A transformer fire at Time Warner Cable headquarters in New York City on June 17 left 800,000 Time Warner TVs in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn dark for as long as four hours during prime time. The Time Warner customers make up 15% of the New York DMA, but, under Nielsen guidelines, 25% of the market has to be down to warrant an adjustment or disclaimer on ratings. The outage might have affected HUTs, which fell to 58% on Sunday from 60% on June 8. Time Warner has 1.1 million customers in the New York market.
The separation of Liberty Media Group from parent AT&T Corp. will occur at 9 a.m. ET on Aug. 10, 2001. AT&T's board of directors last week voted to redeem each outstanding share of its Class A and Class B Liberty Media tracking stock for a share of new Liberty common stock.
Court TV has been hit with a $70 million suit from the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, who charge that the network falsely named their son as a prime suspect in his sister's murder. The Ramseys complained that a November 1999 show, Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey?, defamed 12-year-old Burke Ramsey by naming him and his parents as the center of police investigations into the death of the 6-year-old.
Brad Brooks has been named the new president DIC Entertainment. He joined DIC last year to facilitate the management-led buyout of DIC from The Walt Disney Co.
AT&T Chairman and CEO C. Michael Armstrong last week denied reports that AT&T plans to lay off 10,000 to 15,000 employees, although he did say that the company is likely to move people around. TheStreet.com said that, unlike recent voluntary-buyout offers, AT&T's plan involves layoffs, with some business-services operations expected to lose as much as 20% of their staff.
Sarah Timberman has been named president of Studios USA programming, overseeing all comedy, drama, long-form and reality programming. She was formerly executive vice president of series development at Columbia TriStar Television.
On Friday, June 15, interactive-technology supplier Digital Convergence fired all but 20 of its 225 employees in a company reorganization. According to spokeswoman Molly Reilly, the company will continue to operate its main facility and seek a buyer or merger partner. Its partnership with NBC (whose parent GE is an investor) on the NBCIQ contest will continue through July 11.
Maurie Webster, 85, veteran CBS radio executive, one-time executive director of the New York Market Radio Broadcasters Association (NYMRAD), and past president of the International Radio and Television Society, died June 20 in Newburgh, N.Y., after suffering injuries in a fall.