Vivendi Universal Entertainment is angling for a few good networks (B&C Eye, May 6), but so far, it's mostly talk. The latest talk is that VUE (which now incorporates USA Cable) has considered partnering with macho Maxim
magazine on a men's channel. VUE officials would say only, "We're considering a number of ideas for new services."—A.R.
Buys of our lives
You're watching Days of Our Lives
one afternoon, and you say to yourself, "That Phillip is certainly a hunk, and his computer is kinda sexy, too. I wish I had one just like it." Well, now you can. Starting this summer, fans of NBC's Days
can purchase computers, apparel, jewelry and other products through ShopNBC, the home-shopping network 40% owned by NBC and parent GE.
The products will be written into the soaps, then, starting in mid July, sold every other Saturday afternoon on ShopNBC's Soap Style.
The show will feature interviews with soap stars, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, previews, trivia and contests.
Wait! There's more! Viewers will also be able to purchase the items at ShopNBC.com and NBC.com.—H.A.J.
The spectrum wars may be getting too hot for the FCC. The commission last week was expected to decide whether to delay the June 19 auction of frequencies used for TV chs. 52-69 but chose to wait while Congress tried to broker a compromise and industry players threatened lawsuits.
The latest deal, sources say, comes from Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who is floating a compromise to auction chs. 52-59 in rural areas now and urban markets later. Bidding for chs. 60-69 would be postponed entirely. That doesn't sit well with Bud Paxson, who owns 19 stations on the 60-69 band. "Any attempt to do that would be challenged in court and create another Next Wave-like cloud," he told Broadcasting & Cable, referring to the bankrupt company that had spectrum seized by the FCC only to get it back in court.—B.M.
Broadcasters are supposed to start relocating on the 2 GHz band in September, and it looks like they may have to pay their own moving costs.
The NAB and the Association for Maximum Service Television have lobbied the FCC to get compensation for the costs of the relocation on the 2 GHz band, currently used for electronic newsgathering, to make room for new occupants: mobile satellite services (MSS). Broadcasters wanted those companies to pay for the move. Unfortunately, most MSSers can't afford it. In a letter sent to the FCC, the NAB says only two stations have conducted negotiations with MSS providers. Broadcasters have had a two-year window to cut deals; that closes in September, and then the FCC is due to force broadcasters to move.—P.A.
Going, but not gone
Two top-level executives at UPN will be departing the network: CFO David England and affiliate-relations head Steve Carlston. Their departments are being merged with their counterparts at CBS. But well-placed sources say Viacom is trying to hang onto both executives. Carlston is reportedly considering a role at the company's TV-stations division, while England is said to be discussing another finance post.—S.M.