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IN BRIEF - Broadcasting & Cable

IN BRIEF

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News Corp. Shops Fox Family channel

Looks like not even News Corp. wants Fox Family Channel. After partner Haim Saban triggered a "put" to force it to buy out his 49.5% of Fox Family Worldwide, News Corp., eager to save its financial resources for a takeover of DirecTV, is shopping the entire operation.

Saban reportedly told senior staffers last week to expect a new boss—not him, not Rupert Murdoch—by year-end. That doesn't mean there's a buyer. Viacom, Disney, NBC, AOL Time Warner and Sony Pictures have all been pitched in recent weeks.

Shop at Home Axes CEO Lillie

Suffering for the downturn in sales and his inability to sell the company's stations, Shop at Home CEO Kent Lillie was fired by the company's board. Just over a year ago, Barry Diller's USA Networks was courting the company, but the talks fizzled, as did the planned sale of a Connecticut station last fall.

Meanwhile, heavy reliance on sports collectibles and memorabilia has hurt the company, with Christmas sales falling 23% and operating losses surging. The company's next earnings report is scheduled for next Monday and promises to be weak. Chairman J.D. Clinton will lead the Nashville, Tenn.-based retailer until a new CEO is found.

Bakula to pilot Star Trek: Enterprise

Former Quantum Leap
star Scott Bakula is the new Star Trek
captain, and UPN is expected to officially unveil Enterprise at its upfront presentation this week. Enterprise will replace Star Trek: Voyager in the UPN lineup.

WSB-TV crew safe after crash

WSB-TV Atlanta reporter Roby Chavez and cameraman Jeff Burton were home resting but okay late last week after a car crashed into their van as they prepared for a live broadcast. News Director Ray Carter said Chavez pulled the driver, later charged with drunk driving, from his car as fire was spreading.

Dimling, whiting promoted at Nielsen

Nielsen Media Research President and CEO John Dimling has been named chairman/CEO and will be succeeded as president by Susan Whiting, who has been general manager in charge of national services and emerging markets.

Webcaster gets new chance at execution

When the U.S. Attorney General on Friday delayed Timothy McVeigh's execution by one month, Entertainment Network got another go at obtaining rights to stream the event in real time, according to a press report. A U.S. District Court denied the original request, but Entertainment Network reportedly will use the stay to try again. The Webcaster, which planned a $1.95 fee for the event, is best-known for exhibitionist VoyeurDorm.com.

For their part, the networks were scrambling to mitigate any operational setbacks due to the stay. Representatives met with federal prison officials at the execution site in Terre Haute, Ind., prior to the official announcement Friday to ask if they could keep equipment already onsite during the stay. Said an ABC News spokesman, "We do what we can to keep expenses down, but things change. This stuff is the nature of the news business."

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