION
Studios and computer manufacturers would have a year to come up with a copy-protection standard or face government intervention, according to a bill introduced by Senate CommerceCommittee Chairman Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) last week. "I believe the private sector is capable—through marketplace negotiations—of adopting standards that will ensure the secure transmission of copyrighted content on the Internet and over the airwaves," Hollings said. "But given the pace of private talks so far, the private sector needs a nudge." The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. have been pushing hard for such a bill, arguing for it in a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee earlier this month.
Also last week, News Corp. President Peter Chernin told the Media Institute in Washington that content providers are taking an unfair beating in the press over their fight for digital copy protection. Chernin complained about recent articles in Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal and dismissed notions that movie studios and TV producers are trying to limit consumers' traditional home-recording rights by insisting on protections that stop copies from being transmitted over the Internet.
"Fair use is not a license for consumers to loot online," he said.
To illustrate the scope of the copying problem, Chernin said his teen son was able to find 30 illegal copies of News Corp.'s movie, Ice Age, only three days after its release.
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