Is There a Cap at All?
Washington—A court stay blocking the FCC's new TV-ownership cap may have had the unintended effect of freeing broadcast networks from any cap at all, Media Bureau Chief Ken Ferree said Friday. Noting that another court had already ruled the previous 35% limit indefensible, he questioned whether media companies already pushing the boundaries could be stopped if they bought more stations. "We'd be hard-pressed to tell Viacom, 'No you can't do this.'"
Furlong Out as KPHO GM
Phoenix—General Manager Bob Furlong has left Meredith's KPHO(TV). He was replaced last week by Steve Hammel, who had been station manager. News Director Mitch Jacob is also gone. No replacement yet, but Assistant News Director Elizabeth Driscoll is serving as acting news director in the interim.
Mark Cuban Buys Theater Chain
Los Angeles—Digital cinema may get a kick in the tail with 2929 Entertainment's acquisition last Friday of Landmark Theaters. HDNet founder Mark Cuban is also a co-owner of 2929 Entertainment with CEO Todd Wagner. Landmark Theaters has 54 arthouse cinemas across the country, and the deal gives 2929 Entertainment direct access to theater distribution of its films. Wagner says he expects the deal to give 2929 a chance to have more impact in HDTV production and digital exhibition.
FCC Hears States' Must-Carry Fears
Washington—The people running state cable networks want regulators to know they could become an endangered species. If the FCC mandates digital broadcast carriage, regional public-affairs outlets The California Channel and Pennsylvania Cable Network could find it tougher to gain slots within operators' lineups. California's John Hancock, Pennsylvania's Brian Lockman and Michigan Government Television chief Bill Trevarthen met late last week with the FCC to voice concerns.