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BC Beat

7/20/2007 08:00:00 PM Eastern

FNC Laughs Off Groening's “Urban Legend”

Fox's The Simpsons has always been an equal-opportunity satire. And with The Simpsons Movie hitting theaters July 27, creator Matt Groening has once again taken aim at a favorite object of ridicule: Fox-parent News Corp.

“We love biting the hand that feeds us,” Groening said last week on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart. “We love attacking Fox.”

But when the show satirized Fox News Channel—specifically, its often sensationalist newscrawl—Groening says they got spanked and are “forbidden” from taking further swipes at the network “because the Fox viewer might confuse our cartoon with actual news.”

Groening made a similar claim in a 2003 NPR interview, saying Fox News had threatened to sue over the parody.

But the top-rated cable news network says it ain't so.

“It's urban legend,” says a Fox News spokesperson. “While Matt likes to tell that story, it simply never happened. We thought the parody of FNC was funny.”

Samsung Aims High

When the digital-TV transition takes effect in February 2009, consumers with analog-only sets will need converter boxes to maintain over-the-air service.

But, while LG Electronics plans to sell low-cost boxes at retail stores aimed at those poor souls without digital service, Samsung is taking a different tack.

Targeting tech-savvy early adopters—who already have digital service but want boxes for their second and third, analog-only sets—Samsung expects to begin selling its boxes through online retail channels.

And while LG says it will sell its model for around $60 for the duration of the transition, Samsung plans to introduce its box at around $75 before dropping the price as the analog–cut-off date approaches.

“There will be three different price points through the life of the product,” says Rich Long, senior manager at Samsung's digital–set-top–box group.

Long imagines the price dropping by $10 in summer 2008 and another $10 that fall. “I expect we'll do 70% of our sales in the backend [of '08].”

Such well-wired consumers clearly aren't the focus of the government's DTV-awareness initiative—or the $40 coupons it will begin offering in January 2008 to offset the cost to consumers. But Samsung's pricing strategy could have unintended consequences.

Since the vouchers are good for only 90 days after issue, some clever consumers may delay applying until box prices come down.

But hold-outs beware: Once the government distributes its initial 24.75 million first-come–first-served vouchers (at a limit of two per household), an additional 12.75 million will be limited to households that rely on analog over-the-air service.

More Coreys?

On July 29, A&E reunites '80s teen icons and frequent co-stars Corey Haim and Corey Feldman in its new reality series The Two Coreys, and we can only wonder: Why didn't someone think of this sooner?

Apparently, someone did. Corey & Corey, a documentary posted to YouTube back in March, follows two aspiring producers in their ill-fated attempt to pitch a sitcom in which wildcatter Haim shacks up with a domesticated Feldman and hilarity ensues.

According to the film blog at coreyandcorey.wordpress.com, Corey & Corey screened at the Farmington Funny Film Festival in Michigan and at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center.

The filmmakers did not respond to our e-mail inquiries, but last week, a new blog post took aim at A&E after a portion of the Two Coreys premiere appeared online.

“Putting aside my bias as a person who had an idea stolen,” it reads, “I can at least admit relief after seeing that the parties involved clearly do not have the chutzpah and vision to make the show funny. ... The aim is Curb Your Enthusiasm, but A&E ruins it with inevitable injections of VH1 Celebreality.”

The poster promises to watch the A&E show closely for any similarities to Corey & Corey scripts.

A&E declined comment.

With Marisa Guthrie, Glen Dickson, Scott Clifford, Alex Weprin and Anne Becker

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