IN BRIEF

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Many seem to be kicking AT&T'S tires

Comcast hasn't signed AT&T's confidentiality agreement yet, but possible rivals have. "Multiple parties" have signed confidentiality agreements to look at the internal financial information of AT&T Broadband, which Comcast has so far bid $58 billion to buy.

But the agreement includes a clause restricting players from talking to potential partners about a bid.

AOL, Disney and Microsoft have all signed investment bankers to take a look at AT&T Broadband.

High court asked to look at caps

Consumer groups on Friday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a decision eliminating the FCC's 30% cap on one company's share of pay-TV subscribers. A federal appeals court ruled on March 2 that the FCC failed to justify the infringement on cable operators' free-speech rights.

The "flawed Constitutional doctrine would threaten nearly every FCC media-ownership regulation," Media Access Project, Consumers Union and the Center for Digital Democracy told the Supreme Court.

Disney profit dips

Disney said operating profit at ABC-TV and the owned radio and TV stations fell a combined 42% in the quarter ended June 30, to $244 million on a 12% revenue decline to $1.321 billion.

Operating income for the cable nets dropped 6% for the quarter, to $226 million, on a 7% revenue decline to $814 million. For the first nine months, broadcast operating income is down 28% to $723 million on a 9% revenue drop to $4.454 billion. Cable network profits were basically flat at $826 million, on a 10% revenue gain to $2.798 billion.

The bad apple

NBC last week thwarted Time Warner Cable's plans to swap Bravo's spot on its New York City system with CNBC's channel because the change would have relegated CNBC to the system's wasteland.

Time Warner had planned to move Bravo from ch. 64 to ch. 15—the spot currently occupied by CNBC—but NBC and Bravo worked out an agreement to keep the channels in their current spots.

Getting the worst of it is USA Network, which will bounce from ch. 23 to ch. 40. Other networks with some AOL-Time Warner ties will be improved.

ABC's subpar Monday

ABC's prime time golf special, The Battle at Bighorn, pitting golf's top female and male players against each other, featured erratic play and a drop in the national ratings Monday night. It was beaten soundly in the 8 to 11 p.m. time slot by NBC's lineup of Fear Factor, Weakest Link
and Dateline.

The Battle at Bighorn
(8 p.m.-12:22 a.m. ET) averaged 8.6 million viewers (down 17% from last year's 10.4 million) and a 2.8 rating/9 share in adults 18-49 (off 18% from last year's 3.4/11), according to Nielsen.

By comparison, NBC's lineup averaged a 5.9/17 in the demo.

Univision's new net: telefutura

Telefutura will be the name of Univison's new network, scheduled to launch in January as what the company calls "the first nontraditional Spanish-language network in the United States."

The name was submitted by two employees. Univision expects Telefutura to reach 80% of all Hispanic households at launch.

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